If you are in Ologapo City or Subic, there is one pizza place that you should try: Sam’s Pizza. It is located in the colorful street of Magsaysay Drive, popular for its nightlife. Sam’s is a family restaurant, in fact popular with families even though it’s known for it’s live band music that plays everynight 7 days a week.
I was invited to try it out with fellow members of the press. It was a long drive from Quezon City, but the journey was definitely worth the trip to discover a gem in the heart of Olongapo City.
The day we visited Sam’s Pizza, they were doing the PizzaYa (like “masaya” / happy) Sale. It’s part of their week-long 38th anniversary celebrations. Yes, you read it right, 38th. The resto has been established and delighting customers since 1976. They were the first to introduce square pizzas in the Philippines commercially.
1000 of Sam’s Hawaiian Special pizzas originally priced at Php. 230 were sold at only Php. 38 as their way of giving back to their customers. This now yearly sale which started 2 years ago was very popular that people queue as early as 1 pm for the 4 pm sale creating a queue that stretches hundreds of meters long.
|Happy early birds in the queue availing of the Pizzaya sale|
|Preparations for the 1000 Hawaiian Specials to be sold|
|The popular Hawaiian Special at Php 38 only during the Pizzaya Sale|
|Popular sale, the pizza sale of the year!|
|Customers queue for the ultimate pizza sale of the year, Pizzaya|
Aside from being square, there are many reason why Sam’s Pizza is different from the rest of the Pizzas I have tried in the Philippines.
The Dough / Crust
One of the best thing about Sam’s Pizza is their pizza’s crust. The crust / base is par-baked, meaning it is partially baked earlier. However, the crust are usually just baked the day before or two. The base are then spread with the sauce and sprinkled with the ingredients when the pizza is ordered and then baked fully in their gas oven.
Service time for the pizza is faster since the crust is already par-baked! Great especially when you are already hungry and/or in a hurry!
I love the crunchiness of the external crust and the right softness of the inside especially if eaten immediately when served. I actually had a take out and have eaten it the following day by just reheating it in the microwave oven. Surprisingly, the par-baked crust was not as tough to chew even when microwaved compared to other pizza dough. But of course, it is better if you heat the pizza in a toaster oven or in the oven for more crunchiness.
The crust taste good as well and not too “bready” taste. They really got the par-baked crust formula right in terms of taste and structure.
Sam’s Pizza has a good variety of flavors. Here are some of the flavors we tried.
One of their best seller is the Sam’s Special. Topped with loads of ham, pepperoni, mushrooms, green bell peppers, onions, bacon, Italian sausages and double cheese.
|Sam’s Special (Regular, Family, Jumbo: Php 320, Php 490, Php 590)|
Another best seller is the Taco Looking Pizza. All the joys of taco packaged into a pizza: taco meat, lettuce, tomato, onions, and lots of cheese! This flavor can easily become your favorite because of its taste and texture.
|Taco Looking Pizza (Regular, Family, Jumbo: Php 262, Php 390, Php 540)|
If you like Hawaiian flavor but want more meat, this is the flavor for you: The All American Special. Topped with cheese, ham, pepperoni, mushroom, green bell pepper, onions, bacon, Italian sausage and pineapple giving it a lightly sweet taste.
|All American Special (Regular, Family, Jumbo: Php 348, Php 480, Php 620)|
For a hint of herb, try the New York Special: Ham, pepperoni, bacon, mushrooms, onions, green bell pepper, beef, Italian sausages, double layers of mozzarella cheese and a hint of basil leaves for the accent flavor. Something different to tickle your palette.
|New York Special (Regular, Family, Jumbo: Php 378, Php 490, Php 628)|
OTHER POPULAR DISHES
In the city of Olongapo, Sam’s Pizza is not only known for their square tasty pizzas but also for their other popular dishes.
Chicken in a Wicket
Sam’s Original Chicken made its mark on the Gapo food scene. Marinated, boiled with flavor, and then lightly battered and deep fried to perfection, this is Sam’s gladiator to the fried chicken arena. It taste something in between a KFC and a Chinese spring chicken for my taste. I can understand why it’s a popular dish in Sam’s. It’s so tasty that you don’t require a gravy for it. Suggested to be paired with catchup but definitely can stand on its own.
|Chicken in a Wicket (Php 250 half, Php 470 whole)|
Sam’s Meaty Spaghetti
I just love the sweet blend sauce of this Filipino styled spaghetti. Very popular with the family and kids. Single served is Php 95. Also available for sharing size with the Celebration Treats combo.
|Sam’s Meaty Spaghetti Platter|
Wings on Fire
Definitely not for the faint hearted! You have to be into spicy foods with great tolerance for chilis to tackle this fiery goodness of buffalo chicken wings. If you can tolerate the spiciness level, its a must try! Served with special dipping sauce to alleviate your “suffering”, the sauce is tasty and calming. It is also served with vegetable sticks. I love it!
|Spicy Chicken Wings (Php 199 – 6 pcs, Php 395 – 12 pcs)|
A new item in the menu but will definitely become a best seller soon is their milkshakes. I tried this Caramel Milk Shake that will make any sweet tooth refreshed and delighted. Milkshake is also available in coffee and chocolate flavors. Yummy!
|Caramel Milk Shake (Php 100)|
Sam’s Pizza was established in 1976, a period when the US Naval Base was still present. Being in the row of the popular Magsaysay drive, up to now it still is characterized by the ambiance of a resto bar with live bands performing popular during that era among the joints in that vicinity. The ambiance of a cultural trove reminiscent of the bygone years of the American sailors and personnel presence.
With the nightly performance of the bands that plays 7 days a week with 2 bands on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, it’s a great place to dine and unwind when you are in the vicinity of Olongapo and Subic. The dimly light ambiance, with the lights and sound of the stage performers, creates a perfect mode for dining for your week-end getaways.
Very spacious and could easily accommodate around 200 pax.
|Dining with Stage Area for the nightly live bands|
|Can easily accommodate barkadas and big families|
Sam’s Pizza is definitely a recommend place when you are in Olongapo as a resident, a week-ender or on a business trip. The food is great! It’s not only the pizzas but the other food selections as well. The ambiance with the live band playing reminiscent of the US Naval base days adds to your week-end getaway experience. It’s definitely a stop for R & R (rest and recreation) as the military says. Great place for family and “barkadas” to dine and unwind! It should be on top of your list for dining when in the vicinity.
Sam’s Pizza Family Restaurant is located at 44 Magsaysay Drive, Olongapo City for dining and live music in the evenings. They also have a takeout outlet Sam’s Pizza Express at the 78 National Hi-way, at the popular Barrio Barretto area.
For more info and updates, visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/SamsPizzaPhilippines, call (047) 2223686.
Sam’s Pizza is now expanding and open to franchising in the future.