After landing at Hartsfield-Jackson yesterday evening, it was my intent to catch up with an IFMA contact in Midtown Atlanta. He ended up being unavailable so I ended up just driving to the hotel I had booked in Oxford, Alabama. I wasn’t going to try to leg it out all the way to Birmingham. As I neared the Georgia-Alabama state line, I saw a billboard for Marco’s Pizza and I decided to stop in and get a pie. It was pretty good but it wasn’t quite as good as another popular pizza chain that I used to frequent during my residency in the South. That brings me to this week’s moment in the Flashback Friday series: Hungry Howie’s Pizza.
How I first came across this moment? I discovered Hungry Howie’s Pizza while living in Valdosta, Georgia during my military assignment to Moody Air Force Base. In June 2004, I volunteered on a couple of Friday nights to be part of the installation’s designated driver team. We basically got calls from servicemembers who had enjoyed adult beverages in the Valdosta or Remerton clubs and bars. We’d pick them up in the minivan and drive them home. I worked the 10pm-2am shift with a staff sergeant from the paralegal office, who had been stationed at Moody for 3 years. On our way back to the base from dropping off a very drunk couple at their apartment in North Valdosta, she asked if I wanted pizza. I was always up for pizza and she suggested Hungry Howie’s, her treat. Since she was buying, I wasn’t much in the mood for being picky. We stopped at the location on Northside Drive. That was my first look at Hungry Howie’s with my first taste shortly after.
What it meant to me then? My first taste at Hungry Howie’s was a large pizza, butter cheese crust, with pepperoni and extra cheese. It was absolutely delicious. I was instantly hooked. As a former pizza maker who spent considerable time at a national chain, I’m very critical of other national chains by comparison. Hungry Howie’s definitely earned my respect from the start…so much so that I stopped patronizing Domino’s Pizza—even though it was a stone’s throw from the base. I even stopped messing around with Pizza Hut. In fact, the only other pizza spot I patronized in Valdosta during that time was Pizza Quick…and that was mostly for the cheese sticks or if my money was funny. Hungry Howie’s was often the food of choice when the Dorm 322 crew would congregate for movies in the day room or just shoot the breeze in Lametria’s room. I was always satisfied, as far as appetite is concerned, whenever Hungry Howie’s was in play.
What it means to me now? Unfortunately for me, there aren’t any Hungry Howie’s locations in Virginia…or in the National Capital Region for that matter. The nearest location is about 2 ½ hours away in Seaford, Delaware. Having not tasted the savory butter cheese crust since I stopped through at the Auburn, Alabama location 3 years ago, you know I am absolutely chomping at the bit for the opportunity to sink my teeth into that flavored crust. It will happen sooner rather than later. Today, I have the same feelings towards Hungry Howie’s that I did some 16 years back. As far as national chains, I consider it the best…almost exclusively on the strength of their crust. Whenever I do depart the National Capital Region for other locales domestically, I hope to settle somewhere in close proximity to a Hungry Howie’s. I wouldn’t mind getting a large cheese pizza with butter cheese crust to chow down on every 3rd Friday evening.