I’m going to share with you some folklore from the city I was raised in. This specific piece of Folklore is an establishment named ‘Mystery Pizza’. They were the most infamous pizza delivery service in town.
Now, probably the first thing you need to know about ‘Mystery Pizza’ is why it’s a mystery. The place out of which they operated was hidden. If you could guess where they made your pizzas, you got a prize.
This lead to a lot of speculation. The most common speculation I heard was that Mystery Pizza operated out of hardware stores, such as The Home Depot and Lowes, after hours and that they cooked their pizzas in propane grills.
The truth is that it operated out of the owner’s home kitchen and he valued his privacy. Eventually he moved it to an ‘industrial kitchen’ that was jointly used by several other businesses.
Now, another thing that made ‘Mystery Pizza’ popular was their reputation as offering ‘weird’ pizza. It was true that the owner was willing to put literally anything you asked for on a pizza, but what the stories don’t share is that he would charge you extra if he had to go out and buy a topping just for you.
Still, sometimes people got a craving for Poutine pizza, or Jujubees and marshmallow fluff, or whatever other drunken pizza they demanded, and the owner would happily slap on a ten dollar surcharge and make it for them.
This wasn’t one of their original offerings, however, how it started was that they ran a short term promotion called ‘the mona lisa’, which was a pizza who’s ingrediants were carefully arranged to look like mona lisa (or, if the chef wasn’t feeling up for doing Mona Lisa, sometimes like other famous paintings)
Eventually they stopped offering artwork pizzas, and the story got garbled into ‘any topping pizzas’, which the owner then took advantage of. A friend of mine once got a ‘Tripas’ pizza, seasoned like the Mexican Tripa soup, but had to pay $25 extra for it due to the specialty toppings.
The person who owned Mystery Pizza also owned a Taxi Company called ‘Rainbow Taxi’, their one taxi had a distinctive rainbow chequerboard pattern on it. Sometimes it was used to deliver pizzas. Sometimes you’d hail the Rainbow Taxi and find yourself sitting next to a stack of pizzas mid delivery.
Later the owner added a second car to his taxi fleet, a student art project he purchased from the University called ‘The Trash Car’, which had plexiglass dividers to make it possible to sit in some of the seats while the rest of the car was piled high in, well, trash… mostly paper and plastics. This vehicle was also used both for delivery and occasional passengers.
Eventually there were changes to the law around food delivery, and he was no longer able to deliver food at the same time as driving passengers around. This was, apparently, the deathblow to the owner’s profitability (or possibly to his enjoyment), as Mystery Pizza ceased operation soon after.
But the legends, rumors, and mysteries around it continue to this day.