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I bet the buffet costs more now

I want some Mr. Gatti’s pizza. Which is odd because I haven’t even thought about Mr. Gatti’s pizza for 10 years and their regular pizza is fairly mediocre. The best reason to go to Mr. Gatti’s was their dessert pizzas – Dutch Apple Treat, Very Cherry Dessert, and Chocolate Crème – mmmm. I can’t recall ever having the Coconut Crème pizza, but after looking at the photo on their website I’d like to rectify that oversight. I could go for some cinnamon sticks too.

Mmmm, Mr. Gatti's

Mr. Gatti’s is a southeastern chain of pizza restaurants, so those of you who don’t have a drawl probably haven’t eaten there or even heard of the place. I lived in Louisville, Kentucky during my middle school and high school years. During field trips our school bus would pull up into their parking lot and dump a hundred hungry teenagers into their dining room with the large projection TV screen. We’d line up at the front register and pay our $6.00 for the buffet and then walk past the sneeze guard grabbing slices of whatever we wanted. This was easier than stopping at McDonalds because we could just grab food and go sit down instead of waiting at a register for personalized orders to be served on plastic trays.

When I think of Mr. Gatti’s, I don’t think so much about their pizza or all the times I went back for way too many helpings of cinnamon sticks. I think about that time in my life. I remember celebrating an academic tournament win in their dark dining room. I remember escaping molded plastic chairs in classrooms if only for a day. I remember being a kid. It reminds me of Louisville. It doesn’t matter that the pepperoni pizza was forgettable. I have other memories tossed into their pizza dough. I want to go back there so I can eat the memories.

As an insightful little copy editor says on their website, “When pizza is made right, it is joy in the round. It is a social experience just waiting to happen.” I never went to Mr. Gatti’s except on special occasions, which is why it has a special little spot in my head. It’s odd that the thought of a simple little restaurant chain can do all that.

Anybody else have food like this?

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23 Comments

Emily • September 7, 2007 at 2:18 pm

I have one! Adriatico’s pizza on The Ohio State University campus! My roomie and I would get the monday night madness special eveery monday and then watch the soaps that we had missed during the day because of class. (Wow, that was a run-on sentence.) Man, that pizza was good…and cheap! But yeah, mostly it was the fun of hanging with my friends and watching terrible TV! Terrible!

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Sra • September 7, 2007 at 3:35 pm

OKay, It’s the dreaded Mickey D’s- I think all of my birthday parties where at one until I was 6. Me, my mom, my grandma and my great-grandma would go for lunch evey Saturday. My mom made me sing the french-fry song for a Happy Meal.

“French- fries up my nose. PIckles between my toes. Mcdonald’s is the place to be. Wa wa wa!”

PQ – I was so jealous of people who had their birthday parties at McDonalds! Lucky you.

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Diana the Scale Junkie • September 7, 2007 at 3:36 pm

I understand this concept totally. I didn’t get to be more than 200lbs over weight without developing emotional attachments to food. Sometimes certain songs or smells will take me right back to one of those special occasions.

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melsky • September 7, 2007 at 4:11 pm

Now I’m totally hungry for desert pizza, which I’ve never had and have never thought about before. If there was one of those in Syracuse I would totally go there tonight.

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Becky • September 7, 2007 at 4:31 pm

Love the Gatti’s! We moved to Austin when I was in middle school, and this was the first time we ever saw a restaurant with a self-serve soda machine. Oh, the disgusting mixes we made! Taco pizza was the new, exciting flavor. No boring pepperoni for us.

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K • September 7, 2007 at 5:10 pm

Hang on a minute. Pizza that’s sweet? That’s just wrong.

Possibly delicious (I have a hideously sweet tooth, after all) but wrong.

The thing I want to eat from my childhood is toasted marshmallows. There is absolutely no reason I couldn’t buy some marshmallows and toast them, but it wouldn’t be the same as eating them off a partly burnt twig while sitting around a campfire.

