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    Everything’s galactic as I bite into my pizza. The red peppers, green olives, onions and tomatoes flung across this cheesy slice of pie like interstellar debris, broccoli tendrils spread like crisp rays. 

    Christopher Seckman — partner at North End Cafe and commander-in-chef of this latest venture, the North End Slice at its Douglass Loop location — dreamed of opening a pizza parlor for 12 years. Why this new frontier? “Because pizza’s fun!” he says, then apologizes because the dough isn’t exactly as he wanted it today, the result of a water/olive oil mishap. He’s still perfecting the pie after trial-and-error-ing for three months. “My grandmother’s not Italian, unfortunately,” Seckman says. An old man who helped convert the space from a barely busy banquet room into the Slice has nicknamed Seckman “Knuckles” because, initially, Seckman wasn’t using enough knucks while kneading the dough. 

    Done with my New York-style slice of the day — all those veggies for $3.50 — and on to the chicken pesto (one of 12 specialty pizzas). The pie’s as round and green as Earth. The pesto makes me close my eyes, forget gravity. Crumbs like meteors shower my lap as I land near crunchy crust. 

    Outside the large storefront windows, the whoosh and rattle of all these cars fast down Bardstown Road, stuck in some determined orbit. Quiet inside. A couple folks sit at the countertop across from the shiny silver ovens. The dozen or so paisley-textured tables are empty. Sports play soft on the lone TV. The old Hobart mixer hums as Seckman spins a small batch of dough into an Andromeda pattern. A cook, his ball cap tilted a little off-axis, helps Seckman crank and stir the mixer.

    The quiet’s fine, expected. Seckman says the joint is less dine-in, more grab-and-go. More foot-traffic-dependent. “There’s nothing like this on this end of the neighborhood,” he says. I grab another piece of the pesto, intending to take one more bite, the last one (That’s it, Arielle! Swear!), but I finish the whole piece. I’m some space cadet, and this is a special star, indeed.

    This article originally appeared in the February issue of Louisville Magazine. To subscribe, click here.

    Photo by Amber Estes Thieneman

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