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Posts Tagged ‘Frozen Pizza Manufacturers’

Tombstone Pizza Review


Sherman? Set the wayback machine for the early 1960s, north central Wisconsin, the town of Medford, the Tombstone Tap bar.  That’s where brothers Joseph and Ronald Simek created what would become a giant in the frozen pizza industry.  Much of the credit goes to brother Joseph (“Pep”) who devised the recipe to satisfy hungry bar patrons while he was laid up with a broken leg.  Word spread, and other bars asked the boys if they could sell the pizzas, too, and that’s how it was originally done, Tombstone delivered frozen pies to bars and taverns, and furnished them with a shelf-top oven to bake the pies.

That was my first introduction to the concept, in a Minnesota bar, at about age 15; the pies were inexpensive, as I recall, $2 – $3.

The boys expanded, and eventually sold out to Kraft, maker of many other frozen pizzas; Kraft, in turn, decided to sell the division to Nestle one day, and there it sits today.

Apparently at some point, the (I imagine) non-compete ran out, and brother Pep started a new pizza company, branded with his own name.  I have tried one of those.

As for Tombstone?  Your basic frozen pie, with a rather distinctive sauce, slightly thicker than what I would define as thin crust, ultimately no better nor worse than most frozen pies. Not crazy that their pepperoni is a blend product which includes poultry.  Best consumed when thoroughly intoxicated.

Often in Chicago, I have a preference for the local brands, there, and have done comparisons in the past.  The front runner for me at current is Vito and Nick’s II, which is the closest I have experienced to actual pizza shop taste/texture.  It’s goooooooooooooood.

 Tombstone Pizza Original


Tombstone Frozen Pizza

In 400 oven – 20 minutes

Tombstone Pizza Review



Home Test – Tony’s “Party Time” Crispy Crust Pizza


Went bottom fishing in the frozen pizza section of my grocery store yesterday, and reeled in some Tony’s “New” Crisp Crust Pizzas. Tony’s is one of the brands (along with Freschetta and Red Baron) manufactured by the Schwan’s Food Company of Minnesota. Schwans started the same year I was born, delivering ice cream directly to rural homes. They’ve come along way since then, but you can still get ice cream (and other goodies) delivered by your local Schwan’s guy, click here for the selections.

While clearly Tony’s is trying to capture some portion of the emerging “thin & crispy” category, in appearance, and cost (usually less than a buck), these remind me of the Totino’s low end pies, which originally were “Jeno’s” (a company started in my home town, and also originator of the pizza roll). Jeno Paulucci had two food companies that he grew from scratch, Chun King “Chinese” foods, and the Jeno’s brand of “Italian” foods. They were sold to RJ Reynolds and Pillsbury, respectively, for boatloads of cash, and Jeno, who just celebrated his 130th birthday, is still at the biz, cranking out Michelina’s Frozen meals, as well as some other brands.

Anyway, these Tony’s were .98 cents each, so I picked a couple up. Although they sell a supreme and cheese model, the pepperonis were the ones at the featured price. I did not note the price of the other varieties.

The first thing one notices when removing from the box is that the engineers at Tony’s have come up with a new pizza shape and word to go with it: “Scround.” A square pie with rounded corners. I cannot even begin to comprehend why they did this. It’s nearly the shape of the Domino’s delivery box, but I do understand why they did that (probably boosted profits 1/10th of a penny per delivery).

The instructions are 12 minutes at 400, one thing I’ll say about these cheap little pies, is you can use the toaster oven, which is kind of handy. It may well be my tip of the hat to saving the planet and using less energy.

As regular readers know, I follow the precise instructions for cooking frozen and RTE meals, to see how they come out when following the instructions. I know, such a non-male thing to do.

The “Party Time” weighs in at 10.10 ounces, and the cover announces the (diced) pepperoni is made from pork, chicken, and beef. Other ingredients include a “topping blend” (defined as “mozzarella cheese substitute combined with a litany of other ingredients), but later in the list actually mozzarella appears, as does “isolated carrot product” (WTF?), onion, garlic, paprika, blah blah, and a whole lot of things that end in “ides” and “ates” and “ines.”

740 calories for the whole pie, 88 carbs (how many points is that?), a boatload of sodium, and negligible fiber.

As to taste. Well.  You get what you pay for.  After the recommended cooking time, the pizza was nowhere near my definition of “crisp”.  An additional 3-4 minutes produced no changes in the texture, as well. The bits of pepperoni (is diced really that much cheaper than sliced?) had a flavor reminiscent of pepperoni, but a texture more akin to boiled ham.   There was a sweet quality to the pizza that I didn’t care for, I assume it was from sugar in the tomato sauce.   And the “topping blend?”   Just that. No discernible actual cheese flavor, and as you can see from the photo, melt quality left something to be desired as well.

Would I purchase these again?  Are these pizzas the home version of drunk food, like when you hit White Castle after the bars?  Maybe for some folks, but not for me.  I have no idea what I will do with the remaining inventory in my freezer.

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