Gas Station Greasebomb
A sub shop attached to a gas station. Since this combo seems to work for numerous Subway locations I'll give this joint a chance. Taking over from Big D’s Philly Cheese on Gordon Road is On The Road Sub Shop. The reason they get a mention here is because they serve pizza as well as subs and for a buck fifty before tax I figured it was worth swinging by since I was in the area.
These guys hail from Olean, NY, which is sorta in between Canada and Pennsylvania rather than in New York. I've never been to Canada but the pizza in PA is fucking consistently garbage. It might be easy to assume On The Side will be serving up NY-style pizza, being they're sorta from New York. However, the further you get from NYC, the worse pizza gets. There is an oasis here and there which radiates quality pizza independently of the city, that's true. But Buffalo is not one of them and I'd wager that Olean isn't either.
Here we have the slice. For a buck-fifty, the size was good if not impressive. The crust didn't look too offensive, at first glance, but the cheese and sauce seemed reasonably nightmarish. The first bite sang one malevolent note to me: School Pizza. I don't know if that's a legitimate genre of pizza but we all know what it means. I don't even know if there are regional differences between school pizza; there probably are. The important, binding characteristics are the shoddiness and the charm. The school pizza I'm born out of is that of a pasty, heavy sauce; a greasy, tasteless cheese and a heavy, greasy crust as seen below:
My only assumption is that there is so much oil on the bottom of their pans that the dough sort of deep fries itself. The whole product is weird but not without its merits considering the nostalgia factor.
I keep trying to forget that this place is a couple minutes away from Brooklyn Pizza and remember that it's a gas station sandwich shop. On the one hand, if you are driving down I-40 and pull off onto Gordon Road to get some gas, this place might be a fucking godsend. Personally if I were on a road trip and the place I was getting my gas housed this place which sells cheesy saucy grease-bombs for $1.60 after tax I would jizz in my pants instantaneously. An excellent gas station find. On the flipside, if you live nearby, then buying pizza from here instead of from Brooklyn is the absolute apex of stupidity. Still, give it a whirl; the people seem nice. Maybe their other food is great.
Their pizza just isn't, unless you're looking for a trip down school pizza memory lane.
School pizza can hit the spot.
6 recircs out of a possible 8 recircs (lower is better)Times Square Pizza - $1.60
6648 Gordon Road, Wilmington, NC 28411
Great Space, Great Pizza, Great Price ... Leland
I love the layout of this place. It's small and quaint, kind of an upscale version of a traditional NYC street pizzeria. There's limited seating (only two 4-tops that I could see) and half the seating is a large bench along the right-side wall so you're probably going to be sitting sorta next to a random hobo. I like that. I love to pop a squo next to people at bars to make em nervous, ya see. I sidle up next to 'em and give 'em the eye, ya know. Like I'm sayin', "hey, old timer, I see ya. I do. And I wanna do ya." Then I lick my lips. Knocks 'em out every time.
They also have a few stools at a counter you can sit at. This is like a fucking Chef's table so sit here if you can - and if you don't have any friends - and if you want to watch your food get made. You get a bird's eye view of the entire kitchen operation. Which was pretty cool. I mean they were pretty slow so it was just a few middle-aged Italian-y looking guys getting orders ready, slinging pizza and doing busywork, but the ability to see your food being made in front of you is kind of nebulously invaluable. Especially if you've ever seen Waiting or Kitchen Nightmares.
As per my habit, I added crushed red pepper and oregano to my slice. So if you are a nancy who doesn't like spices or spiciness, do not be afraid of the above picture, dear lad. Size-wise, it's not a really big slice of pizza. It kind of reminds me of the slices you will get in-shop at Brooklyn. Also, like Brooklyn, this slice clocks in around two bucks which is a steal. As I think you can see from this picture, it was also made with some care. As I said, business was slow when I was there and they also employ the glass-display-case-of-pizza thing where pies are left out and then slices are re-fired as needed. Often, having display pies, it seems, means you are going to get pies made with some fucking integrity and love rather than some weird discs of cheese and terror, mashingly sliced up by some raging, coked-out, half-drunk and half-hungover cook in the back. I'm looking at you, Slice of Life.
The crust on this slice was alright. I'm not head-over-heals in love with it or anything but it was definitely above passable. Hell, it being properly-salted and crispy puts it above most local places. But it kind of struck me as tasting a little yeasty and all-purpose-floury. I'm grasping at straws here for something to complain about, don't mind me. The cheese was very good, whatever they used. Probably Grande, but fuck me I don't really know anything. Also, they used a lot of it. It might not seem like it from the picture, but they did. Often, as you may know, I rail against pizzerias for using too much cheese. But that is only when they use a lot of bad cheese. This was good cheese. It was fatty and greasy and lovely. The sauce was barely discernible, which is fine, if not perfect. You don't want sloppy sauce on a pizza. I'm looking at you, Avanti.
