Oh spacecocks, don't tell me this place is turning into Slice of Life
Today doth mark the second birthday of this here blog. It's also the first time I've posted in about two months. I'm sorry about that. There's just not much pizza stuff going on in town. Well, there wasn't; now there's a new Pizzetta's location, Falcone's (reviewed shortly) and soon the old Goodfellas location will become Times Square Pizza, according to Paul Stephen of Star News/Port City Foodies. By the way, is there any good pizza near Times Square in NYC? I've never had any.
I would also like to take a second to beg you to vote for PCF in Encore's 'Best of Blog' thing. Naturally, I would ask that you vote for me, but I have an aversion to such things (hence why I didn't beg for nomination votes). In any case, please vote for PCF and not the blog where girls talk about not eating certain ingredients or the one where some girl chatters to herself every day (she won last year, super cool). PCF is a blog that deals with local shit. It's not just someone learning to type on the internet, regurgitating links she's clicked. But I digress.
Aww yiss. More awesome pizza in Leland, right? My Oleander Pizzetta's re-review has them ranked them near the top of the list, so word of a new location in Leland was great to hear. Me and Leland have a history. I lived there, worked nearby, golfed there many-a-time, fought the police, cursed my luck, transmogrified, space aliens ... Leland is just the place to be nowadays. You can tell that even moreso by the weird space age Lowes next door to Pizzetta's. If the design of that place is the future of food stores I don't know what I'll do. I'll probably hook a tube up from my ass to my mouth and just re-ingest my turds for sustenance because that place was scarier than a rapey dolphin cock.
Now that I got that off my chest let's get down to the pizza. It should be good. It's Pizzetta's, right? Everyone is sucking Pizzetta's dick. It's gonna be good, I know it.
Well. That definitely resembles a pizza in a number of ways. Let's give this puppy a chance. Stay cool. It's gonna be alright. Try to forget about the ludicrously overpriced draft beer you ordered because you are a fucking dumbass. Alright. Back to the pizza. Let us scrom a bite. Okay, a bit saucy, tastes alright but I'm having flashbacks of my first Pizzetta's review. Let's have a taste of the sauce itself. Ah, a good sauce. And the cheese, yes the cheese is also good. The crust, a bite or two from the rim. Pretty good. (Can you picture how I eat pizza when I review it? It's a freakshow). Let us continue eating this slice. It's a bit heavy, dense. The large amount of cheese and sauce kind of overpowering what, at first, seems like a decent crust. And at first it's not such a big deal because the sauce and the cheese are good.
But there is something weird going on with the crust. The bottom of the crust. Yes, I picked off the bottom part of the crust and tasted it individually. It left some weird film of gross-taste on my tongue. I even smelled the bottom of this slice (picture that, too). It was really weird, I don't know what it was. It tasted like cleaner but that can't be it, right? Fuck me I ate this shit yesterday and as I'm writing this I'm tasting this poop on my tongue all over again. My best guess, based on zero knowledge and the fact that the bottom crust was mysteriously greasy, I would say that it was the taste of burnt oil.
Burnt oil is the pits, man. It also makes no sense for the bottom of a pizza to be greasy, as this one was. You make a pizza, you slide it off a wooden peel into an oven, you pull it out with a metal peel and you slice it. Why is the bottom of the pie greasy? Using some kind of a screen? Beyond that, are they using extra virgin olive oil or some other shit that burns at a low temperature? Because it made the pizza taste foul. You ever watch a cooking show and they say something is 'cloyingly sweet'? Well this was 'cloyingly foul'.
I'm not rating this one yet. They've been open about a week and I guess I'll give em another chance. Foul pizza + bar with overpriced beer = Slice of Life. Guys, I know it seems like a good business model, but so did 2 Guys Grill until they forgot why they succeeded in the first place. Then they started dying off and getting sued and whatever the fuck else is going on with them.
