Saturday, December 10, 2011

Taranto's Pizza, 1282 East Powell Road, Lewis Center (614)841-2345

Hype: Dave heard about this place somehow from somebody. Lewis Center is not the first place on anyone's list of weekend destinations, unless you like big malls and personalized license plates--but for some reason we really wanted to try this place out.

Scene: After driving through an entire zip code dominated by bush-league chain operations it felt nice to sit down in a solid family-owned business. We came in to see a couple of kids finishing up some pie with their dad and other nice stuff. Not exactly a cool vibe in there but very comfortable. I guess it dates back to before Lewis Center sucked. Rumor is that a giant cornfield was there.
Crust- Traditional Columbus style party thinz. This place was not trying to break the mold in any way, but they got it right. It was a little well done compared to some others we have had. This was a good thing, perhaps.
Sauce- Slightly sweet with barely a hint of Italian Seasoning. pretty good.
Cheese- Liberally applied and a little chewy. Mine kept coming off of the slice in one big sheet. Almost frustrating.
Peps- Nickel sized salty and somewhat curled up.

Overall- Not deviating one bit from the standard of the town this place did not disappoint or pleasantly surprise. It delivered a solid go-to pie for a reasonable price. If I lived up there, and I don't, luckily, I would get this pizza early and often. A good 3--5 pies.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Anthony's Pizza, 602 Pleasant Ridge Avenue, Columbus, OH (614)-231-6628

Hype: Dave had been itching to try this place out for a while. A lot of people say it rivals the other Bexley pizza powerhouse, Rubino's. We've been getting burnt a lot too, lately, out in Hilliard so a more promising pie was just what the Dr. ordered.

Scene: This is a very small place. It's right off main by Capital U. and the Bexley Library. One or two outdoor tables and a few more inside. An older guy running the show. All signs pointed to good pizza.
The Pie:
Crust- Hand tossed with a nice crunchy outside and airy inside. A good handle to grab while you dominate each slice. I would have liked about two or three more minutes in the oven because it was just a little pale. I like mine a little more brown. Still, it was very good. Cut in to pie slices rather than party strips.
Sauce- Subtle and nice. Basil and garlic, but not overpowering.
Cheese- Not heavily applied. More in the center and fading to the edges, intentionally. I liked it.
Peps- Very good, spicy, salty. Cupped for his pleasure.

Overall: This is a class act shop. No pretense in the shop yet it served up some fancy pie. Good prices too. A solid 4--5.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Flyers Pizza (5466 Roberts Rd. Hilliard, OH) 614-529-0123

Hype: Our friend Sam is from the west side. He said this was a reliable "go to" pizza place. It has been a rough couple of trips to Hilliard. There has to be a good pizza in this town. We went by Sparano's on Hague Ave., but it is technically in San Margarita, not Hilliard. Bummer: it looked awesome. So, instead of what looked to be some supreme slice, we drove north in to the suburb to end all suburbs.

Scene: Had more of a chain vibe than we expected. Lots of High School-aged kids working in an assembly line. A college-aged dude with AJ Hawk hair and a cut up chin took our order and looked confused the whole time. We sat at the only table in the place and watched about a hundred customers come in and out to pick up their orders. I would not recommend eating in. They had one of those pizza towers on our table but no metal trays to set on it. Oh well. The boxes were nicely decorated.

The Pie:
Crust- Columbus thin. Nicely crispy, but nothing to write home about. Party strips made it perfectly edible.
Sauce- Sweet and somewhat flavorful.
Cheese- I question its authenticity. Very bland and not of the quality we would find at a superior shop. Here is where they were exposed.
Peps- Not terribly flavorful. Definitely lacked spice.

Overall: So far this is the best we have found in Hilliard. If you find yourself there, desperate, starving. This would be a fine place to get a pie. Only under those circumstances would I choose this place. Not bad, in any way. In fact it was an ok pizza. 3--5 pies. Our quest continues, but perhaps we need a break. Help: know of a really good Hilliard pizza?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Luigi's Pizza (5370 Cemetary Rd. Hlliard, OH)

Hype: We got burned last visit to Hillard so we thought we'd give it another try. A lot of people told us that this was one of the go to places in town, so how bad could it be? Plus we watched Ohio State's weak offense against Mich. State all afternoon...needed a good pizza pick-me-up.

