Pizza Joint Pike, Sapporo

The latest addition to our list of the best pizza in Sapporo is Pizza Joint Pike. It is not easy to find good pizza in Sapporo, but we are pleased to report – we have found a winner.

Pizza Joint Pike is at Minami 5 Nishi 9. About a 10 minute walk from Susukino station. It’s located in the 1F level of Stay Sapporo – which is a hostel (I’m told). It’s not unusual to see some European looking people (and some Asian tourists as well) at Pikes.

The concept behind Pizza Joint Pike is a pretty straight take on the American pizza joint. Like almost everything “American” in Sapporo, there is an interpretation happening, but Pizza Joint Pike is a near perfect take on how we do pizza in some places in the US.

As I walked in it was impossible to miss the glass counter with the big, pre-cooked pizzas. That is (in fact) how many “by the slice” places in the US do it; there are big pizza, ready to go, and you walk up an order a slice.

In the US, especially at a busy location (or a particularly busy time of day), we’d have two, three, or four pizzas of different kinds all ready to go. There would likely be one cheese pizza, one pepperoni, one “combination” (which would have pepperoni, onion, bell pepper, etc), and then maybe something less common like a “Hawaiian pizza” (which is pineapple and ham). You’d walk up to the counter, order your slice, and they’d pop it back in the oven to get it hot and crispy for you. That is how we do it in American (at least some of the time).

At Sapporo’s Pizza Joint Pike, the first time I showed up they had two cheese pizza under the glass; one mostly gone, and one full pizza.

I took a look at the menu: There are six standard choices of slices at Pizza Joint Pike; cheese, pepperoni, jalapeno, garlic, “salada’s,” mozzarella basil, olive and anchovy, and premium cheese. They also had a “monthly pizza” which was a margarita pizza (that may be the most common pizza in Japan, even places that have no business making pizza at all try to offer the margarita pizza).

For my first time, I ordered the pepperoni and the jalapeno.

I also ordered a craft beer. As far as I know, there is no draft beer at Pizza Joint Pikes. It would be cool if there was.

You see all those metal tables? Pizza places in the US are all a little different, but that stainless steel table is also a familiar feature. And it would not be uncommon for a group of friends to order a full pizza (or two or three), along with a pitcher of beer. Does any of the beer bars in Sapporo serve beer in a pitcher? That is a very “college town” way to serve beer, but it also fits the pizza shop vibe very well. That may be a little too rowdy for Sapporo (the best city in the world), but if anyone was going to make that an option, Pizza Joint Pike might be ready.

As it was, all the beer at Pizza Joint Pike comes in cans. They feature “craft beer,” including several types of imported beer. I bought a can of Hoptopus to go with my pizza. I was at Beer Cellar one night and I asked about this beer (which comes up on their website), and they say it is actually a Japanese beer (from Kagawa), but that the brewer had some experience in Portland (our sister city).

For two slices and a can of could-be-from-Japan craft beer, the total came to ¥2000. As soon as the pizza was hot, they delivered it to my table. And it was… it was good.

In fact, I wasn’t even half-way through my first slices when I noticed the olive and anchovy option. I am a meat eater, and I would have loved a big, stacked “combo” pizza (Sapporo has yet to figure out that level of pizza). I was loving the my first tastes, but seeing that option for anchovy… yeah, gimme one of those.

Good choice. The anchovy is also excellent. It was fantastic. My favorite of the three slices I devoured on that night.

One of the ways that Pizza Joint Pike separates itself from all the “generic” marginal pizza in this town (which is 90% of our pizza, unfortunately) is the crust. Pizza Joint Pike makes a thin-crust pizza, that is crispy, and can more or less hold it’s own shape when you pick it up. This is in sharp contrast to the 100s of “pizzas” in this town that are wet, soggy slices, that you have to eat with a knife and fork.

Pizza Joint Pike makes a slice you can pick up and eat, and we will celebrate that all day long.

It also has a saltiness to it that is delicious and addictive. On the second trip, as I was walking out, I had a strong sense of parmesan I can’t be certain, but maybe there is some parm in the sauce or in the crust? They make a good slice.

So, yes; we did find another decent option for pizza in this town. We have actually been back since we wrote the first draft of this review, and we loved it (half the pictures here are are from that second visit). It’s a good spot, and we’ve been telling people about it, and we’ll be back again for ourselves soon.

I recently wrote a review of Sapporo’s Bearfoot Bar. That was a place I was excited to eat at that turned out to be an real disappointment. I sat down expecting a good experience, I even started to write the review with good things to say, but every bite of their food (and every sip of that beer I didn’t even finish) soured my mood.

My trip to Pizza Joint Pike was exactly the opposite. Every minute in here made me want to stay longer. And made me want more. The food is great. And they deliver a nice atmosphere as well.

Pizza Joint Pike does a lot of American culture references. Glancing around the room right, you’ll see Mr T, a classic Rat Fink print, and plenty of Tabasco. And then the American thing takes veers off into British culture, as Pizza Joint Pike uses the Clockwork Orange images in some of it’s designs. And then, one more twist, the music was all roots reggae (which worked perfectly, for my tastes).

At ICHIBAN NO MACHI we tend to feature and focus on よしょく (western food), and I have seen every odd-ball take on non-Japanese food in this town. Some versions of “foreign food” here are just terrible. Others are fantastic, even as they barely resemble what they are trying to imitate. But Pizza Joint Pike does a great job of pretty much nailing the inspiration. Along with the way El Tope does Mexican (and they do it near perfection), Pizza Joint Pike has earned our respect and earns a spot at the top of the list for good pizza in Sapporo.

For other recommendations in the neighborhood, the closest spot we might also recommend is Hamburger Shop Tack (there is a similarity there, in the rhythm of the name). To the south, you’re not far from the Beer Inn Mugishutei “beer museum” (also home of Chips and Salsa#trade; and the best collection of 20 year old VH1 videos in all of Asia). Heading back toward Susukino station, you’re not far from Maltheads beer bar (but don’t go there, it sucks), Craft Beer Volta (which is excellent, and they also make pizza, but… not this level), and The Craft (which also, also makes pizza… also not on this level, there pizza is pretty bad, actually, but they have an excellent beer selection).

I will be back. This place is yet another standout spot in Sapporo, a place with so many good restaurants and bars, the best city in the world. We love Sapporo. And we’re rather fond of Pizza Joint Pike.

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