Also the location is fucking horrific. I mean, the restaurant was jam-packed (probably because they just opened) but that shopping center is a weird clusterfuck of idiocy and it's beyond out-of-the-way and hidden, even for the goddamn hillbillies in Leland.
?? recircs out of a possible 8 recircs (lower is better)Pizzetta's- $2.50 before tax 1144 E. Cutlar Crossing, Leland, NC 28451
Loyal reader Heidi sent this monstrosity in. I have to guess that it is from ...motherfucking drumroll... Harris Teeter Oleander. Furthermore, I guess that Heidi had a myocardial infarction after eating this slice so we will probably never know whether or not I am correct. RIP Heidi.
Never shall I have a first born, for I shall surely love this place more than ... it
At first you might look at this pizza and say, "fuck me that slice is small and it's half bubble, fuck that." But check this out, this slice only costs a buck. Though this slice was small, it was abnormally good. Though there is clearly oregano on there, I didn't do it. If you've read my other reviews, you know I love oregano and apply it liberally. Beyond that, the cheese was just damn excellent. I don't know what they use but my first guess was Grande, which is a great cheese for a dollar slice. The sauce was lightly applied and therefore nondescript but also inoffensive.
Then we come to the issue of the crust. On the one hand, it was not exactly my type of crust - it was too thin and insubstantial. On the other hand, it was cooked exceptionally well, tasted fine, and hardly withstands any legitimate complaints. You might notice and be offended by the bubble in the middle of the slice. I can understand that but I grew up with bubble pizza, love that shit, and refuse to pander to your silliness.
In the above picture you can see the bottom of the slice. There is something vaguely Neapolitan about it. Yet after seeing the complete and final product it kind of reminds me more of some unleavened Jewish bread. I don't really mean this in a bad way because I was truly floored by this pizza. Though for me a slice is often made or broken by the crust, this slice really impressed me with its cheese. The crust was more than passable and the sauce was barely there but the cheese shone through like a motherfucker.
But then I went back again. I'll be honest when I say that I love this place. I love their dollar slices (they far outpace any dollar slice you will find in NYC and kill many slices that are north of $2.50 locally), love their wings, their drink prices, their location, their staff, their outdoor bar, just about everything. When I remember how terrible Fat Tony's was at this exact location, my heart is so warm that hobos flock to it for warmth.
However, on my second visit, my slice of pizza was merely 'pretty good.'
My second slice was cheese-heavy and it lacked oregano. The slice itself was larger but the crust resembled a more typical NY crust. I had some weird fascination with their thin (almost cracker-like) crust which I had had before, so this annoyed me. Though the sauce was more liberally applied, it remained inoffensive to the point that I didn't make note of it. The cheese was really the main culprit. Whereas the first slice's cheese was great, this one seemed too-heavily applied and, more importantly, of inferior quality.
This could be chalked up to a mozzarella run to Lowes due to low stock and desperation. Or maybe they're realizing that they shouldn't be using good cheese on dollar slices. Either way, I, Pete, your pizza reviewer, refuse to rate this slice just yet. Partially because I've had both a great slice and a mediocre slice and don't know where I stand and partially because I know I'm going back. Because I love this place so I "might as well." Aw fuck I feel dirty for even saying that.
Edit: Okay I'm giving this place 3 recircs. That's pretty fucking good for a dollar slice.
3 recircs out of a possible 8 recircs (lower is better)
Might as Well Bar and Grill - $1.00 + tax
This might as well be a tattoo parlor
It has been nearly a month since my last review. This is largely due to the fact that there's simply not much to review. There's a place in the Landfall shopping center that's too expensive for me and there are two new pizzerias in Leland. Like I said, the one in Landfall is too expensive so I don't even want to eat there even though I know their pizza is alright. And one of the two new pizzerias (Pizzetta's) doesn't seem to be open yet. I want to knock Leland Pizzetta's and Falcone's out in one trip. I'm kind of ADHD about my driving strategery.
