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
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