Scene: Clearly family owned. While it was a bummer to drive past the never-ending Cemetery Rd. strip mall, once we got there we found a few posters on the wall, a Ms. Pac-Man machine, and every worker looked related-- good signs.

The Pie:
Crust- Very thin, but boring. This is such a standard path to take in Columbus, how can you get it wrong? Well, they found a way.
Sauce- I tasted lots of oregano, but it was not enough to prevent us from applying tons of red pepper flakes.
Cheese- Flavorless.
Peps- Boring.

Overall: boring. There must be some mistake. People have been hyping this place to us for over a year. Is this mediocrity the norm in Hilliard? I doubt it. The good people of Hilliard like affordable housing, football, and Starliner Diner (quality stuff). Although, they also like the Blue Jackets, long commutes, and Cheeseburger in Paradise: whoah. Our quest is not over. We think Hilliard has a pizza story to tell. There must be something to this no-nonsense town and we will find it. 2.5--5 pies, perfectly mediocre.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Pizza Cottage, Newark, OH (969 Mt. Vernon Rd)

Hype: I'll be real honest. We totally went to Plaza Pizza first but it they are closed on Sundays--family folk and all. This Newark location of the Cottage is really close so we just went down the road a few blocks and they were open. We were bummed about not getting Plaza Pizza since we hardly ever make it back to Newark.

Scene: It is a large place with a huge outdoor eating space. It was a little rainy so we ate inside. OSU stuff mixed NASCAR on the walls. They also have tons of TV's just in case ya need 'em. Lot's of extended families at the large tables. Very family-friendly atmosphere--with beer.

The Pie:
Crust- This is a very classic Central Ohio thin crust. Party strips hold up well but since the it was so well done it might even hold up in a slice format. Nice work.
Sauce- Again, the classic sweet sauce with lots of dried Italian Seasoning. I like this style.
Cheese- A little bland, but well-applied and in no way bad.
Peps- Salty-spicy and generously applied. Cupped with some not cupped. Good.

Overall: This was not a mind blowing pizza experience but that should not minimize what Pizza Cottage does. They have a nice place with room for lots of families to get together around a good solid pie. Everything about it was solid, and traditional Central Ohio Pizza. A good option if Plaza is closed. 4--5 Pies!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Element Pizza (3rd & Chestnut St., Downtown)

Hype: A couple people mentioned this place as having some good crust. We sure got burnt last time at Cottage Inn and we needed some redemption pie, so hopefully this place pulls through.

Scene: Element just opened I guess so the minimalist decor made sense. It's in an old bar so hopefully the put the space to good use some day with beers and the like. Not a lot to say here. We were pleased to see a lack of pretense and high prices- as is the case with other downtown area pizza shops.

Crust- Lived up to the hype. Very, Very good crust. Very crusty on the outside with a doughy, airy interior. See above. Perfectly done, perhaps best in town.
Sauce- Sweet and good, but a little lacking in volume next to the crust and peps.
Cheese- Again, it was good, but a little out of balance. We understand that this is an artisan, fancy pie, but balance is the key to life. Rotolo's uses too much, these guys use too little.
Peps- Nice peps. Salty, spicy, and I guess locally made. We really liked em. They do overpower some of the other ingredients though.

Overall: Powerful peps, strong crust, and nice sauce. Very good pizza. They just opened so you sure won't find $6 drafts of microbrews and dudes in American Apparel tank tops...yet. Hopefully they keep the good thing going-- they have the potential to be awesome. Solid 4--5. This place would beat Yellow Brick in a stare down.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Cottage Inn (Cemetary Road, Hilliard, OH)

Hype: A couple of people sent e-mails in the past few months talking this joint up. I also had a co-worker or two mention it. We were in the mood for a good pie so we thought we'd give Hilliard a chance.
**NOTE-- We did not yet know that this is a chain from Michigan or that this pizza sucks.

Scene: Cottage Inn sits in a strip mall attached to a supermarket, which is usually a good sign, so we were off to a good start. Once we got inside things went down hill fast. Some kid was asleep in one of the booths. A bunch of teenage suburban rejects, one of whom has a Wu-Tang neck-tat was smoking in the doorway, were working there. Had the tat been Juggalo/ICP related I would have been happy (always good in pizza shops), but Wu-Tang: no. We smelled crappy chain right away, but for some reason kept hope alive. Another hint we didn't take was that it was 70 degrees in there. Good pizza shops (Gattos, for example) are usually hotter than the Amazon Jungle in summer. I almost passed out picking up a good pie from there just last week. Deep dish pictures and Italian scenes painted on walls looked very nice though.

