Battle Downtown Santa Ana $5 Happy Hour Pizzas!
I bounce back and forth between The Crosby and Memphis in downtown SanTana depending on what I want to eat. If I'm looking for Crosby chef (and half-Mexi!) Aron Habiger to wow me with his monthly menu, I drop by and read the magazines I bought at Rags next door. If I want the comfort of a Cobra sandwich, or perhaps a po' boy, Memphis is for me.
Happy hour, though, is where I get torn. Both make killer Manhattans, and both offer great $5 happy hour pizzas, each with their own allure but in vastly different sizes. I order each at least twice a month, depending on who I'm meeting and where--love them both, but which is the master of hipsters?
Click after the jump for my comparison, and behold the blurry photos I took of each!
The Crosby's pizza--not as blurry in real life
If you're with a group, the Crosby pizza is perfect. For 5 bucks, they deliver a gargantuan disc in the thin-crust tradition, baked with stretchy cheese and fresh tomato sauce (if you want pepperonis, you can have 'em--and it's still $5!). Habiger and his crew slightly burn the bottom, the better to lend crispiness. I can finish this pizza easily, but then again, I'm a glutton; one slice will do for a soul. My main problem with this pizza is the hot sauces that accompany it--while I like Sriracha and Tabasco, they don't have a Mexican hot sauce option. ¿Qué que?
Apologies for the flash photo, but it WAS Happy Hour at the Crosby, y'know...
Behold Memphis' $5 Happy Hour Pizza--smaller by half than the one at the Crosby, but also more gourmet. Those green bits you see aren't jalapeños but okra; the tomato slices are fresh and bouncy; the arugula, great. And they have Cholula, Tapatío AND Louisiana hot sauce to spike up the pie. It'll fill you fine for five, but I always find the cheese disappointingly rubbery--I like it, but this fromage is a letdown given the foodie quality of the rest of the ingredients.
The winner? I have to go with the Crosby's take, with size being the determining factor. But either one is a worthy meal--and did I mention they're $5? Doubt you'll find cheaper, better, non-chain pizzas anywhere else in Orange County--but if you pick one, go to the Crosby.
The Crosby, 400 N. Broadway, Santa Ana, (714) 543-3543; twitter.com/thecrosby
Memphis at the Santora, 201 N. Broadway, Santa Ana, (714) 564-1064; twitter.com/memphissantora
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Orange County dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.