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.
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.
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