Overall it was a very well-balanced slice, and cheap. I know it's funnier when I'm blacked-out on a fifth of whiskey ranting about really terrible pizza (I'm looking at you, every one of you), but this pizza was pretty damn good.
Also, Falcone's, you guys need a website so I can link to it. Get in touch, I'd take partial payment in store credit. My brother's birthday is coming up in a month and this shit is real, I'm on a boat.
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
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
Coulda been much worse
I went to this goddamn establishment expecting not much at all. If you recall, I reviewed the original Mellow Mushroom location and didn't have too many good things to say. Recently I had to go to Lighthouse to get a Beer Fest ticket (since a $5 'convenience fee' infuriates me), and figured I'd subject myself to the horrors of Mellow Mushroom pizza again.
Tangent: What was with this year's Beer Fest location? $35 to drink beer in some shitty abandoned lot? Fuck you guys. Especially after last year's awesome Greenfield location. And yes, I do realize that certain regulations may have changed in relation to alcohol and public parks. Fuck you, too.
As it turns out, these slices were slightly more than marginally better than the shitdick bullshit you might be unlucky enough to find at the Oleander location. I found the cheese to be pretty good, and the sauce to be sort of decent. The crust was also okay. The rim was butter- and parmesan-encrusted as always, but in a far less offensive way that at the Oleander location.
Another interesting thing worth noting is that their prices are all fucky. Maybe I shouldn't even mention this but I was charged $2 for slices when they were listed for $3, and $2.50 for PBRs when they were listed for $3. My waitress also said 'have a good night' or something along those lines at least twice and it was fucking 11AM. But that's the sort of shit I can appreciate. Keep rocking those sunglasses indoors, stoner hippy chick, but remember: just cuz shit looks, like, you know, all dark and stuff, it like doesn't mean it's night time. She actually did a good waitressing job besides, though.
Also of note is that these slices are pretty fucking big. I couldn't even finish both and a beer. But then again, I am a shit-filled hosebag of less than questionable merit.
Pizza! At a Chinese buffet! Fuck everything about this! I love it!
Holy shit, a Chinese buffet reviewed on a pizza blog. Fuck you because this is history in the making and you probably don't even realize it. There is no reason for me to review this fucking shit but confronted with pizza at a Chinese buffet I felt a calling not unlike Kevin Costner tripping balls in a cornfield. Avert your gaze, mortals:
Well it was dogshit awful. I guess it's just frozen pizza. I wasted some of my vast, priceless, inordinately sexy stomach space on this trash. And I did it just for you. You don't have to thank me, but you probably should. Tasteless cheese, chewy underdone crust, possibly some sauce in there. I ate this thing so fast I don't even know what else to say about it.
The good news is that the rest of Hibachi Grill's food is really good for the most part. The mac and cheese sucks, though. And the boneless spare ribs suck. Pretty much everything else was awesome, particularly the Hong Kong chicken. And they have bottles of Sriracha for you to guzzle, which is quite satisfactory.
This place is cheap and awesome. The main problem is that they have no booze. Which makes no sense whatsoever. Booze is more profitable than food, and it fills you up to boot. Booze also happens to be the bee's knees.
Come for the pizza, stay for the Americanized Chinese food.
7.5 recircs out of a possible 8 recircs (lower is better)Hibachi Grill & Supreme Buffet - $6.59 + tax
356 S. College Road, Wilmington, NC 28403
There's hope for Leland yet
I fucking love this place. I'll cut to the chase and say that this is not the best pizza reviewed here. I love this place anyway. The space is real big and stupid, not resembling a pizzeria at all. I love this place anyway. There's a formality going on here which I fail to genuinely appreciate. I was hoping Tony's would go the traditional pizzeria route. I may have been praying, I don't know. I knew the space was too big for that purpose, having been to Antonio's in the past, but I still had hope.
The good news is that Tony's is not Antonio's. It's not some generic shit hole serving crappy slices in hell forever. It's a place that very likely serves totally decent Italian-American food that also offers pizza (slices, at that). It's basically a fucking dream. It's like someone shitcanned Antonio's and handed the location over to people that didn't suck dicks for a living. That's basically exactly what happened.
