Menu Please: Local Pizza Makes Good at Redding’s Ultimate Pizza

Back before Mary Lake was just a lake and not a subdivision, when Buenaventura was a city in Colombia, when the Benton landfill was a landfill and not a rolling landscape, there was a laundromat and little store at Placer and Pleasant in Redding. The store went under different names – Rex’s Market for a time and maybe one of the Holiday chain – while the laundromat was grim and slightly seedy. You didn’t linger any longer than necessary to wash and dry.

As the population grew on Redding’s west side and beyond, a much larger supermarket and shopping plaza came in. Now that old store is a church and part of the laundromat has become Zippy Food Mart (where they once served Korean food) with a gas station on the corner. (Curiously, just a couple of blocks away Google maps show “Methodist Church Ferry Road Anderson” on Mesa Street. What’s up with that, Google?)  Redding’s Ultimate Pizza fills out the north end of the old laundromat.

Though it’s got the look of a strip-mall place serving cardboard crust with ancient freeze-dried cheese, M. de Joie took note that Redding’s Ultimate Pizza’s been quietly chugging along since 2008.  If it was truly awful, the law of the jungle surely would have done it in by now, so it was time to check the pizza out. The interior is modern and cheerful but utilitarian with easy-clean floors and tables. Pizza by the slice is available if you just want to grab and go. There’s a TV constantly on that apparently only gets basketball games. Service is friendly.

The menu includes the usual beer-friendly appetizers (garlic beer-battered extra spicy cheesy whatevers), salads, sandwiches, and a variety of pizzas and calzones, some with cute names like the Elvis Pesto and the Diestlehorst Delight. Pizza takes about 15-20 minutes from the time you order – a good sign that they aren’t just defrosting and nuking.

salad RUP

Small dinner salad, $4.19

If a restaurant kitchen gives consideration to the simplest dishes, that’s a sign management is looking at the entire menu rather than just focusing on one or two mainstays.  What Femme de Joie was expecting was a pile of Costco bagged lettuce. She was pleasantly surprised to get a well thought out composed mixed green salad with sliced zucchini, olives, onions, and tomatoes. The small salad, fresh and crisp, was a generous enough serving to be shared.

primavera pizza

Primavera pizza, $13.39 individual size

A variation on the classic Margherita pizza, the Primavera shows off the tender thin sourdough crust. Minimalist toppings – garlic, olive oil, tomatoes, cheese – made for a very light, non-greasy pizza. Of the items she tasted at Ultimate Pizza, this was Femme de Joie’s favorite.

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Original calzone (Canadian bacon, salami, mushrooms, onions, garlic), small $8.79

Calzone in Italian means “trouser leg,” not to be confused with pantaloni, “pair of pants.” How it got from trouser leg to pizza parlor is one of those culinary idioms that probably makes more sense in the original language. (After a quick look at Reverso Context, M. de Joie could amuse herself all day by looking up sentences such as “Fuori dai pantaloni, orribile donna.”)  The crust becomes more important in a calzone as it has to prevent leaks while remaining tender and pliable, and this one filled that bill. Despite the heavy ingredient list, this calzone held together nicely. It wasn’t quite as hot on the inside as one would expect so the ingredients were completely cold and/or it wasn’t baked quite long enough. Still, the flavor and texture combination worked well.

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Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Artichoke Hearts Gourmet Veggie pizza, $13.39 individual size

Femme de Joie couldn’t bring herself to say the entire name when ordering. However, the pizza was really quite good – even the thicker crust didn’t seem bready and gummy like many thick-crust pizzas. Artichoke hearts are the vinegary slightly pickled ones, so that tang may not appeal to everyone, though the taste is a nice contrast with white sauce. And the vegetables weren’t cooked into submission but retained their own tastes and textures, rather than being smothered with cheese and sauce.

To be clear, M. de Joie has eaten better pizza in other places, so she can’t say this is game-changing transcendentally fabulous world-without-end pizza. It sounds snobbish to add the qualifier, “It’s really good for Redding,” but she is not comparing to anywhere else, so it would be true. If she gets a Jones for pizza and doesn’t feel up to making it at home, Redding’s Ultimate Pizza is on Femme de Joie’s list of contenders in this town (and it’s a pretty short list). Stop by and grab a slice to give it a try.

