Sometimes it’s fun to play restaurant hunter. If I’m driving around and hunger strikes, I’ve become prone to just pop in to some place I’ve never heard of, or a restaurant of which I have a totally uneducated opinion. When this happens, I’m usually riding around by myself, so I don’t feel too bad about subjecting my friends to what could be a disastrous meal.
So the other day when I was getting my oil changed and tires rotated (what a good car owner I am!), I stepped out to the front of their parking lot and surveyed my options. Within eyeshot I could see an Arby’s, a Taco Bell, a Subway, and Via Elisa. Success! Via Elisa features one type of panini sandwich each day, so I wandered over to their entrance on the side of their building…only to find out that they are closed Monday’s.
I looked a bit more and noticed Mama Niki’s Pizza, which I had seen before, but never given more than a passing thought. I’m pretty sure this location used to be a Burrito Art almost ten years ago, though I’m not sure. But I pass this shopping center on almost a daily basis, and I love pizza, and I’m unsure why I never even considered giving them a try, not even during the Pizza Days.
I decided to be adventurous, looked them up on my phone, called and ordered a slice of cheese and a slice of pepperoni to go, then made the 5 minute walk across the street from the Jiffy Lube. The place was totally empty, except for one single patron in a booth, who was casually reading emails on his blackberry, unaware that I was eyeing his pie. Looked decent enough.
My pizza wasn’t quite ready, so while I waited I scanned the place and noticed a sign that announced that Tuesday’s they have trivia and offer pitchers for $1, with a limit of two pitchers per table of four people. What kind of beer? Well, I asked, and it’s Keystone. College.
The pizza wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either. Though I was hungry for pizza, and it satisfied. The dough was thin and light, with some airiness so the endcrust, with a light dusting of parmesan that made every bite of crust enjoyable. No “dough-blow” here. The problem is with the cheese, pepperoni, and sauce – they were of poor quality. They were just inexpensive ingredients, which probably has to do with the fact that no one was in there at lunch time. The bread showed promise though – I wonder if this place could do make some above average pie under the right circumstances?
The lunch actually inspired me to hop back on the pizza series, though under a different format. The ratings last time were a joke, as was the blind tasting. Trying to reheat pizza and have it judged blindly isn’t really going to help those of you actually dining on a fresh, hot pizza. But there are tons of places I couldn’t make it to the first time, and I think I’m ready to dig in. There are also a few places I haven’t been to in forever that deserve another visit, and perhaps a few from the first go round that I need to revisit. Fritti and Rosa’s are high on the revisit list.
Pizza places on my list include: Vingenzo’s, Verra-Zanno, Savage, Fritti, Rosa’s, Quattro, Loop Pizza Grill, Grant Central, Baraonda, Pero’s, and Buckhead Pizza Co. Anyone else have any recommendations?
I’m not going to set any time constraints like I did last time, but will hopefully post one to two per week.