That, and I’ve found that revisiting foods you used to like but now never have… you remember why you never have them.

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dietgirl • September 7, 2007 at 5:48 pm

Dessert pizza! How very cool!

I have a whole bunch of happy memories tied up with the soft serve ice cream machine at the Pizza Hut buffet. It was such a rare treat to eat out and i couldn’t believe that there was such a magical thing as SELF SERVE ICE CREAM. i still daydream about pulling that handle and watching the ice cream flood out and curl up in my bowl. swoon!

PQ – I loved the self-serve ice cream machine too! I would always go back for 2nds. Sometimes 3rds.

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barbara • September 7, 2007 at 6:02 pm

Wow, so funny you should post on this topic today. Because just the other night, I saw an ad for some new dessert-pizza thing from Dominos… I think it was some kind of OREO PIZZA — and I gotta tell you, there is almost NOTHING in this world (dessert-wise) that I can’t eat and become obsessed with… but when I saw that, I practically GAGGED. First of all, I’d never even heard of the concept of dessert pizza until I saw the ad, and then the thought of having Dominos send over an OREO pizza… well, it just made me realize that, thankfully, there still are one or two things in this world that even I would not go near. If only there were a few more..!

PQ – Oreo pizza! If it’s anything like the Oreo No-Bake Dessert from Jell-O, I bet it’s delicious.

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Kriss • September 7, 2007 at 6:14 pm

Mine isn’t a restaurant, but Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls remind of summers at my Gramma’s house. The two of us could tear through a whole box of those little goodies, while sitting on the sofa, watching her “stories”.

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Pamela • September 7, 2007 at 6:55 pm

Mr. Gattis! Oh, how many high school and college memories — of intense overindulgence — were made there. I grew up in Houston, and there was one across the street from our high school. Then, when I got to college in Austin, there was another within walking distance of my dorm. Oh, the buffets…Thanks for the reminder!

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Catherine • September 7, 2007 at 10:38 pm

Yeah . . .Mr. Gatti’s. I lived in Louisville for a while, too, and there was a location at Hurstbourne and Stony Brook (closed now) that had an amazing salad bar. Better than many better restaurants. I remember eating pizza and salad there with family one evening, and I saw a college (?) guy nearby putting slices inside his jacket — I guess he was on a limited budget. :)

Thanks for bringing a nice memory to mind.

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Lauren • September 8, 2007 at 3:36 am

we always went out for family style chicken. My favorite was Ma Glockners, cause of the cinnamon rolls, but it was almost always the same deal wherever we went. Chicken, pasta, salad, potatoes/fries.

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april z • September 8, 2007 at 8:46 am

Wow. A post on dessert pizza on a weight-loss page. Just when I though your blog would be inspiring. Sorry. You didn’t need that. Actually, I attach way too much emotion to food. My favorite connection is when I was dating my first husband, Steve. We’d go to Romano’s in Des Plaines, Illinois. We’d get a half chicken, half special pizza. Theirs is a thin crust and wonderful. (I once left a piece on the tray because I was full and dreamed about it for the next 3 days.) The Beach Boys played on the speakers (Good, good, good, good vibrations…). Sigh.

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bazu • September 8, 2007 at 10:01 am

I love your description of the place. It is true that so many of our memories are tied up with food! As a vegan, this is an embarrassing memory to share, but our mom used to take me and my brother out to Wendy’s for treats. We looked forward to those times so much! I still remember the taste of a Wendy’s burger and fries…

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Mia • September 8, 2007 at 1:27 pm

Hmmm. I’ve definitely seen Mr. Gatti’s pizza places around, but I’ve never eaten there.

Food and family tradition go together very well. When my mom died I said the only things I wanted were all of her recipes and her sewing machine. (Tons of fantastic memories.) When I pull out the recipe cards I see her side notes and the year she copied it and I am instantly back to my childhood. I also have my grandmother’s recipes, which is cool, too. It’s interesting to see how food goes through fashionable changes. My grandmother’s recipes were not fat conscious at all (!), and yet no one had a weight problem. Interesting, huh?

