There’s no doubting the Gem City loves its pizza, and Daytonians are pretty fortunate to have a plethora of pizza options from which to choose. Whether it’s a chain joint you’re feeling or something a little more local, there’s no shortage of places to go.
But when you mention the bar and restaurant Kramers, located at 1018 Irving Ave., people immediately react. A variation of two things usually come up: 1) They serve beer in the classic 40-oz. bottles, and 2) The pizza. While beer, and booze in general, tends to sell itself, it’s tough to fake the funk on food. Though Kramers has had a kitchen serving your standard bar food for decades, it wasn’t until the 1990s that they started serving their now-famous pizza.
Just what is it about this pizza at this 84-year-old Dayton institution? It depends on who you ask.
“A lot of that comes down to the sauce,” said manager Jessica Pricci. “One of the things we put in our sauce is 100-percent pure Italian olive oil.”
Others prefer the authentic Italian-style crust.
"I liked their pizza,” said Douglas Shrout, a former Kramers employee. “The salt and crust combo went good with the beer and peanuts.”
Regardless of the reasons, if beer is #1 at Kramers, the pizza is a close second.
“(The pizza) is everything,” said kitchen manager Matt South. “Take the pizza out of here, it’s just regular bar food. We may not even have a kitchen otherwise.”
Just how popular is this pie? While most orders can usually be picked up in 30 minutes on most nights, Kramers customers have been known to wait up to two hours -- particularly University of Dayton basketball nights -- to sink their teeth into this super cheesy item.
“Sometimes people will be late for the game,” South added.
And while we’re on the subject, Kramers uses a generous blend of both shredded mozzarella and provolone. They also order their pepperoni from a Chicago-based Italian family who makes their own.
Recently, Kramers did something it rarely does: offer a discount on their pies. Tuesday nights feature $2 off any 16-inch pizza.
But is it the crust or the sauce that’s the superstar? Loyal Kramers patron Chet Cheadle thought he had the answer.
“I love the crust. I don’t know...the sauce, probably.”