Wilmington Pizza Insulting the stretch of pavement and stripmalls you call home


Fat Tony’s Italian Pub

Posted by pete

Like average cancer. You're still scared of it but it could be worse

As this is my first review I feel like it must be particularly excellent. Sadly, it won't be. I knew I was venturing to downtown Wilmington tonight, and that opened up the opportunity for my first review. Downtown is not exactly rife with pizzerias but there are some, namely: I <3 NY Pizza, Slice of Life,  Fat Tony's and Princess Pizza. There may be more - but not to my knowledge, you jerk.

The predicament is that I've eaten at all of these places before, and one of them I consider to be the best of Wilmington, yet I also must pretend to be unbiased. I'll review that place some time later, but it rhymes with I <3 NY Pizza. Tonight, though, it boiled down to a matter of simple economics: Who has the best deal? As it happens, monetarily, Fat Tony's seemed to be the winner. Their Tuesday deal includes two cheese slices and a draft pint of your choice for $7.00 plus tax. The tax is relevant because the two real pizzerias downtown include the tax with the cost of a slice. Fat Tony's and Slice are not real pizzerias; they are god damn terrible places aspiring to be national pseudo-something chains, no offense.

I was going downtown to watch my friends play competitive Skee Ball. On the one hand I'm particularly offended by everything I just said. On the other, it was a really great time. In any case, Fat Tony's got the nod ahead of the front runner (Princess because I have a coupon) due to their abundance of  alcoholic taps and my preeminent need to pregame. That said, with their large number of draft beers I was hoping for a slightly better selection, because I'm needy like that. I ended up asking about the Black Radish which is a fairly local beer coming from the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Upon a strong recommendation I tried it and was immediately pleased but then let down by a lack of  any vague concept of depth or aftertaste. Not to diverge too much into a beer review, the Black Radish was unimpressive in the not-so-long run; I also got the distinct impression that its keg was not properly carbonated. So now I'm talking shit about a mis-carbonated beer. My bad. The front side of the beer was delicious, I know that.

Onto the pizza. I was expecting the least. I've been  here a few times before and been very underwhelmed by the pizza. Those times had all been matters of desperation and a general overcrowding. Tonight was my first experience with Fat Tony's pizza while Wilmington is approximately freezing. The pizza was good, I was shocked to find. The size of the slice was average if not perhaps slightly small. If you're in the slice market on your average day it cannot be recommended, though: a cheese slice is, I think, $2.25, on a given day. Walk across the street to I <3 NY and the slice is bigger, better and cheaper - the toppings too are cheaper.

That said, on a Tuesday, you would be well served to go to Fat Tony's if you are a lover of well-made beer and decent pizza - something you honestly can't find around these parts (sorry Slice). The pizza itself - and I guess that's the point of this review - is good. I'd gladly spend 4 dollars on some of the higher-end drafts at Fat Tony's. Thinking of the beer as costing $4 that puts the slices at $1.50 each, which is below anything you can find in this area, and the slices are good. Now we come to the important part of the review, which I joyously hide beneath reams of unimportant text.

For the most part, the crust was pretty good. It was thin enough to be enjoyable, yet thick enough to be foldable - which in those terms ranks it among the top two of the downtown pizza scene (I <3 NY and Fat Tony's). The sauce was passable. One slice was okay and the other was under-sauced; the sauce itself was not pasty and disgusting; it was fairly light and seemed to have some tomato chunks - the sauce was okay. The cheese was surprisingly good. It was not far off from what you would find at a fairly good street pizzeria in NYC, and in this town that is saying something. I guarantee Fat Tony's has changed their cheese within the past couple years because this is a vast improvement from what I've experienced before.

There is only really one main complaint with a Fat Tony's slice and that is the rim of the crust. Besides the rim, the crust was largely without fault. Even the fact that it appeared to be cooked on a screen or something somehow didn't detract too much from the slices. The pizza was well done in basically all respects - until you get to the rim of the crust. Novice pizza makers the world over assume that you need to artificially embiggen (yes I said it) the rim of the pizza crust. This is, though logical, a fallacy. A properly made pizza crust rim will puff on its own due to a lack of weight from the sauce and cheese. Fat Tony's, it would appear, attempts to artificially enlarge the rim. This leads to a large, doughy, undercooked rim. It's a shame, but when you realize that it's really the only glaring fault from an eatery that more closely resembles a chain American-Italian restaurant than a pizzeria, maybe we can give them a pass, and an honest thumbs up?

Oh, and if you are one of he people who doesn't care about pizza crusts and just throws them away, I hate you.


4 recircs out of a possible 8 recircs (lower is better)
Fat Tony's Italian Pub  - $2.25
131 North Front Street, Wilmington, NC 28401

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