Python-topped pizza gives area restaurant taste of Everglades

Evan's Neighborhood Pizza's Everglades Pizza that contains python meat, frog legs, and hog and gator sausage on Friday Nov. 9, 2012.

Photo by WILLIAM DESHAZER, Naples Daily News // Buy this photo

Evan's Neighborhood Pizza's Everglades Pizza that contains python meat, frog legs, and hog and gator sausage on Friday Nov. 9, 2012.

Evan Daniell, owner of Evan's Neighborhood Pizza in Fort Myers, poses for a portrait his famous Everglades Pizza that contains python meat, frog legs, and hog and gator sausage on Friday Nov. 9, 2012.

Photo by WILLIAM DESHAZER, Naples Daily News // Buy this photo

Evan Daniell, owner of Evan's Neighborhood Pizza in Fort Myers, poses for a portrait his famous Everglades Pizza that contains python meat, frog legs, and hog and gator sausage on Friday Nov. 9, 2012.

Reports of a Burmese python exploding during an attempt to eat an alligator in the Everglades fascinated restaurant owner Evan Daniell.

While talking about it with a friend, he got an idea: We should find a way to market that.

Would you eat a pizza topped with frog legs, alligator sausage, python and tomatoes?

View results | Previous polls

So last year, the Everglades Pizza was born at Evan's Neighborhood Restaurant in Fort Myers. Daniell began offering a $45 pie topped with frog legs, alligator sausage, python and tomatoes — or "frog, hog, gator and 'mater," as he calls it.

The pizza is then sprinkled with swamp cabbage and Everglades seasoning.

With python meat being expensive — $66 a pound — the pizza shop owner expected the sticker shock would keep most folks at bay. But after the story of his swamp pizza went viral earlier this fall, he has found himself selling two or three a week.

"It's a big hit," Daniell said. "People always want to try it just to say they've eaten it, not to say they necessarily care for all the creatures on the pizza."

Daniell surmises a good chunk of Southwest Floridians have tried alligator and frog legs, but said python is a new experience for most. Python meat is a little chewy and tastes "like a cross between gator and chicken," he said.

Most of the flavor comes from the restaurant's gator sausage, which Daniell began putting on pizza in the '90s. But the Everglades Pizza does not contain Skunk Ape meat, a notable omission.

"I haven't found one yet," Daniell joked.

The 32-year-old shop is no stranger to strange pizzas. For Halloween, it offered a brain-looking pie topped with spaghetti. Customers also dig the Cheeseburger in Paradise pizza, with burger, bacon, fries, pickles, mustard and American cheese.

An advertisement for the Everglades Pizza at Evan's Neighborhood Pizza in Fort Myers on Friday Nov. 9, 2012. The pizza that's gaining popularity contains python meat, frog legs, and hog and gator sausage.

Photo by WILLIAM DESHAZER, Naples Daily News // Buy this photo

An advertisement for the Everglades Pizza at Evan's Neighborhood Pizza in Fort Myers on Friday Nov. 9, 2012. The pizza that's gaining popularity contains python meat, frog legs, and hog and gator sausage.

For the Everglades Pizza, Daniell asks customers to call ahead and give him 24-hour notice ("For the kill, of course."). And given its popularity, he's busy dreaming up his next creation: Roadkill Pizza with raccoon, armadillo and possum.

He thinks he'll top it off with squash.

If you go

What: Evan’s Neighborhood Restaurant

Where: 2973 Palm Beach Blvd., Fort Myers

Phone: 239-332-1212

© 2012 gonaples.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Comments » 0

Be the first to post a comment!

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.

Sessions