I happened upon this Harris Teeter the other day and noticed they had a weird pizza station. I guess this is in response to the Whole Foods across the street. Fuck if I know. I was too busy then to get a slice but I came back. Oh yes, I came back you motherfuckers. I don't even know who I'm talking to right now.
The pizza was straight up garbagetown. You see those lights in the above picture? I guess they are supposed to magically keep the pizza warm, even though they're over 9000 feet away. I assumed my slice would get tossed back in the oven (like at any pizzeria and like they do at Whole Foods) to get toasty, but no. Fuck me, right? I got a slice which was vaguely warm at best. The cheese was a solid mass of congealed idiocy and the rest of the slice followed suit into a sea of bland normality.
The crust was the best thing going on here but it was still unremarkable. It was kind of light and pillowy and stupid. It was alright though, fuck it. The cheese, as I mentioned, was a congealed mass. It also tasted fake and shitty. We are definitely not dealing with whole milk mozzarella. The sauce was bad. It made me angry enough to shake my fist at a small child, but she only seemed mildly entertained which made me even more angry.
The worst thing about Harris Teeter serving shit pizza is that they're a fucking food store. They could just blend a can of crushed tomatoes and shit out a better sauce than they serve on their pizza. The sauce they came up with (God knows how) is so overcooked and overspiced it's not even bordering on idiotic it's just plain offensive. And, in the Lord's name I pray, these people really ought to be able to buy a decent hunk of mozzarella. Even some of their shitty Sorrento cheese, which they always have in stock, would be worlds better than this obscene offering.
Somehow I was not shocked to be the only one patronizing the new pizza station during lunch rush on a weekday. The deli, sushi, bread and sandwich stations were all packed but I was the only one buying a slice of pizza.
Just don't buy this shit. Maybe they'll get a clue and hire me as a consultant.
7 recircs out of a possible 8 recircs (lower is better)Harris Teeter - $1.99 + tax 501 Oleander Drive Wilmington, NC 28403
What the fuck am I supposed to write here?
Hungry Heroes opened up a few weeks ago in the desolate clusterfuck of traffic some degenerates call Ogden. Initially I was reminded of the defunct Hungry Howie's business over by Eastwood and Racine. I never went there. I only heard they had flavored crust and that was enough for me. I knew it was bogus.
Hungry Heroes seems, by a fair margin, more legitimate. Meaning they seem to sorta just be a sub joint that sells bread and pizza too since what-the-fuck-why-not-fuck-you-buddy.
This showed immediately when I went there for my slice review some weeks ago. Apparently their air conditioning was not up to the task of cooling a place running pizza ovens, so they said to come back in a week or two for pizza. This bothered me a bit because I had driven about solely for pizza and it was raining like a bastard but at the end of the day I didn't mind too much because I punched a baby so my day was alright overall.
Also they gave me a free loaf of bread. I didn't even buy shit the dude just gave me some bread. They claim to have the best italian bread in Wilmington. I can tell you straight away that's not true because you could get some italian bread from my Mom. She'll probably give you some fruit salad too. Honestly, Hungry Heroes bread is really good, though. Except that they forgot to put any salt in it. Bread without salt is like a tasteless void of pain and discomfort. I still ate it, mind you. However, it made me worry about their pizza.
I was right, sort of; the crust was lacking sodium. However, other than that I would say the crust was stellar. It was so good that I can damn near overlook the under-salting. I mean, I still have to mention it. I'm a reviewer, after all. The crust was the perfect height, well-browned and dry in that sort of way where fuck it you're eating greasy pizza, right? You don't need a greasy crust, too, do you? Oh you do? Fuck you then.
After the crust is a downhill, as might be expected. These guys are all about dough. And Boars Head meat. Are they about good pizza cheese? No. Are they about good red sauce? No.
And there you have it. This place serves up small (16") pizzas as an afterthought. The slices are an afterthought of an afterthought. The cheese is mediocre. It's not offensive or anything. Same thing with the sauce. It's kind of too sweet and it's annoying because damn it's close. And either one of these things could carry the slice into the record books. For Wilmington, anyway.
