This ain't no hamburger
I went to my brother's house in Leland recently and he said "I'm getting In-n-Out for lunch," and I said, "no you're not, you prostitute." For the impossibly uninformed, In-n-Out is the best burger chain on the west coast. It kind of resembles Cook-out insofar as they like dashes in their names, they make good burgers for cheap, and they print Christian bullshit on their products. Another similarity is that neither of them sell goddamn pizza.
I remember Paul Stephen of the Star News mentioning the Princess Pizza guys would be opening this place. I would link to the article/blog post but the Star News site is still, inexplicably, locked behind a paywall. Anyhow, I guess the gents from Princess Pizza figured the name In-n-Out worked for an entire half of America, it oughta work for them, too. The name 'Princess Pizza' sure as fuck didn't work. What the fuck do I do at a place called Princess Pizza, play dress-up alongside my dollies and eat crumpets with my tea? Anyway this new joint is called In-n-Out and they serve pizza in Leland.
Three years ago I reviewed Princess Pizza in downtown Wilmington. They got one of the worst ratings I've ever given out: 7/8 recircs. "The sixth worst pizza in Wilmington" is not something they ever felt inclined to print on their pizza boxes, apparently. I bring this up because, man, I was not expecting to like In-n-Out's pizza, in any way, shape, or form.
My initial impression was that it looked like an amalgam of Papa Johns and NY-style pizza. The crust looked a bit poofy and soft in the faggotiest of ways. The cheese looked a bit overdone. But it had promise. It definitely looked better than the Princess garbage I've had in the past and at $9.99 for an 18", the opening of this pizza box held my interest.
The star here is the cheese. I assume it is Grande, but I'm not sure. It tastes like the cheese you get on every pizza that has ever knocked your socks off. Normally I'm not a cheese fiend but this is an exception. That is partly because the rest of the pizza was markedly crummier than the cheese. The sauce was alright. No complaints but no great compliments either. It wasn't a pasty, overspiced and overcooked mess but it wasn't great, either. Probably above average in terms of local pizzerias, though.
The problem with this pizza is with the dough. And it's not even really the formulation of the dough, because in a lot of ways it is pretty good. It seemed properly salted and the consistency was alright. The big problem is that they cook their pizzas on screens. This resulted in the cheese burning on top and the bottom of the pizza being whiter than my fat ass. If they cooked this thing directly on the deck it would be really, really, really good. Instead, it's just pretty good.
Man up, gents. Pizza peels might seem scary at first but you bitches can do it. I know you can. Contrary to what the pizzeria failures in this review's comments say, real pizza is never cooked on a screen. That's childish shit. Man the fuck up.
Also, what's the deal with turkey substitutes for pork products? I think these guys are Muslim. I don't mean that in mean/jokey way, I think they are. But c'mon guys. It's just a fuckin' pig. And I'm a fucking American let me eat dem pigs.
3 1/2 recircs out of a possible 8 recircs (lower is better)In-n-Out Pizza & Subs - $9.99 (18" pie) / $1.99 (slice)
1735 Reed Rd., Leland, NC 28451
Prepare for a glowing review
As I approach my fifteenth year in this crumby city, I presently give pause to recollect. To be clear, I'm not approaching my fifteenth birthday. Double it, in fact. In two and a half months I will officially become an old geezer. Today I give test to my questionable wits and my ever-faulty memory as I harken back to my previous visit to Terrazzo, ages ago. I remember it being maybe one third the size of its present, spawling nightclubby self. I remember some stools and some rounded tiny tables and I remember feeling cramped. The Terrazzo of present is a far different affair. This is either due to my shitty memory or due to expansion on their part.
Here we see what I've been avoiding all this time. Since starting this blog over nine-thousand years ago, I've avoided Terrazzo. Initially it was because I hated their website and I was pretty sure that the only thing they would be willing to serve me was caviar pizza doused in gold-flecked elf blood gilded with endangered spider monkey urethra crispies. I don't even remember seeing the option of ordering, on their flipping menu, a god dang cheese pizza. Thankfully their menu now makes sense, except that it doesn't specify prices, which is the other thing I was worried about.
Also my girlfriend said she likes their pizza and she has terrible taste in everything. For example, me.
However, Terrazzo has always been a glaring hole in my grand pizza-reviewing masterpiece. After all, they are a pizzeria:
And they soundly proved that fact. These good folk make a very good NY-style pizza. I'm not, however, super-soaker-stoked about the prices they charge (a 14" pie is in line with what other places charge for an 18" pie). The pizza itself, however, is mostly without fault. The crust is, hey, crusty. It's not airy, it has a good bite to it, it has substance, it is very thin and yet it grants more than adequate structure. It's not fucking fried in grease and it's not cooked on a fucking pan. It's a god damn pizza. This pizza should be the friggen baseline. Why can't everyone make this? It's not fucking rocket science. It's a fucking pizza.