Crust- Airy and doughy at the same time while being flavorless. If it were good we would have liked the thickness but it sucked.
Sauce- Straight from the can. Tomato-flavored.
Cheese- It was there, but I could not taste it.
Peps- Very ordinary. Very bland. Very mediocre.

Overall: We discussed many questions while eating this pizza:
1) Why would anyone come here?---We don't know.
2) Is this worse than Pizza Hut?---Yes, much worse.
3) Little Caesars?--- Possibly. We refuse to eat LC's so we can never answer this question with confidence.
4) Would we rather eat a Red Baron Pizza at home?---Absolutely. Even if we lived right next to this place we would prefer going next door to the supermarket and just cooking our own Red Baron. It was like when Hungry Howies opened up at the top of the hill. We wanted it to be good, but it just wasn't. This place is absolutely bogus.
5) Is that sleeping kid high, related to one of the workers, or just sleeping here for no reason?

In conclusion, we hear a lot about Luigi's in Hilliard, so we'll do it next time -even without knowing anything about it, I guarantee it beats the hell out of Cottage Inn. This is probably the worst pizza in Hilliard OH. 2--5 pies.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Tristano's Pizzaria (3306 Columbus St. Grove City, OH)

Hype: People have been talking all kinds of hype about Grove City lately...well at least the pizzas they make. I think we've had three or four people mention it to us in the past month or two so we thought it would be worth the trip.

Scene: The shop was on a pretty major looking street of mixed residential and commercial spaces. Tristano's is in an old house (like Newark, OH's Plaza Pizza) and it has a really nice patio space in the front. Some people were having a cornhole tournament while we were there. I had a good feeling about this. We ordered one extra large thin and one small Chicago style because we don't really know much about Chicago style pizza. I still haven't decided if it is really pizza or just pizza-themed casserole or something like that--so much cheese--overkill.
The Pie: (The thin crust on the right, not that big monster, which was good, on the left)
Crust- very crispy and very thin. Browned perfectly so that it did not submit to the abundant toppings above.
Sauce- traditional Ohio style. Not too fancy but slightly sweet with well-applied Italian seasoning.
Cheese- moderately applied, quality cheese. Not too heavy but in no way lacking.
Peps- cupped and crisp when on top, soft on the bottom. Abundantly applied but not overkill. Very well done here. Pretty spicy too.
Overall: We had the freshly brewed iced tea because of the drive but I must say they like good beers at this place too. We were impressed by all aspects of this shop. Good environment for a beer and many slices. Solid pies--both thin and thick. If I lived in Grove City, I would go here all the time. A strong 4-5 pies!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Carsonie's Stromboli & Pizza (W. Lane Ave, Upper Arlington, OH)

Hype: Jim and Sean Wright go to the Westerville location once in a while and always have good things to say. We were hyped up about the NBA Finals and wanted some good pizza.

Scene: It's got two parts. We first went in to the bar/restaurant side and didn't get a good vibe. Not a pizza pick-up place at all. A few middle-aged people having dinner with their kids. The nice lady at the door said we belonged in the rear building. She was right. We went in there and knew we were in the right place. Tennagers and a few lifers working numerous pizza ovens. Local sports team posters on the wall. OK.

The Pie:
Crust- Thick and bready. Way too much garlic butter. We don't know if they put it in the crust or on top of the pie, but it was over the top garlic. If you could get past the garlic it was good though.
Sauce- It was there. I know because I had to look. I couldn't taste it though.
Cheese- Tons of it. I had cheese poisoning. But it was really good, so I shouldn't complain.
Peps- I don't really know. They were not abundant and they were overpowered by all that garlic, so it is difficult to say.

Overall: Jim said it was nothing like the Westerville operation. It would have been pretty good had it not been for all the garlic. If you like garlic and cheese (and little else) maybe this is your shop. I prefer a more balanced pie. 3--5 Pies. With heavyweights Rotolo's, Tommy's, Iacano's, and Sparano's in the neighborhood I could not justify getting this pie unless serious changes are made. I hear the Stromboli is way better than the pizza.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Pizza Mart 5413 Sinclair Rd. Columbus, OH (614) 888-5575

Hype: Somebody told us that this place was pretty good and it got us thinking. It has to be good if it can stay open across the street from Columbus Pizza Icon, Pizza House, for so long, right? We also wanted to go somewhere we thought would be good since our last outing was not so great.

