Saturday was a great night to be in downtown Orlando.
I was there as the co-emcee, along with Nancy Alvarez of WFTV, for Savor the Night, the kickoff to the Latin Food & Wine Festival sponsored by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando. It was held on the plaza in front of — and on the steps of — City Hall.
Across the street the Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center was aglow as people streamed in to see Monty Python comedy legends John Cleese and Eric Idle.
A couple of blocks to the west, Orlando’s professional hockey team, the Solar Bears, was hitting the ice.
And up Orange Avenue, from Central Boulevard to Robinson Street, the first Creative City Project had artists of all stripes painting, drawing, performing — there were jazz musicians, classical quintets, country/western, the Orlando Ballet in full tutu attire — and perhaps thousands of people strolling in the gorgeous October weather and taking it all in.
I wandered around after my event and it occurred to me that with all that was going on Orlando is finally a big city.
So when I passed Gitto’s, a pizza joint on Orange Avenue, I did what I do when I’m in a big city: I stopped in to get a slice to walk around with. And I saw it as a good sign that there was a line. Turns out the line was mainly for people waiting to pay and not for those who had ordered their slices; not sure what the holdup was, but it took a long time to process through.
I ordered my basic sausage and my friend got pepperoni. They were pretty much interchangeable — neither had much flavor. The crust was the appropriate thinness, but it was dry and chewy. In other words, the pizza was a disappointment. And they were served with totally superfluous knotted rolls.
The price was certainly Big City: $4.50 each. That’s about what they charge the tourists in the blocks surrounding Times Square (New Yorkers know better than to get a slice from one of those pizza joints — and to pay that much).
We’re a big city now, too, so it’s time someone stepped up and started making a good pizza. That would be something to be proud of.
Gitto’sis at 120 S. Orange Ave., Orlando. It is open…well, the website doesn’t list any opening hours or days. And at this point, do you really care? If you do, you can call them at 407-203-8889.