The bad news is that the slice I got wasn't quite what I was expecting. Truth be told I was expecting too much. According to PCF, this place is the result of some serious heavy hitters joining forces: I <3 NY joining forces with Luigi's. I've never eaten at Luigi's, all I know about it is that people said it used to be incredibly good and, according to a friend who worked there, Luigi was Mexican. Is that relevant? I hope not but that's for your racist ass to decide.
I got a fucking slice of pizza:
I sort of hate getting small slices of pizza. Only because I know that a larger slice of pizza doesn't cost the owners much more. We're talking about a matter of cents, or something. That said, this slice wasn't the smallest I've gotten and it was one of the cheapest. So fuck everything I just said. In fact, fuck this entire review.
There is one singular problem with this slice. The crust was far too dry. Overcooked or poor dough formula? I don't know and I'm sick of trying to figure this shit out from afar. Regardless, this was a great slice of pizza. The sauce was great. It was fucking great. The cheese was unassailable. Really the only problem was that the crust was exceptionally dry. It's kind of shocking considering how much regard I have for I <3 NY. Also the last time I went to I <3 NY, the crust was so far from dry that it was terrible. I went there recently and it was fucking sort of shit. Fucking pissed me off. But is wasn't dry.
Maybe I went here with too much expectation. Considering the people running this place I was expecting Tony's to trump all others I've reviewed. But that's kind of unreasonable. They're brand new. Still, they should understand their dough and oven well enough to prepare a better crust than this. Even so, it was quite good. Compared to the place that used to be here, Antonio's, Tony's is fucking light years beyond them. They don't even have any competition in Leland, so they're fucking set. The only thing that gives me pause is the large location and sit-down atmosphere.
Leland is a terrible place, slightly worse than Wilmington. I fucking hate it. If you are ever there I suggest you go to Tony's.
2 1/2 recircs out of a possible 8 recircs (lower is better)Tony's NY Pizza & Trattoria - $1.99
1107 New Point Blvd. Leland, NC 28451
The holy grail, or thereabouts
If nothing else, I Love NY Pizza certainly looks the part. Sexy motherfuckin place right here. I love it. One of my friends hates this place because the owner was rude to him. That's one of the reasons I love this place. Old Italian dude behind the counter hurrying you up even though there is nothing going on, no other customers, etc? That is the sign of a great NY-style pizzeria. I don't see that guy in here as much anymore but everyone here is cool and the pizza is awesome. Though my fridge was stuffed with Dominos my roommate drunkenly bought, I drove here for a couple slices. They didn't disappoint. Well, for the most part.
I was really expecting this slice to outclass Brooklyn Pizza Co, but it didn't. This was a great slice, though. Crust was delicious and crispy, as it always is here. These guys know the deal and actually undercook their slice pies so that when they reheat em, THEY'RE FUCKING PERFECT. Which is good. I went there once and just said gimme a slice of pizza, don't even heat it up. And it was undercooked. And it was all my fault. Lesson learned. Anyway the cheese was very good and the sauce was good. And the slice was pretty damn big. They cut em out of 19" pies, so there you go.
My brain keeps insisting I compare this slice to Brooklyn's. I've been arguing with my family for years saying that I <3 NY is better than Brooklyn. In a way this is true. NY is cheaper, bigger (by the slice and by the pie), has much better pies, and other shit I'm not thinking of now because I'm drunk on bacon-infused bourbon. But in terms of a slice of god damn cheese pizza, out of nowhere, Brooklyn wins. NY's slice just didn't have enough spice on it. It wasn't bland, but it didn't quite match Brooklyn's clusterfuck of deliciousness. As some vague display of impartiality, I cannot rate this as high as Brooklyn (or, as it were, as low, per the recirc grading system).
The other slice of pizza pictured above is their Roma Spinach slice. It's easily my favorite slice in town and a real steal for three bucks. It has spinach, Roma tomatoes, garlic, and feta on there, along with the mozzarella of course. Fucking awesome. They also have some shit called the Rio Rancho, which would be illegal to even describe. It will simultaneously blow your mind and your gut. Here is another thing I <3 NY must be commended on (Brooklyn should also receive honorable mention for this):
One time I saw a dude pick up an oregano shaker at Brooklyn, shove it down his pants, and walk out. Classy shit.
1 1/2 recircs out of a possible 8 recircs (lower is better)I Love NY Pizza - $2.00 28 N Front St Wilmington, NC 28401
Good pizza in Castle Hayne, what the shit
I've been to this place once before and the slice was alright, kind of mediocre. I decided to go back today because I was driving past it anyway, plus I got this strange card for Xmas called a Frank Card, which allegedly entitled me to a free slice of pizza from Nino's. Well when I got there it turns out you have to buy something to get that free slice. I didn't really give a shit because I was going to get something anyway, but normally I'd take a shit on the floor of such a shyster establishment. Regardless it would be a good deal though - 2 slices for $1.75? That's an even better deal than the shitty buck-slices in NYC.