Scene: Two tables, a couple of refrigerators, and two older dudes gave this place a nice feel. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention the three cats outside guarding the parking lot. It felt like I was back in Newark.

The Pie:
Crust: Thin. Not the thinnest in town but close. A few air bubble despite the flakiness. Well done.
Sauce: It reminded us a little of Hound Dog's spicy sauce, but not exactly. Perhaps the highlight of the pie.
Cheese: Not overwhelming, but still good. Nothing stood out here.
Peps: Tons of peps. The top ones were toasted the bottom still oily and delicious. Just look at that beauty!

Overall: Pizza Mart might be the perfect example of a Columbus thin-style pie. While it does not break from the thin-crust mold in any way, it might be the top of the heap in this category. Our jury was split 50/50 on whether or not we liked this place, or their better-known neighbor better. We could all agree that it might be the best pizza value in town. Good stuff; a strong 4/5 pies!!!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mikie's Late Night Slice (15 E Duncan St. North Campus, Columbus)

Hype: This address has been a pizza place since forever and it never seems to be very good. Mikie's Late Night (same as in short north, I think) moved in because they have a knack for finding idiot proof locations. We were partying up the street and decided to drop by.

Scene: We tried to get a beer at Ledo's to build up our appetite and get in to character, but they wanted a dollar at the door for some reason: guess not. Oh well. So we went over to the pizza shop. They had just finished putting in some nice wood-looking floors to spruce up the place. It looks and smells very Cleveland. They guys are from there and it shows: I think in a good way. If I had come over from a long tour of duty at Ledo's it would have been even better. Everything was painted black. A couple of stools to sit on while you wait.

The Pie:
Crust- Garlic butter basted thick airy edges with semi floppy, but still somewhat firm support for all that cheese and sauce.
Sauce- Sweet but kinda bland. Nothing bad, but nothing to write home about either.
Cheese- Lots of it. Again, just ok.
Peps- Reminded me of Houddog's up the street. Kinda thin and greasy. Not enough spice. The reason they have banana peppers on the "Spicy Ass Pepperoni" is because their peps are weak. Gimmick Pizza.

Overall: If you are wasted on North Campus at 3:45 they are open. It is not that bad, just not too good. I don't know what ANONYMOUS was so excited about. Yes, it is your best drunk food option for a two or three block radius, but that is the only reason I would return. Not something to plan out or look forward to. That said, the guys seem pretty alright and they seem to understand bar economics-- it doesn't have to be all that good. A strong 3--5. There are nights I would have given it 8--5 under strange circumstances.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Bono Pizza (1717 Northwest Blvd, Columbus, 614-906-8646)

Hype: We were pumped up about this one. Some friends said a few good things about it and a few people wrote to recommend it. High expectations, lots of mystery!

Scene: This is not what we expected. So you walk in to the beverage carry out and look left. I think it used to by a "Coney Island". Remember? They turned it in to a nice little faux Italian kitchen that just serves pizza I guess. It was really small and really crowded with very nice people: a couple Australians, a family, and an Asian guy with two big cans of Coors in front of him he brought in from the carry out next door. We talked about just getting it pick-up but some nice people were finishing up and offered us their table for two. Three of our four sat down at the table. I asked the lady working if she had an extra chair and she obliged--this made it really tight but everyone was kool about it. The placed ruled! Jim went to the carry out (which happened to be right through the sliding steel security gate) to pick up a sixer of a favorite beer. Things were getting even better. By the way: everyone was partying in there. It was like a paradise: a Pizza Speakeasy!

The Pie:
Crust- Laid back, not fully round, airy, soft underbelly due to all the sauce (see below) and crispy edges.
Sauce- Very nice. Herby, especially with all the basil. If you don't like basil you will not like this pizza. We all really liked it. Perhaps the highlight of the pie.
Cheese- Mixture of fresh mozza, asiago, and others. unevenly distributed, and heavy in spots. Very tasty.
Peps- Moderately spicy, yet very flavorful. Plenty of them and also unevenly applied. Also good.