Redding’s Ultimate Pizza, 1730 Pleasant Street at Placer Street, Redding, CA 96001. 530-241-8646. Open daily, 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM. Cards and cash; no checks. Beer and wine. Vegan and vegetarian options. Gluten-free crust available. Parking lot. Website at Redding’s Ultimate Pizza or follow them on Facebook.

Femme de Joie
Femme de Joie's first culinary masterpiece was at age 4, when she made the perfect fried bologna sandwich on white bread. Since then she has dined on horse Bourguignon in France, stir-fried eel in London, and mystery meat in her college cafeteria, but firmly draws the line at eating rattlesnake, peppermint and Hamburger Helper. She lives in Shasta County at her country estate, Butterscotch Acres West. She is nearly always hungry. Visit MenuPlease for more or send her an email at femmedejoiefood@yahoo.com.
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8 Responses

  1. EasternCounty says:

    The couple of times I’ve tried Ultimate Pizza, it was . . . fine.  It’s unfair of me to name another pizza place in a review of a competitor; however, my new favorite is MOD Pizza because of the thin yet chewy crust.

  2. name says:

    Out of all the pizzerias around town, there are only maybe 4 that are decent.  I would consider this one to be part of that 4.  Thank you for the review.

  3. K. Beck says:

    I don’t eat pizza very often because I try to live a gluten free life style. I can eat thin crust on occasion without problems. I would like to know which pizza places in Redding have “excellent” thin crust pizzas, or, even better, “excellent” gluten free pizzas (if there is such a thing!). Thanks in advance Femme de Joie!

    • Femme de Joie Femme de Joie says:

      Dear K. Beck,

      Redding’s Ultimate Pizza does have gluten-free pizza, but it wasn’t tested for this review.

      Upper Crust also advertises that they have gluten-free crust but it costs $2 extra, (medium pizza only, which seems to point to a pre-made crust.

      MOD Pizza has gluten-free BUT they stress that it should not be eaten by people with celiac disease due to the possibility of cross-contamination, which makes M. de Joie wonder, “Then why bother?”

      If there is a pizzeria in the Redding area claiming to have great gluten-free pizza, this is your chance to chime in.

      Thanks for reading,

      Femme de Joie

      • K. Beck says:

        “Why bother”? Because celiac is a horrible disease and if you have it you cannot eat even a trace of wheat. Many of us have problems with wheat and can still eat some, once in a while, and not have a problem. And trust me, if you fall into the second category you know IMMEDIATELY when you have “over indulged!” I trudge careful through the wheat fields. Yes! Please Redding Pizza Parlors tell us about your gluten free pizza crusts! Are they from scratch? What are the ingredients in the crusts? I also cannot eat soy or flax, so that limits me farther.

         

        • Femme de Joie Femme de Joie says:

          Dear K. Beck.

          If you re-read the comment above, you will note that what actually was said was that although MOD pizza does have gluten-free crust, they do not recommend that anyone with celiac spue actually eat it because it might have cross-contamination.

          M. de Joie is very well aware of what celiac disease is and does; a company having gluten-free crust but suggesting that it not be eaten by the people who need it makes no sense. So, “why bother” having the food but not ensure that it not be contaminated with wheat.

          Thanks for reading,

          Femme de Joie

          • K. Beck says:

            “Only” 1% (about 1.8 M people) of the population has been tested and found to have celiac disease. A person with celiac disease would become ill with a very small amount of ingested gluten. Restaurants would have to have a completely separate kitchen to make sure there was no cross contamination. No restaurant will do that.  The rest of us cannot digest gluten. We will not become deathly ill from eating food that might contain some percentage of gluten. There are enough of us to make it worth while for a restaurant to provide some gluten free food. It is a matter of economics, like mostly everything else.

  4. Mike says:

    My favorite is their “Udderless” with no dairy and superb veggies. For years it was off menu but now is on the “official” menu.

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