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
Below is a review I wrote a while back. I was hoping things would improve and I could burn this review but all the critiques hold true so fuck it here goes.
Third time's not the charm
It be nights like this when I hate captaining this pizza cruise. Actually, this tangled mess of drunken prose is less like a cruise ship or a pirate ship and more like a Navy destroyer. I don't want it to be a fucking destroyer. I really do have the best of intentions, like Lennie Small. Then my overwhelming power of critical cynicism just starts fucking shit up. I can't help it.
I was looking forward to Nino's new location. A lot. I loved the old Nino's location; the only problem being that it was in bumfuck Wrightsboro on the way to Castle Hayne (which is basically the moon as far as I'm concerned). This new location is quite close to where I live.
I'd heard mixed tales of how this store relates to the other; calling the Wrightsboro store as recently as a week or two ago got responses ranging from "Uh, you should probably call them," to, "Uh. They are different owners." I also heard that the old store was closing and this one was just the new location being opened by the former owners. Fuck if I know. Most likely scenario is the owners of this new place sold the old place some time ago, and then decided to try to buttfuck all the butts by opening a new shop with the same fucking name; basically, I just don't fucking know (or care).What I do know is that I logically assumed the pizza would be really good - so I ordered a whole fucking pie (plus another slice for an extra two bits during their grand opening promotional period).
I was fairly goddamn suspicious right off the bat. Immediately the crust stood out as a fraud, and so it was. More on that later. Biting into this thing elicited a most puzzled look on my face. Something was amiss, but what was it? My first guess was the usual suspect: the cheese. After eating the components individually (you should see this process, it's absurd), I became fairly confident that there is indeed trouble in Cheeseville. Additionally, the sauce was probably overcooked and a bit too pasty but overall it was okay. Almost good, maybe.
The cheese, however, tasted mostly of stupidity. I don't know what it was - either it's crummy quality - a weird cheese blend - or part-skim. It just doesn't fucking taste right. The cheese-sauce-crust ratio was pretty good, though. If the cheese were better, the slice would have been saved, in spite of the lackluster crust.
This looks much more fucked than it really was. It probably wasn't as burnt as the picture would seem to indicate. For example, my thumbail looks dirty as hell and it surely is not, though I should clip my nails. I took the picture because it shows that this pie was cooked on a screen (or at least that's what it fucking looks like to me). As a result of that, in combination with dough formula issues (I'd wager), the dough is overcooked on the bottom while remaining flimsy, lifeless, chewy and crunchless overall. And the while the bottom was overcooked, the top was undercooked.
Why the fuck are these guys using screens on large NY-style pies? Did they do this shit at the old location and I was too stupid to notice? This pizza seems completely different from the old place.
I also thought the dough probably had too much oil in it and tasted a bit yeasty and doughy which I guess is a weird critique to give something made of a yeast dough.
Don't call me a banana farmer.
5 recircs out of a possible 8 recircs (lower is better)$1.95 + taxicles 5500 N. Market St, Wilmington, NC 28405
It's been over a month since I wrote the above review. Despite assurances to the contrary from one of the owners, this place is still serving up weird-tasting pizza. You gotta go here and try it I guess, because I really don't know what's going on, nor how to accurately describe this shit. On my most recent visit the dough was marginally better (still screen-cooked), the sauce might have been a little better, but the cheese and the overall flavor was just fucking wonky. WHAT KIND OF FUCKED UP MOON CHEESE ARE YOU NERDS USING?
Another one bites the dust. That's right, another shitty pizzeria has closed its shitty doors. This time we mourn the passing of a long-time blight on the Wilmington pizza scene: Gumby's. Fans of this place were always hard to find, but they did exist, and they were without exception complete dummies. Gumby's should have been called Garbagetown USA. I don't know what I was thinking when I gave it a 6-recirc rating - I guess I was extra drunk when I wrote that review.
Anyway, good riddance to them.
In their place there is signage for a place called Brooklyn Sal's Pizza (or some shit), along with the nebulous words, 'coming soon.' I can only imagine that Gumby's owner was tired of his shitty pizza's shitty reputation and decided to basically steal the name of Wilmington's best pizzeria (Brooklyn Pizza) in hope of getting more than one customer a fucking year. If this is the case, I wish 'Sal' the best of luck. Oh wait, no I don't - he can eat a bag of fuck.
But maybe it will be a legitimate new pizzeria. Seems unlikely, though.
Soon I will be posting a review of the new Nino's spot, which is in a weird location across from the College/Market booze emporium. I've been going to Nino's now and then since their opening, three times in total. I've probably spent more than $20 in total. The first visit was a real let down. I bought a whole pie, since I figured it would be on par with the old Nino's location. It wasn't. The second time around was no better. Having recently finished my third try, I guess a review is in order. You'll have to wait and see if they have redeemed themselves. I know, the suspense, it kills
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.