Special Edition: Hamilton, NY: A Mecca for Pizza

“The great thing about you college students,” my professor once said, “is that it’s so easy to ask you to participate in research –– you all will do anything for a slice of pizza.” It’s true. Pizza isn’t just a food item or a staple of a college student’s diet. Around here, it’s even a form of currency, as anyone who’s been paid for research in Slices tokens can tell you.

In a small town like Hamilton, without that many restaurants (relative to large cities), it makes sense that pizza is so popular. We all know that Colgate students can eat a lot of it, but that raises the question: just how much pizza does Hamilton, New York consume in a year?

For this completely unscientific survey, I examined three different sources of pizza in town: Slices, Oliveri’s and Frank Dining Hall. Pizza Pub is technically in Madison, so we’re not counting it, and even Pizza Hut is a little far outside the village for students. Besides, who actually drives out that far when there are three other sources of hot pizza-y goodness right at our fingertips?

The nice people at Slices told me that during the school year, they turn out about 100 pizzas per day. That number dips to about 25 pizzas per day when school is out of session. Roughly, that comes out to about 24,850 pizzas. Another off-hand guess from a member of the Slices team suggested that the whole town burns through 40,000 pizzas in a year. Wow.

A quick jaunt across the road to Oliveri’s led to another interesting estimate. I spoke to employee and pizza-maker Travis Marris, who said that Oliveri’s caters plenty of events, many for charities like Relay for Life as well as the local firefighters association. When I asked Marris how many pizzas Oliveri’s makes in a week, he said about 560. When extrapolated over 52 weeks, that comes out to a whopping 29,120 pizzas per year.

I, of course, had to hit up Frank and ask, in their estimation, how many pies met their demise at the hands of voracious freshmen. This number was much harder to estimate, but with 16 pizzas being burned through during the evening shift from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., and taking a guess that far more are produced during the day, that comes out to maybe 100 per day, putting it on course for about 21,000 over a 30-week school year.

Altogether, the combined might of Hamilton’s pizzerias (and one dining hall) is a mind-boggling 74,970 pizzas. While not all of those pizzas are sold as whole pies, or even as individual slices, in theory, at the Slices base price of $1.50, that would mean that in the village pizza is, at a highly conservative estimate, an $80,000 industry. Not bad for a little village of 3,000 people.