So I loved the crust. Only criticism is that there wasn't much of a crumb to the crust. Which is to say it say it could have had some kind of yeasty poof to it. That's probably the faggotyest thing I'll say in my life and I'm okay with that.
The sauce reminded me of a can of crushed tomatoes, reduced and minimally spiced. Which is what pizza sauce is supposed to be. It was applied with care and in proportion to the rest of the pie.
The cheese was good. They clearly don't try to skimp on their pizza products. It was neither over- nor under-applied. Added to the top of said cheese was some oregano.
The simplest pizza in the world. Easy as pie.
1 1/2 recircs out of a possible 8 recircs (lower is better)
1319 Military Cutoff Rd Wilmington, NC 28405
I was just updating the Listing page and man has shit changed in recent time-units. Starting from the bottom:
Shit never mind I think they're still around for some reason. After driving by this place, however, I'm fairly convinced that Avanti is now a fucking Waffle House. It might come as an absolute and incomparable shocker but whenever a pizzeria starts serving breakfast maybe their pizza is trash and no one wants to fucking buy it. Disclosure: I only vaguely remember seeing some shit about them serving breakfast advertised on the side of the road.
Sbarro is, thankfully, DEAD. It was replaced by ...
Scotto Pizza, which, as the lordly lords of fate have willed it HAS ALSO FUCKING PERISHED. It's a shame about Scotto Pizza because I fucking liked their pizza. I think I did, anyway; check out the review and let me know because I sure as fuck don't want to read it. Notwithstanding anything I may have said let me make this much clear: that was good mall pizza.
Nino's of Eastwood/Market
This shit is for real dead now. There was a Nino's in Wrightsboro. That shit is dead. There was a Nino's at Eastwood and Market and that shit is REALLY DEAD. Let me quickly add a special fuck you to you guys, even if you did run the original Wrightstboro outfit. You simultaneously said that you used subpar ingredients in a pinch while saying that the recipe was the same. After reading the comments HERE, please join me in a communal Hey fuck you. You guys are fucking loons. Oh yeah then you have some Amore douchers pretending like they're the original Nino's (THIS ISN'T THEM) as well as ...
This place (ALSO NOT THEM) is now Nino's. No. Fuck me. It's Amore. And Nino's in Wrightsboro, that is also Amore. But they serve different pizza and they don't seem to share any sort of branding. But THIS REALLY ALL MAKES SENSE, TRUST ME. By the way, the pizza isn't similar as far as I remember except that it FUCKING SUCKS COMPARED TO THE ORIGINAL NINO'S of Wrightsboro.
Nino's of Wrightsboro
Already mentioned but just a special shoutout to the original Nino's in Wrightsboro. This was pizza made by people that gave a shit. It wasn't a gimmick shitstain. Long live Nino's. I don't know what happened to "Nino" but it must have been a conglomeration of horrific rapes because I can't even begin to understand someone who operates a respectable pizzeria and then goes on to blow goats in parking lots for jitneys.
Alas, poor Tony! What a bummer to see this one slip away. I only learned this via the illustrious Paul Stephen of the Star News. Apparently they closed in April. I wish they had consulted me I would have told them that the location is misplaced and too-large. What a great slice, though!
There you have it. A lot of deaths recently in the local pizza world. A few out there might blame a poor sap like me. In all fairness, though, I'm just the kindly-yet-bored gent who has nothing better to do than post sticky-notes on vending machines saying 'The fritos are 2 years out of date, eat at own risk.' Because, let's all be honest, pizza is a simple product and if you can't do it maybe it's okay that I verbalize it in the form of progressively more vulgar rooftops-shouts from the heights of The Internets?
Brooklyn Sal's Famous Pizza
Oh yeah, Sal's closed down too. Wow, that bullshit lasted approximately no time whatsoever. Now he is down in Carolina Beach trying to pawn his shitty 'famous' pizza off on the yokels. FUCK YOU SAL!
New ... content?
What is writer's block, really, besides the contempt for the old, the hatred of the current, and the lack of gumption to create anew? I've never been a writer but I have written a fair amount about pizza in the area. Largely my writings have been fueled by whiskeys, mostly bourbon. I don't drink much anymore and definitely not whiskey. I drink wine now, sometimes, and it's fucking terrible for writing. You tell me what happens after you chug a bottle of wine. It probably rhymes with god damn sex. Anyway, I'm sorry for not writing for like two thousand months.
