Keep your eyes on the pies

Just a few doors down from everyone’s old favorite Antonio’s, Delano’s strives to give Amherst another option for their pizza by the slice needs.

Delano’s is clearly no cheap copy of Antonio’s. It provides a bar scene where you can actually sit down to a meal, as opposed to the prevailing social scene of Antonio’s, where getting a window seat in the popular hot spot guarantees that you’ll be seen by other pizza patrons and passersby alike.

Students and Amherst townies now have these two competing options, as they can pick the distinct setting to match their pizza needs. For instance, at Delano’s, customers can grab a slice, get a beer and sit back and watch the game. Their Monday Night Football specials are a big draw for business, as sports lovers come in packs to catch the game and a bite to eat. During almost all times, including this weekly offer, there’s no age requirement to grab a slice. Late on a Saturday night is a different story, however, as customers under 21 will have a hard time getting in during busy weekend hours.

Another deciding factor will be the staff. The Antonio’s staff is often hailed as strangely reminiscent of the Soup Nazi from “Seinfeld.” The staff of Delano’s lacked both this Pizza Nazi flair and any friendliness that might compensate for it.

Delano’s has got Antonio’s beat when it comes to cost-even 25 or 50 cents off the bill can make a difference to the average college student strapped for cash. From plain cheese to specialty slices, Delano’s prices range from $1.50 to $2.75 for most specialty slices, with the marinara pizza peaking at $3.25, compared to Antonio’s prices, which are $1.50 for a slice of cheese and are as high as $3.00 for specialty slices.

Delano’s also offers some special deals to lure you away from Antonio’s. One such offer lets you get a soda for 25 cents with the purchase of a regularly priced pizza. These specials change frequently, such as their current Monday night offer of a slice for a dollar or their “beer and a slice” special (a free slice when you buy a beer during the game).

In terms of taste, the competition is stiff. If you’re just in the market for a slice of cheese, Delano’s is your best bet. The taste is comparable to Antonio’s standards, and the slices are enormous. When you consider the square inches of pizza you get for your buck, Delano’s clearly comes out on top; they’ve even dubbed themselves “Home of the Humungo!” A Delano’s employee, touting their huge slices, held up a photo of one of theirs next to one from Antonio’s. The Delano’s slice was clearly one and a half times bigger.

But specialty pizzas are far superior at Antonio’s; the texture and ingredients are fresher and higher in quality at the established favorite. Delano’s varieties may be much larger but they’re also greasier.

Delano’s selection is also inferior. It offers only about seven or eight options. At Antonio’s you are greeted with the familiar myriad of pizza creations. Both establishments offer your standard chicken blue cheese or broccoli and chicken slice, but Antonio’s serves up unique creations that you won’t currently find at Delano’s, such as their salad and taco pizzas.

Antonio’s far and away wins on selection breadth, offering over 10 different kinds of slices on a given day in addition to a specialty slice of the day.

If you’re still unable to decide which door to walk into as you make your pizza selection on N. Pleasant Street, check your watch. Bars in Amherst are required to close at one a.m., while Antonio’s is open to serve you until two in the morning.

On any given day, a quiet and sparsely populated Delano’s is no match for Antonio’s long lines. It will no doubt take some time for Delano’s to become established in such a pro-Antonio’s town.

The choice seems clear. If you are willing to sacrifice taste for a larger slice and an extra quarter in your pocket, by all means try Delano’s. But for those with a sensitive palate, stick to the tried and true Amherst favorite, Antonio’s-you can’t go wrong.