The pizza was good. Here's a picture:
Let's start with the bad, because that's the most fun. It's got a big old burnt bubble on it! Either they cooked the pie too long to begin with or they cooked the slice too long on reheat. Either way, that's pretty shitty. It didn't bother me a ton, though. It's also a bit more greasy than a lot of places. That's a negative for most people but I'm totally down with a fairly greasy slice. My favorite pies from childhood were always pretty damn greasy. Finally to round out the negatives, this slice is a bit small in my estimation. However, for a buck seventy-five, you can't really complain too much. Come to think of it, it sort of looks like a plain slice of pizza from a Papa John's franchise with substandard Quality Control. And yet it was good!?
The cheese is good, the sauce is good, and the crust, though that rim doesn't look too good in the picture, is probably somewhere in that nebulous realm between good and great. Very thin, yet not floppy. Had a very nice crunch to it and it folded perfectly. The bottom was well cooked, unlike that mutant burn-bubble and the strange rim. I can't really talk shit about the rim because even though it looked a bit overdone, it was more or less what I'd consider the ideal NY texture. It also tasted very good. There was the right amount of salt there and the flour seemed like the high gluten you'd expect from this type of pizza.
The shop itself is pretty nice and quaint. I don't know anything about the history of Nino's but I'm guessing they made pizza in NY before moving down here. Their one fault in this regard, which is excusable when you live in redneck Castle Hayne, is that they're a bit too nice. And they're not even terribly nice by any local standard. It's just that I love pizzerias where the guy handing you your pizza looks as though he's really pissed off that he forgot to spit on your slice.
Thanks for the free slice, guys. It didn't have any effect on your recirc score (which woulda been better if the slice had been cooked less), I swear.
3 recircs out of a possible 8 recircs (lower is better)Nino's Pizza & Pasta - $1.75 2535 Castle Hayne Rd # A, Wilmington, NC 28401
I don't even know what's going on right now
Check it out, I hate this place. Before I continue I'll preface this by saying that I've been drunk since late morning. It's sort-of-holiday-time though so I will request leniency. Back to this terrible pizzeria. When this place opened up 2 or 3 or 9000 years ago, my first thought was, "Sweet, another pizza place downtown." I punch myself in the dick every day for thinking that.
The first time i went to this terrible establishment, my hopes were high. And then I saw that it was a super shit-town assface cheaply-made replica of I<3NY. You walk in there and you even see the same black dude with mega dreads that used to work at I<3NY, thats how much of a replica it is. Except the Italian/New York motherfuckers are now Middle Eastern or something. It's like you took a spaceship to bizarro-town and wound up in Fuckyouville. You don't get what you pay for and you're completely lost and no one is even trying to help you.
I don't even feel like describing this pizza, I hate this shit. They're actually not that far from making a decent pizza, that's the shitty kicker right there. I guess I will describe it and hate myself for doing so, since that's the point of this blog. Here's a picture to start with:
This is a terrible looking slice of pizza. I fucking hate to look at it and I hope you do too. First of all the top is burnt, there's no getting around that. In my worthless opinion, burnt cheese is turbo okay. Here, though, it can fuck right off. Also, usually, I love crust. But here the crust is huge. Like half the slice has no cheese and barely any sauce on it. I hate the person that made this pizza. These guys do no business and still lack the time to make a decent pizza. What's wrong with you guys? You suck.
The crust is stupid-thin at the front of this slice. Anyone that says that NY-style pizza can't be too thin can fuck right off. Conversely, the crust is overly-thick at the rear of the slice, and the whole fucking thing is underdone. Except the top, which is burnt. This is a slice of pizza where you know the jerkfish making it was just trying to fuck over everyone who might try it. This place should be called Sadist Pizza, I hate these guys and they can get lost. Every time I go here the pizza is shit. Who the fuck goes here besides me? Assholes, every one of them. Walk a block and spend eleven more cents at I<3NY.
By the way, the dude threw my slice into the oven for all of one minute before handing it to me on this plate. It was barely warm. I fucking hate you guys and I have no idea how you remain in business, sucking as hard as you do. Also, fuck your ice cream and pies and shit, you assholes.
All of my pity tips must be adding up at this place, sustaining it. I'm never going back, so they will soon perish. You're welcome.