Looks like a piece of horse shit, doesn't it? I have an unending love of Ellio's pizza, and I don't give a shit who knows. They've always had two varieties: cheese and shitty pepperoni. Truly, they've really named it Shitty Pepperoni. Because it's shitty. It's the worst pepperoni on any pizza frozen or otherwise. I've had dollar store pepperoni that's better.
Out of the shitbird blue they came out with a new 5-cheese variety. I'm immediately offended and intrigued.
Fuck the rest of the review it was basically their normal cheese pizza with a bit more flavor and extra spices and shit at the same price ($3 dollars on sale in my case; pictured is $1 worth).
I fucking loved it. I keep buying it. Fucking send help I love this shit.
Bye bye Nino's, Hello ...
I guess Nino's is dead. Super bummer. Amore has taken its place and I've been there three times since they opened. The photos pictured here are the ones from my first or second visit but the score and stuff are gonna be based off the third visit. If this doesn't make sense to you, I understand completely. So little makes any sense to me on any given day that I'm generally not sure if I need to shit or change religions.
Scratch that it was just a poop.
As I mentioned, I've been here three times during this review process. I had such a profound pizzasexual love of Nino's that I figured I should give their replacement a fair shake. And I think I have. I say that because the first two visits were fairly rubbish. The people, the service, etc etc were absolutely great. But the pizza was super mediocre. Maybe less than mediocre. It was this thin, floppy, dumb, pan-or-screen-cooked stuff that was bordering on raw on bottom. It was a bummer.
The above picture is not the one I reviewed (the third), it's the first or second. Generally speaking all three have looked pretty good and they're big slices coming in at $2.25. Probably the main flaw of the first two slices was that they weren't cooked enough. Now, a superbly-made pizza, made of the finest ingredients, will not give a shit if it has been cooked to the perfect done-ness. A baller-ass pizza tells you when it's done and if you disagree, it tells you too fuck off to Papa John's elongated rectal cavern carnival.
A mediocre pizza, screen-cooked, under-yeasted and sadly schlopped together is a different story. Such a pizza depends entirely on how well it is cooked, necessarily. All the components are brought together and the only thing left is the heat. You fuck that up and you have a shit pizza. On the other hand if you cook it properly you have a pretty good slice, despite its structural inadequacies (that's what she said).
The third time was the charm at Amore because the slice was pretty fucking tasty. If they cooked their pizzas on-deck and maybe fiddled with their dough formulation slightly, they would be a real god damn serious contender and a worthy successor to the late Nino's. The cheese was good and greasy. The sauce, at least on the last visit, was pretty damn good.
I do, however, think that their takeover of Nino's urbanspoon page is disingenuous to the point of super jerkiness.
3 1/2 recircs out of a possible 8 recircs (lower is better)Amore on Market - $2.25
2535 Castle Hayne Wilmington, NC 28401
Ze old is new again
For some reason people feel the need to take over failing pizzerias and make new ones in the same location. I could give examples. I could try to explain their reasoning. But I can't. I just don't fucking get it. Do they think their product is so much better? "HOT PIZZA"? Oh man. "PIZZA BY THE SLICE!"? FUCK ARE YOU SERIOUS, I CAN GET THAT?
Wait, I think I got over-enthused for a moment. I'm gonna pour a shot and chillax for a minute and catch you on the flipside.
I acquired this slice for $2.14 after tax. A fairly large slice for the price, so no complaints there. No complaints with the service either, as the guy serving up the slice was relatively genial and he handed me a slice of pizza which is what is supposed to occur. Immediately the slice seemed a bit overdone but that doesn't generally concern me. Some burnt cheese bubbles or a charred crust are not definitively negative factors in my book.
In total the experience was mediocre. I was unimpressed by the cheese. It was neither bad nor good. The sauce was underapplied to the extent that I can't rate it. The crust was fairly good, I thought, yet it was either cooked on a pan or in a weirdo oven. It tasted good but it had a fairly garbage texture. If you've never had enough dicks in your ass to consider the texture of pizza crust, this critique is without merit so please carry on.
I'd describe the bottom of the crust as a smoothskin.
Overall I thought it was just an extremely mediocre affair. If you require pizza in the area I'm not immediately sure if there's a better choice (Amore is surely better than Elizabeth's). As I was eating my slice I immediately wished that I was at the Chinese place next door. I don't care how many rats are in my chow mein. Shit's better than mediocre pizza.
Don't blame me.
4 recircs out of a possible 8 recircs (lower is better)Amore on Market - $2.14
3926 Market St Wilmington, NC 28409