Rundown: Great crust; bland cheese; bland, overly-sweet sauce. Also cheap as fuck at $1.44 after tax.
Another weird thing about this place is their layout. They have this giant section in the front that is entirely empty and begging for tables to be put in. My only guess is that since they don't have a customer bathroom they're not allowed to have such seating. If so, I don't know where I stand. If a place is too small for a bathroom, wassup? However, let a nigga shit, right? Y'all know you like poopin'.
4 recircs out of a possible 8 recircs (lower is better)Hungry Heroes - $1.44 8024 Market St., Wilmington, NC 28411
When in Atlanta, kill yourself.
I flew out to Canada recently, and I had a long-ass layover in Atlanta. I passed the time by finally continuing the fourth book in the series I'm reading and also by consuming the shittiest, stupidest, most god-awful pizza I have ever set my tastebuds on. It was Sbarro. Airport Sbarro. Now you may be thinking Captain, isn't eating ATL pizza instead of ILM pizza considered food heresy? Yes, god damn it, and I don't give a shit. Pete stole the last review from me, and I demand recompense. In all fairness, though, this pizza did manage to keep me shitting acid for a full 2 weeks, so some of it did end up in the Wilmington sewers (where it belongs).
Atlanta's airport is full of shitty people, oddly clean bathrooms, and expensive garbage at which to throw money. All of the food falls under the 'expensive garbage' category, but Sbarro's pizza is in a league of its own. There were a total of 4 menu items, collectively worth an arm and a dick. Prepared to lose one or the other, I walked up to the counter with my order ready. It was a coin-flip decision because their only two options were 'bland styrofoam cheese' and 'gourmet barbecue'. The woman (read: Pacman Scissorhands) was apparently too lazy or too daft to put together their other two menu items: meat lover's and mushroom-something-or-other. Considering that the cheese pizza probably tasted like the cold, empty void of space, I went with the barbecue monstrosity. The Swedish kid behind me ordered pepperoni three whole times before the cashier screamed at him, "WE AIN'T GOT NO PEPPERONI, CHILD." Meanwhile, I was staring down at this hunk of pre-fab bullshit.
I don't know what goes into the pizza-making process here. I assume they get shipments of pre-cooked dough, soggy cheese slabs, and discarded animal bits, throw them all together in a microwave or toaster over, and voila - masterpiece. I could be wrong, but either way this shit was terrible. It was the furthest thing from "gourmet" that you could imagine, and selling it should be illegal in all 50 states. By the time I was done with my first slice, the kid who was behind me in line was chowing down on his personal cheese pie. In his words,
"This pizza is totally gummy worms, except bad tasting."
I couldn't put it better myself, you blonde-haired IKEA bastard. The cheese fell off all at once, and the crust was chewier than a wookiee. All I could taste was barbecue sauce and sadness. As you can see in the picture, there was some red sauce atop the chicken. I am convinced that this was not pizza sauce, but rather the reheated blood of Sensei Sbarro after he seppuku'd himself with a pair of dirty chopsticks. You bring shame on your family, but your congealed lifeblood tastes oh so sweet.
In all seriousness, I knew what I was getting myself into before I ordered this circle of self-loathing. A chain pizza restaurant in an airport? That's a recipe for shitty recipes. I paid good money for a pre-packaged blob of barbecue-flavored nothingness and a permanent stomach ache. And I did it for you jerkoffs, so you could revel in my misery.
7 1/2 recircs out of a possible 8 recircs (lower is better)Sbarro - $Too Much 6000 North Terminal Parkway, Atlanta, Georgia 30320
I wrote this review but it's completely unintelligible. My grandma gave me a fifth of gin for some reason and normally (for the record gram giving me liquor is not normal) I fucking hate gin. But this was sorta classy gin and it tasted really good so I drank it all and wrote a pizza review. I think I might have to dump the review in the fetus chute though because it's super bad. It's mainly just me talking about my grandma and how much I love Tanqueray. It's like this post except longer so I'm going to try to rework that review. OK? Jeez.
