[ed. note: this review is from my cohort at liquorlunch.com.]
Someone at my job organized a group trip to grab a slice for lunch and this place was the recipient of our ill-earned corporate money. When I first heard this place opened up I was stoked if only for the fact that it served beer and I could now forgo pregaming when Christmas shopping. Ask Pete to tell you about his Christmas shopping shenanigans [ed. note: don't]. Now that's a great story! This is just a mediocre review, and probably not worth the space on his site, but he forced me into it so here we are.
I arrived at the pizzeria (technically) and spent no less than 20 minutes waiting for two slices of cheese pizza. Let me say that again, in case you thought it was a typo. I spent TWENTY MINUTES in a PIZZA SHOP in a MALL waiting for TWO SLICES OF CHEESE PIZZA at LUNCH TIME. Now you may be thinking "Hey, don't they have those pre made?" Why yes the fuck they did, but the Jersey Shore reject in charge of reheating my slices thinks this process should be raised to an artform. A very slow, painfully inefficient artform. I can only hope that the kid was high and it was his first day. He was literally taking each individual ticket and slowly making each slice to order.
A "completely unexpected" rush at noon was enough to turn less than ten customers in line into bona fide full-stop gridlock. Being that I have an hour for lunch, my time is fucking precious and I was more than pissed at this turn of events, no less so since I've worked at both corporate and local pizza joints and this would not have been acceptable at either. I wanted to jump back there and show the kid how it was done, honestly. However, being the semi-adult I am, I brooded at a nearby table until my order was called. At that point I was presented with this:
I have to say, I didn't hold out much hope when I saw how thin the points of the slices were, but shockingly there was a perfect amount of structural integrity. It held up to the pizza-fold test without being overly crusty and burnt. Maybe it was the lack of booze; maybe it was the wait but this pizza was on point. Better than I've had at the other Slice locations. And this one has beer in the mall! The grease was that level of drip that suits itself perfectly to crust dipping. The cheese and sauce were more than passable. I have to say, these slices were the type that should be standard but all too sadly aren't in our world. The type of slice that is good because it is exactly what you expect of NY pies, and I admit bias when I say I didn't expect it from this place, especially after my shitty service. This is the slice you think of when you think of NY style pizza. The perfect sum of its parts and maybe a little extra.
I have to take a moment to mention how monumentally retarded their menu is, which I had plenty of time to study while waiting for my slices. Why would they have pizzas and not calzones and stromboli? Who the fuck knows. They have every single item required and yet they are not on the menu. Who does that?! Then there is exactly one sub listed on the menu (meatball) but no other ones. Why bother having bread if you don't have other subs? And then they have tacos and quesadillas on the menu. Because when I think pizza, I think Mexican food.
The absolute best thing about their menu are the wings. They make sense on the surface, until you think about how many people want to eat a food that necessitates sticking your fingers in sauce before shopping. You know, that activity where you touch and try things before buying them? And the fact that wings are their only menu item requiring a fryer, meaning they have a whole entire commercial grade appliance for ONE FUCKING MENU ITEM. Why not at least add fries or mozzarella sticks or some other bullshit to the menu? The world may never know.
I give this place 3 recircs despite their retarded menu and awful service. I hope it wasn't a one-off. Don't make me look like an asshole, Slice: get your crew in order. Also streamline that goddamn menu.
3 recircs out of a possible 8 recircs (lower is better)
Slice of Life - $2.50 plus taxicles
3500 Oleander Dr., Wilmington, NC 28403
Fuck a goddamn duck. Why do people keep putting pizzerias in this location? Do they not know of the vengeful pizza curse that will inevitably buttfuck them? First you had Krazy, a goddamn institution of terribleness which closed down at least 49,000 years ago. Then Goodfellas comes along and I barely know what the fuck to say about that place. I gave them more chances than I should have, for personal reasons. They occasionally churned out really good pizzas, but only when they happened to be using quality ingredients (which was rarely). You have to use good products. It's pretty fucking simple.
Yes, I have heard the popular refrain that, "it's like pizza; even if it's bad it's still good." WELL FUCK YOU. Honestly, just fuck you. That's like Paula Deen saying that, "it's like butter, I'm a dumb fat shitty bitch." I don't want to fucking hear that shit. I just hate this concept of pizza being a bankrupt foodstuff which doesn't really matter and that drawing distinctions between pizzas makes me a faggot. No, what makes me a faggot is all the dick I suck, I'll have you know.
Along this line of thought, of how to define pizzas and how to suck dick, let me just say that Times Square is all fucking tooth in the blowjob arena and as far as pizzas go it's just a whole lotta fucking god damn I don't know what. But it's bad. And they air their pies out like dirty laundry. Health code violation, anyone?
