Out of the Park Pizza is an odd platypus of a place hidden in the back corner of an Anaheim Hills strip mall. It reminds me of theShimmer floor-wax skit
from the originalSaturday Night Live
"It's a beer geek's hangout!"
"It's a family pizza parlor with video arcade!"
"No, it's a sports bar!"
Calm down, it's all three.
Contradictory as that mashup sounds, the beer selection at this local hangout is a little more serious than most bars in this sleepy corner of Orange County. It's one of a handful of places in North County where local beers such as The Bruery's 12 Days of Christmas is on tap along with Pizza Port Brewing's Shark Bite Red and Lost Abbey's Ten Commandments. There are some token American megabrews like MGD in the mix for the sports bar crowd, but for the most part, it's a more interesting selection of craft beers.
Most tap beers cost $5, but the more unique beers cost more. Daily specials are posted on a white board and broadcast via its Facebook page (link below).
The menu centers on the pizza, though other selections such as sandwiches and wings are also offered. As you'd expect from a pizza shop that caters to families, it's good at making puffy American-style pizza that's meant to fill hungry bellies, rather than the austere Italian stylings from Pizzeria Mozza, Pizza e Vino or Pizzeria Ortica. Much effort is spent on loading the pizza with flavorful topping combinations and not enough on developing the flavor and texture potential of the crust, but that's exactly right for this style of pizza.
One curious thing is this new restaurant has a history of running out of ordinary ingredients. On a recent night, they ran out of chicken meat, which isn't a big deal as an isolated incident. As a repeated pattern, it hints at a lack of professional experience running a kitchen, a situation I hope improves as the restaurant gets its sea legs.
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A place like this is many things to many people. It might the neighborhood place to take the kids on a Saturday afternoon after little league. Or it might be an adult place to watch the game on the patio's big-screen while downing a few pitchers.
Or it might be your local place to sip on a couple of the Bruery's draft beers. According to Ben Weiss, The Bruery's Manager of Sales and Marketing, " Being a niche craft beer, a lot of places will put on [our] kegs every now and then, but very few places actually feature it on a constant basis. I'd say they are one of about six to ten places that serve our beer on draft in OC at any given time."
Out of the Park Pizza, 5638 E. La Palma Ave., Anaheim, (714) 777-4992.