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anji • September 8, 2007 at 2:07 pm

I love dessert pizza though I don’t eat it often…. Pizza Hut has Dessert pizza — apple and cherry and maybe some other ones :D

Someone wrote they came here looking for inspiration just to be greeted by dessert pizza and that it was unnecessary…

They are the MOST lucky people in the world to have never experienced food-attached-memories and that they only got fat because of lazyness and genetics! However, for ME — food and memories and socializing were big factors in my weight-gain. You can be thin after a large weight loss and still have to deal with the emotions of eating in your day to day life. If you don’t confront them now — you could regain weight. But, I doubt you will because you are REALISING that these are the types of things that ’caused you to gain weight in the first place. Your eyes are open this time :)

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Sparker • September 8, 2007 at 7:47 pm

that domino’s oreo pizza frightens me (as does all creepy “food”). i now live in fear that my foodie/food-critic roommate wants to order it so she can talk about it on her blog or do an article about it for the paper.

ewww.

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kim • September 9, 2007 at 9:20 pm

ok, I’m cheating. You turned off the comments for the pic, so I won’t tell you how good you look. Just wanted to say I like your choice of dress and the flats are adorable.

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budicca • September 10, 2007 at 1:15 am

There is a pizza chain here in Utah (don’t know where else it is) called Godfather’s Pizza, and it sounds very similar to Gatti’s. I haven’t been there in more than a decade, but while in college I went there more than a few times with my friend Dan for their buffet of rather mediocre pizza, which included a number of different dessert pizzas.

I found my digestive system wasn’t too much the worse for wear after overeating just the savory pizzas, but if I added more than a taste of the dessert pizzas to the eating orgy, digestive pain was sure to ensue! My thin friend Dan could (or would) put away more than I did in a sitting, and was always sick after. “What do you expect after eating 16 slices of pizza?” I asked the last time we were there. He ate so much and felt so awful, he never wanted to go back.

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G.G. • September 10, 2007 at 9:06 am

Little Caesar’s Crazy Bread just screams college to me. I don’t know if they still carry it, but a Little Caesar’s just opened up on my way to work and I can’t stop thinking about it. Gaaah!

PQ – Little Caesar’s was our favorite pizza chain when I lived in Indiana as a kid. Then we moved to Lousivlle, home of Papa Johns and that became our fave. I thought Little Caesar’s had gone out of business until I noticed one right by my mom’s apartment. I think I know what I’m going to have for my birthday dinner this year. Mmm..

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coraspartan • September 10, 2007 at 1:09 pm

My childhood food memory is from Little Caesar’s. On Friday nights when I was a kid, our family and three other families that my parents were friends with would all hit the local Little Caesar’s. The kids would eat pizza, drink pop and play endless games of Space Invaders, Centipede and Miss PacMan. The adults would get blitzed. Ahh, good times.

Little Caesar’s is not the same for me anymore. Now that they have the $5 pizzas, the quality has completely gone down the tubes. What I wouldn’t give for a piece of their pizza from back in the day though!

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psychsarah • September 11, 2007 at 12:23 pm

I used to love KFC (now I can’t stomach it at all). For some reason, sometimes the smell of the stuff takes me right back to the basement of my old house, watching the TV show “Circus” and eating KFC with my brother and my cousin at a little table my grandfather built for us. I must have been about 6 at the time. Crazy how the brain works eh?

PS-Anyone who dismisses dessert pizza is on crack. It’s tasty stuff. Horribly bad tasty stuff that I don’t eat anymore (ok, maybe once a year), but tasty stuff nonetheless…

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amanda • March 10, 2009 at 1:30 pm

i live in austin and mr. gatti’s pizza is like a traditon in our family! my favorite has always been the dutch apple pizza, although the chocolate is very good as well. it’s funny, but i’ve never tried the coconut kind either…oh well, i still love their pizza!

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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JenFul now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

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