Campus Confessions

Campus Confessions: ‘Pizza Boy’ Declares His Love for de Nobili Pizza

Austin HojdarA&E writer Austin Hojdar breaks his silence: he thinks de Nobili Dining Hall serves the best pizza — not just at Loyola campuses or even in the deep dish-famous city, but as the best pizza in the world.

de Nobili Dining Hall is home to a cultural collection of cuisines, but everytime I enter, the rectangular slices of pizza are the only thing on my mind.

Due to my frequent trips to de Nobili, I have regularly been greeted by the staff as “Pizza Boy.” This is a fact I should probably be less proud of, but it’s a title I hold with pride.

Despite the infamous glass shard and an inability to take responsibility for alleged food poisoning, de Nobili pizza has become a consistent part of my life since I moved on campus in spring of 2021. I told my parents about it on our weekly FaceTimes, I would try to convince my friends to go to de Nobili instead of Damen every day and I found myself craving the pizza on a regular basis.

This all occurred while living in a city known for its famed slices and pizzerias.

I understand Chicago has an affinity for its pizza sauce, with deep dish pizza consisting primarily of the mashed tomato mixture. But the sauce is definitely not the focus of this pizza. 

On a perfect day, the ratio of cheese to sauce on de Nobili pizza is unmatched. There’s also something beautiful about the pizza’s construction, with a spongy quality to the pizza’s dough. 

Courtesy of Sophie Grippo Austin “Pizza Boy” Hojdar at de Nobili Dining Hall.

I’ll still be the first to admit there are days when the pizza is a little inconsistent. Some days, it seems like the cheese is exploding from the abundance of sauce beneath and I find myself a little disappointed after making the trek to the hall.

Yet, I’m still happy because I am eating what I believe is the best pizza in the world. Little did I know the rug was soon to be pulled out from beneath me. 

On the morning of Nov. 8, 2021, I noticed fire engines outside de Nobili Hall. Whether it was the early-morning haze or my rushing to get to class a few minutes too early, I didn’t think too much of it. Then, I received the email.

“The Department of Residence Life was made aware that there was a small kitchen fire in de Nobili Dining Hall this morning,” Residence Life wrote. “With that being the case, the dining hall will be closed until further notice.”

I was absolutely gutted. 

To add insult to injury, it seemed as though it wouldn’t reopen until the spring semester, more than two months later. I began to ask myself, “If I couldn’t be Pizza Boy, who would I be?”

Courtesy of Sophie Grippo Austin Hojdar said de Nobili’s pizza has the “perfect ratio” of cheese to sauce.

I received messages of condolences from friends and family, but living on the south side of campus and having to pass the hall on my daily stroll was like salt in the wound.

Less than a month later, I received a text from a friend, linking The Phoenix article announcing the hall’s plans to open its doors exactly a month after the fire scorched my heart.

As soon as my class let out Dec. 8, I burst out the doors of Mundelein, trotted across the faux-brick crosswalk and entered the doors of de Nobili, a smile brimming from ear to ear beneath my mask.

Balancing classes downtown and compromising with friends who live on the north end of campus has made my trips to de Nobili Dining Hall few and far between this semester. But after a long day, the comfort of pizza during Late Night Bite hours is a comfort like no other.

Many can attest that I am the blandest eater of foods they know, so maybe my confession should be taken with a grain of salt. Regardless, if you have spent your tenure at Loyola without having had a slice of de Nobili pizza, I implore you to rectify this as soon as possible.

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