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I still miss the old Perry's Pizza next to the Newport Pier, which closed in 2014 after 40 years. Its square slices were a great companion with which to wander around the Peninsula or to try to sneak into the Lido Theater (a great way to hide pizza? One of those big legal folders that expands like an accordion). But to be honest? Its newish Huntington Beach location off Brookhurst Avenue is better. The view is a Trader Joe's parking lot—but right next to Perry's is TKO Records. It's inland—but the small space's windows open up completely during the summertime, lending a coastal feel. More important, the change has injected Perry's with a vibrancy that made it not only a quick favorite in its new neighborhood, but also one with a plan for the future.
On tap? A bunch of Ballast Point suds. There are succulent prime rib sliders on Thursday and crunchy chicken parmesan sliders for happy hour the rest of the week to accompany the other subs. Old pictures of the Newps regulars decorate the tables, and the Perry's Pizza logo—has a wooden roller ever looked more welcoming?—is brighter than ever. But the roasted-cherry-tomatoes appetizer, bright and light and fabulous, is something you'd be served at Mozza. And the fancy salads draw in the ladies who lunch, the type who would usually never be seen next to a pizza parlor even if you spotted them a week of Pilates. Pizzerias dot HB like loncheras in SanTana, so the folks here know that to have a run like the one at the original spot, they had to evolve—but do it right.
Everything Perry's does is delicious, and I wish I liked beer so I could knock back one of its famous milk jugs of brew. I always get the same order: Perry's Special, a hefty garden salad and two Sicilian slices. I never finish the salad because I immediately need to get my pizza fix. That chewy crust, the tangier-than-usual sauce with just a rumor of heat, the cheese that stretches like hot caramel, the grease that turns the paper plates upon which each slice comes translucent—simplicity at its finest.
Perry's Pizza, 21411 Brookhurst St., Huntington Beach, (714) 593-2800; www.perryspizza.net.