In the meantime here is the funniest review ever featured on this site, written by my glorious cohort guest reviewer with the glorious nom de plume "Captain Falcon." Personal favorite lines: "collectively worth an arm and a dick," "totally gummy worms except bad tasting," and "chewier than a wookiee."
I guess don't even bother reading it now because I just ruined it.
I'd heard Papa Bella's had became Uncle Louie's, but I'd been a bit lazy in regards to trying the new joint out. Actually - full disclosure - I told the other dolt who has written a couple reviews on this site to check it out for me. After all, he was the dude who reviewed Papa Bella's. (When I went there to review it they had "run out of pizza dough". Nimrods.) Then a friend of mine texted me the picture shown above and demanded I get off my ass and review it.
I hope this place does well, and it probably will. The area needs a pizzeria. There used to be a Dominos in this same shopping center. I used to work there, in fact. For about a week. I was a delivery driver because they were short-staffed and my friend was an assistant manager. This could speak to any number of things but it probably has more to do with my work ethic than anything else: holy shit, that job sucked. After I was hired they were like, okay, get this, you won't be delivering pizzas all the time so if there's nothing going on just wash dishes and fold pizza boxes.
I think that's pretty standard as far as pizzerias go, but do you know what I did? Here's a clue, I didn't wash a single damn thing and I still don't know how the fuck those box wizards fold those infernal boxes into glorified pizza wombs. I just delivered pizzas. And it was still a nightmare. Well, in any case, that Dominos is now a bar (upgrade) and the only other pizzeria nearby is fucking Hoobies.
If you've been to Papa Bella's in the past (either its former incarnation or its former former incarnation), walking into the new Uncle Louie's might give you a bit of a shock. The interior is 100% different. The old setup was really going for the grungy bar feel. It had a certain charm which I would have respected except they were in a strip mall and they were just gross. Uncle Louie's is going for a more upscale approach. Upon entry I immediately wondered if this gameplan even had a chance at success, given the location. They seemed to be doing fine - at least at the bar - because it was sorta crowded. Papa Bella's never seemed so busy, from my limited experience (I used to live a short walk from this location but I preferred walking an extra second and getting a frozen pizza and a six-pack from Food Lion).
I have to say that I really liked the layout and vibe of the bar. Reasonable bar specials were an added, lovely bonus.
Sweet baby Jesus I guess I'll mention the pizza.
At first glance it's not a terribly impressive sight. Especially without the crushed red pepper applied as pictured above. The rim of the crust seems underdone (or raw, maybe) and overall it sort of looked boring-bordering-on-stupid.
It wasn't quite so bad, though.
I usually start with the bad but the first thing that hit me was that the cheese was pretty good. They're clearly using a good product here, which might have to do with the fact that they also have a vaguely upscale menu featuring dishes which also contain mozzarella. So the cheese was good and greasy and I have no real complaints there. The saucing of the pizza was reasonable. It was bordering on being undersauced but this only caused me to have a difficult time tasting it individually and therefore being able to critique it individually (good job, you sneaky fuckers). As near as I could tell, the sauce was okay and reasonably applied.
The dough was basically shit. It's not the worst in town but it's also not far off, either. The top rim looked nearly raw; the bottom of the slice looked much the same, except where it was overly charred. The char can most likely be chalked up to an oven that is not cleaned often enough; a sloppy kitchen staff. The rest of the dough being really dense and underdone (at some points close-to-raw) is more difficult to explain.
I'm going to put my crazy pizza wizard hat on and guess that their poor, sad dough balls never get proofed. Possibly under-yeasted as well. This abortiony kind of pizza smacks you right in the face because on the one hand the pies are incredibly thin but on the other hand there is no bounce to them. No crumb is developed, there is no spring to the crust and it merely becomes a sloppy vessel to deliver some toppings to your face. Is there anything wrong with that? Yes there is, because: It should be so easy:
High gluten flour. Salt it. Water it. Proof it. All of a sudden, baby, you got a stew goin'.
