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In an era of chain-store pizzas, the Pizza House, in Ambridge, keeps its idiosyncrasies 

First off, it's not called "Pizza House"

When I first visited the Pizza House, in Ambridge, nearly 15 years ago, I was intimidated.

"Do you know how to order in there?" asked my wife, who had grown up eating the crispy, square slices. "Because there's a system."

The "system," while not an overly complicated one, can flummox even a veteran and well-traveled pizza consumer. 

The first challenge is finding the shop. While the sign over the door says "Pizza House," no one calls it by that name. Over the years, the shop, which opened in 1950, has become known as "Police Station Pizza," because of its approximation to the Ambridge Police Station.

Soon after entering, an employee will acknowledge you with one of two greetings. He will ask, "How many?" or if you look like a regular, he will simply nod with a look that says ... "How many?" The rookie will undoubtedly tell the clerk how many and what he wants on them. This classic blunder will generate snickers from other customers. When ordering at Police Station, you give the number first, then are asked separately for toppings. 

To order correctly is a badge of honor. On a recent visit, the guy ahead of me was asked how many and ordered 12 with sausage before getting a raised hand from the clerk. Oops. 

The clerk then turned to me and gave a nod. "Six," I replied confidently. "Six."

1007 Merchant St., Ambridge. 724-266-3904

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