I was looking forward to this place opening up since I live nearby, I went to Goodfellas a lot (to play PacMan) and I'm a reformed quasi-Rack'mite. The first sign of trouble was when I heard they were gonna cook their pizzas on some kind fancyfuck of a pan and not use flour ... just ... oil ... I'll have you know that I hate ellipses, but I really felt the need to belabor the point that I'm confused as fuck right now. Shit's weird, I'm scared and confused, I haven't even eaten happytime mushrooms in over a year, nothing makes sense, help me, I'm drowning in stupidity.
Also I'm drowning in bad, bad, bad, rubbery, low-fat, sad-as-fuck cheese. I'm drowning in sauce that tastes like it came straight out of a bad, bad, bad jar of generic 'pizza sauce.' And then there's the crust that is underdone, greasy, silly, full of what-the-fucks and man let's go back to the cheese for a second because it's fuckin' burnt too.
Fucking recap: Doughy, underdone crust cooked on a pan lined with grease. Very bad and very burnt cheese-like rubber atop a layer of jarred idiot sauce. Are you with me in standing up and saying 'THIS AGGRESSION WILL NOT STAND, DUDE"?
It reminds me of a trip to the food store the other day. This car was in the middle of the lanes, blocking me. I flipped this car off because the car was where it shouldn't be. The numbskull in the car didn't really like me flipping his car off so he waited for me at the front of the store and confronted me. I really just wanted to buy some yogurt so I tried to walk past him and he shoved me! I gave him a little charge and I guess he realized that a crazed 200-pound pile of who-knows-what might threaten his sixty-year-old bones so he backed away and said, "I better not see you around here again," (what is this the old fucking west?), to which I responded with a followup double-bird flipping and a crazy head-shake accompanied by a noise that sounded like this: "WHHAARRRLRRHHGGHHLEERRAHH."
What I'm trying to say is, and this is about to get existential: the old man and the Times Square slice are the same. They're self important and they're really bad at whatever they're trying to do. They're a dichotomy of boldness and weakness. They're like the baby that cries a lot only to be tossed unemotionally into the nearest bin.
Everyone, into the bin!
I have no more words.
6 recircs out of a possible 8 recircs (lower is better)Times Square Pizza - $2.50 + tax
417 South College Road, Wilmington, NC 28403
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
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
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
I liked the pizza this time so you can get off my back and jump up my butt
I got a lot of flak for giving Pizzetta's a mediocre review last time. Some time ago I journeyed back there again (with my mommy this time) and had some pasta dish that was really good. Considering the conflicting opinions of others regarding their pizza and my conflicting opinion of their other food, I decided to revisit Pizzettas. But I'm a lazy man, as you have surely come to realize.
The other day, I went to check out whether or not Sbarro had indeed closed down and turned into a place called SCOTTO PIZZA (no joke). It had not but this change is apparently forthcoming. Luckily they can not possibly do worse than the shit Sbarro was peddling last time I was feeling masochistic. So then I had to figure what to eat for lunch (no, fuck mallcourt food). Though Flaming Amy's was the obvious choice, I remembered my responsibility to my loyal readership (only briefly, mind you), and headed to Pizzetta's to get their $5.50+tax 2-slice-and-drink lunch special.
This time I decided to hedge my bets and get a regular slice and a Nonna's slice. Below is the regular slice:
This already looks a lot more promising than the vaguely-passable stuff I was served before - and it was. My only slight complaint would be that it was too sweet - the sauce mostly. Which is weird because last time I loved the sauce. Maybe the tomatoes were a bit sweeter than before, or they used too much sugar? I don't know. The sauce was still good. And I thought the cheese was better than before. At the very least it wasn't applied to the slice by a maniacal dump truck. The ratios were all quite right. The dough consistency was fairly good, but I kind of thought it also had a strange bit of sweetness.
The Nonna's slice was great:
I wasn't even planning on reviewing this because it looked weird. Then I had a few bites (in the span of approximately one second) and changed my mind. I then snapped that shitty picture you see above. I don't know if this goes for all Nonna's slices, but this thing was pretty big. And it was awesome. It had the same problem of the sauce being too sweet but fuck it, this shit was good. Did it look weird? Yes. Do you look weird? Probably. Live and let die. I killed this pizza.
I would offer a mea culpa for my previous review, but that would be ignoble. The other slice I had wasn't very good. It wasn't very bad, either. It had serious issues, though. Sometimes restaurants have off days - and therein lies the problem with most restaurant reviews. While I'm sure a lot of professionals will make multiple visits to a single establishment to ensure their opinion is scientifically sugarplums and rainbows, I don't have time for that bullshit. If I ate at every one of these places three times I would probably be fat enough to be on Medicaid. And then I wouldn't have mounting medical debt. Hey... hmmmm.
As an aside, sorry for the lack of updates recently. That's all you get. No excuses. Also, if anyone emailed me in the past two weeks, or sent messages via the Feedback thing, I probably didn't get it. I forgot to switch the mail stuff over to the new host because I'm a genius.
2 recircs out of a possible 8 recircs (lower is better)Pizzetta's Pizzeria - $2.43 4107 Oleander Drive, Wilmington, NC 28403