I like the bar.
4 1/2 recircs out of a possible 8 recircs (lower is better)Uncle Louie's Pizza Lounge - $2.50 + tax 3224 Suite F North College Road, Wilmington, NC 28405
[insert picture of exterior here. it was so hot out my phone was malfunctioning]
I've been patiently waiting for this place to open up since the closing of the infamous Gumby's. So when I saw the sign out front saying that it had opened, I was stoked. But it's been 100 degrees every fucking day and who wants to eat a hot slice of pizza when you've already sweated your balls down into ass-sweat covered raisins? I'm sorry about that awful mental imagery. Heat stroke and whiskey, blame them as well.
Through my various spies in town I learned that "Sal" is allegedly the brother of the dude that runs Uncle Vinny's in Carolina Beach. This gave me high hopes, since before learning this bit of intel I sort of assumed Brooklyn Sal's would be another shitty shop like Gumby's, just trying to steal the real Brooklyn Pizza's name along the way. Uncle Vinny's actually serves up a really good pie. It's not prototypical NY-street style stuff but you can tell they give many shits about the product they're selling in terms of ingredients and craftsmanship, and that goes a hell of a long way.
Brooklyn Sal's is not midtown Wilmington's answer to the opening of Uncle Vinny's in CB. Neither is Nino's, as I recently informed you. Midtown pizza is still dominated by Incredible, Nicola's and Pizzettas, with the potential nod to Luciano's which can be hit-or-miss.
The good news is that Brooklyn Sal's is a lot better than Gumby's was. Granted, that's not saying much, but their pizza is definitely not super bad. Plus, they just opened, so maybe they're still working on things. I'd wait a while and give them another try, but I learned my lesson from Nino's. Get it right or don't open up, motherfuckers.
It was kind of tough for me to distinguish the cheese from the sauce - probably because the sauce had a very strong flavor and the slice was a bit under-cheesed. I thought the cheese was okay but nothing to write home about (Hi mom). The sauce had a strange - though not offensive - taste. If I were a vegetarian, I would ask the cooks if the sauce was meat-based, because it definitely had a meaty flavor.
The crust kind of reminded me of a Papa Johns crust except thinner, drier and less greasy. It wasn't really that bad but it could have been a lot better. There are a few culprits one might blame but I'd pin the majority of the blame on what I suspect to be a too-low deck temperature on their pizza oven.
Overall, I would classify it as a strange cross between national American-style pizza chains and - interestingly - a Wilmington favorite, Brooklyn Pizza. It seems to falter in an attempt to satisfy both crowds, which is a shame. It may be the same trap Gumby's fell into: trying to please everyone and failing to please anyone. Well, except that strange fat man who sat next to me and tried to talk to me. He loved this shit.
It just seems to me that a good NY-style pizza is a cheap and easy thing to make and would be wildly popular in their location, yet they aren't quite hitting the mark. Just go minutes away in either direction to Pizzetta's, Nicolas or even motherfucking Scotto in the mall and skip this place entirely. Fuck it.
Also, who do you think you guys are, trying to throw the word Famous into your name?
There has never been a more substantial man in the history of mankind than Salamander Sal - Abe Lincoln
5 recircs out of a possible 8 recircs (lower is better)Brooklyn Sal's Famous Pizza - $2.50 + tax 1414 S. College Rd., Wilmington, NC 28403
My sister just texted me a picture of some pizza she ate and demanded I guess where it was from. Boom, fuck you, I got it. So send me some pictures. I'll try to guess the source.
Also, I owe some of my loyal readers some stuff (after all, you are basically paying for this website). I will make this right. If I don't, or if you get tired of my shitdickery, I will refund your donations. Just contact me. I'm a shitbird. For real. Could be genetic?
I will also be posting a new review in the next day or two! So there's that!