Pat’s Pizza and Orono House of Pizza (OHOP) are food staples of the University of Maine community. From breadsticks and free pizza deals on weeknights, to endless specials and great customer service, these restaurants are known for their food and popularity among students. Now, with a local pizzeria setting up shop as well, new competition is arising in Orono for the best pizza in town. Here’s a rundown of some options to help you decide where to grab a pie this week.
Outta The Ordinary, otherwise known as OTO, is a family-owned restaurant located on Main Street in Old Town. The pros of OTO range from its menu to the environment. Upstairs, OTO resembles a casual take out or dine in pizza place; you order at the counter and can take your food with you or eat at one of the tables there. But a strength of this new restaurant is the full bar located downstairs with various games to play, including a pool table. OTO will also soon be running the concession stands table at the Alfond Arena, making their pizza and snacks accessible to UMaine students on campus. They take pride in both their pizza and burgers, and offer dozens of family-friendly deals and promotions to bring gourmet food to college students on a budget.
Although OTO offers a wide variety of specialty pizzas and family discounts, Pat’s Pizza and OHOP have already developed their reputations, and are known for their staple specials during the week that almost every hungry college student can memorize and recite. For example, both of the Orono pizza joints offer a breadstick deal. At Pat’s Pizza, if you order pizza after 8 p.m. you receive free cheesy breadsticks (either small or large) if you pick up or deliver. Pat’s breadsticks are warm, crispy and full of delicious pizza cheese, and the style of them is slightly different than typical breadsticks; rather than the cheese being on top, Pat’s layers the cheese inside, and folds their crisp buttery dough over it, so they’re stuffed with cheese rather than covered in it. OHOP, on the other hand, has their own version of a breadstick deal, offering a large order of breadsticks for $5.95 on Tuesdays from 4-9 p.m.
Even though OHOP’s breadsticks aren’t free like at Pat’s Pizza, OHOP doesn’t fail to deliver in the departments of taste and quality. OHOP also has other good deals that make ordering from there worth it, even if some consider their pizza to be a little pricey. On Mondays, customers can buy a large or small pizza and get another free. This is a popular deal for college students who are looking to order pizza on a budget. From 4-9 p.m. on Wednesdays, OHOP wraps are $4.95, which is another popular deal amongst students in the area.
Pat’s Pizza is the cheapest choice out of all three restaurants as even their delivery fee is cheaper than it’s competitors’ by $1. Their pizza dough is light, crisp and almost a little sweet, which pairs perfectly with their sweet sauce. It is also a thin-crust style. This differs greatly from OHOP’s signature thicker, cheesy, greasy pizza that has a hearty flavor and savory sauce — great for a late night order after a night out. OHOP’s pizzas are usually a little bigger than Pat’s and come completely loaded with cheese and toppings. This is why they tend to be a little pricier than Pat’s and OTO. A major strength of OHOP? Their mac & cheese pizza. You don’t know how bad you need it until you try it.
OTO’s pricing is similar to Pat’s, but their pizzas take a totally different route. Unlike a typical pizza restaurant, none of OTO’s signature pizzas have a pizza sauce base. Instead, they incorporate just about any other meal you can think of into a pizza, from Italian to Asian cuisines to shepherd’s pie. Some of these include the Plain Jane Pizza, Crab Rangoon Pizza and Loaded Mashed Potato Pizza. Students who have tried some of OTO’s unique pizzas, and even their more normal ones, have rave reviews and confirm that it’s worth the trip to Old Town.
Despite the competition, Pat’s Pizza will always reign true as Orono’s staple pizza joint. It’s been around the longest, here in Orono since 1931, and has developed a devoted fan base – not just in Orono but all over the state of Maine. Pat’s always makes sure the food is hot and great quality, their recipes have been around forever, and if there is ever a mess-up with an order, they will always fix the mistake and be eager to help resolve any issues. The environment is also great for any mood – there’s casual dining upstairs with an old-time vibe, thanks to the wooden booths and old-fashioned ice cream parlor-style stools at the counter, but there’s also a small bar downstairs for a more lively evening.
With all this said, it’s ultimately up to the students to decide which pizza place they’re going to make their go-to for a Friday night, and which one might be a consistent Wednesday night dinner. To do so, you’ll have to try them all out for yourselves. Happy eating!