Home Politics Avalanche Pizza promotes political activity with presidential candidate caricatures

Avalanche Pizza promotes political activity with presidential candidate caricatures

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Avalanche Pizza owner John Gutekanst is serving up politics alongside pizzas by commissioning a local artist to create large caricatures of presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

The cartoonish depictions, created by Keith Wilde, show the politicians holding huge pizzas and are positioned in front of the store facing East State Street.

“We did Hillary and then Trump, and people screamed for Bernie. We’ve got him hanging off the roof,” Gutekanst said. “It’s pretty indicative of how the media ignored Bernie even though he has all these supporters.”

Alongside the commission, Gutekanst has in the past created a pizza popular vote, where customers could name their choice candidate through their order. For example, during the 2012 primary season, “Meat Romney” and “Barack Obam-Meat” were menu options.

“It’s usually some absurd pizza. Last time we did a two pound sausage crust topped with sauce, cheese and pepperoni,” Gutekanst said.

Although the local pizza expert said he had not gotten around to crafting politically-themed pies this year, Avalanche workers had already come up with a few potential names, like Meat-Ghazi for Hillary Clinton. But, Gutekanst noted, people would probably get upset about that moniker.

Andy Irwin, a staff member at Avalanche, didn’t even notice the commission until a few days after it had gone up.

“I usually come in through the back, and people don’t necessarily say anything about it when they come in to order pizzas,” Irwin said. “They’re really well done. I’m impressed.”

Rather than serve as a political statement, Irwin thinks the primary purpose of the work is to make people laugh.

“The political atmosphere in Athens is really liberal in the college town, but as it spreads out it’s really conservative,” Irwin said. “I don’t think it’s really making people pick sides.”

Janice Holm, an Athens resident who lives across the street from Avalanche Pizza, feels the same way.

“I’m not a politically outward person,” Holm said. “I think the community is mixed. It would make sense that college students would be more interested in liberal issues.”

While Gutekanst considers himself an Independent, leaning left on some issues and then swinging all the way around to the right, he definitely feels like Ohio’s governor has room for improvement.

“We don’t get a lot of recognition from someone who’s pouring gallons on gallons of fracking fluid down here,” Gutekanst said. “I’ll never put Kasich up there.”

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One Comment

  1. […] mix their service to customers with political discourse. From Avalanche Pizza’s caricatures of presidential candidates to Little Fish’s “No Fracking Way” beer brewed with […]


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