Overall: This place ruled. We washed down the pies with the waffles that they had for dessert. Between the good company, friendly hosts, and comfortable chair we ate some totally good pizza. I will be coming back a lot, I hope, as long as everyone keeps this joint quiet. If we all go hyping it up like Bill Bellamy it will get too crowded and then we can't sit down and eat. Think about it. 5---5. Bono Rules!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

A Slice Of New York (Campus Location, N. High St)

Hype: So Flying Pizza got sold, or transferred, or given, to somebody other than the older mustached Italian-looking guy. We've got a guy on the inside that told us the pizza had changed so we went to see.

Scene: Campus is still filled with meathead tools. The shop looks like it always did except the people behind the counter. The younger kid, that may be the owner was spinning crusts which was nice to see and the lady taking money was just as rude as the old cashiers used to be.

The Pie:
Crust- Here was one of the big differences since the transfer. It was a little thinner and less crusty than the FlyPie of old. It bent. Remember they used to warm up your slice in the oven and then give it to you and you would burn yourself because it was so hot and you could not wait. I used to burn myself every visit because I didn't have the self control to wait. Now it is simply warm enough. Maybe the oven is too cold, maybe the new guy doesn't take the time to wait for it to get done the first time, or the warm up session. Don't know.
Sauce- Lacked kick. Again, this was indicative of what seems to be a lack of attention to detail. Bland. If they have seasonings on the counter for us to apply why can't they just get off of their rear's and dump some in the sauce.
Cheese- Something was different. Can't place it.
Peps- Maybe these were the same, but since they were not done like they used to be it is hard to tell for sure.

Overall: Maybe we're getting old or maybe campus is really losing it's flavor. OSU keeps buying up and shutting down old local businesses in an effort to whitewash the place. This pie seems to be suffering the same fate. The first couple of bites had me fooled, but as we kept eating it got worse. Another thing: they used to have powdered cheese and red pepper out, a few for the tables too, but that's gone now. The little things, you know? It wasn't bad-- just now what it used to be. Get it over with and just sell it to Sabarro's. 3--5 Pies!!!!!!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Borgata Pizza Cafe (5701 Parkville Street, Columbus, OH)

Hype: Some dude told us about this place in a comment on our last pizza adventure (see NYPD, below). We needed some redemption slices because we've been on a losing streak when it comes to quality pie, so this seemed like a good idea.

Scene: We walked in and immediately knew this was going to be a hit. Everyone looked related; even the 8-year-old birthday party that was occupying every table was a cousin, brother, or nephew of the owner looking guy. Good start. They made room for us as we ordered a 20" pep at the counter. Grandma made cake, brownies, and a bunch of other sweets to help the pizza go down but they left us hanging here, oh well- it wasn't our party. Everyone working there was in the family. A good sign.

The Pie:
Crust- Very thin, but not crispy saltine style like so many other Columbus pies. At the edges it was a little thicker and slightly airy and chewy. I folded every slice. Thin crust cut in traditional huge slices, not party strips like so many other pies in this town. Absolutely excellent.
Sauce- Sweet and very flavorful. A hint of spice probably from the oil from the peps (see below). Again this was top notch.
Cheese- Very evenly applied. Not too much or too little. Real stuff done right.
Peps- Spicy, thicker cut and perfectly cupped. I don't know where they get them but they were perfect. Not overly salty and very flavorful. We always get peps for fairness so I don't know about the other toppings but I will vouch for the ronis at this joint. Try em out.

Overall: This place changed the balance of pizza power for me in Columbus. We all agreed that this might be the best in town. While there is no comparing it to Adriaticos as it is such a thin crust, it does, however, call in to question many of the other thins in town. We loved it. No similar pies that we know about in town.

Our minds were blown!

We went nuts over it! Enthusiastic 5 out of 5 pies!!!!!!

Monday, January 24, 2011

NYPD-New York Pizza Dept. (1644 N. High St.) OSU campus

Hype: We heard about this new place on campus near the gateway that had just opened and sold slices. It had been a year or so since we went for campus pie, so we figured we'd give it a try. Expectations weren't too high, but you never know, maybe there would finally be a worthy south campus rival to Catfish Biff's.

Scene: Located in the former location of the record store Singing Dog. Remember that place? Me neither. it sucked. Inside there were like 30 people of mixed ethnic backgrounds working in the kitchen, none of them Italian looking. Place was spacious and had a coffee bar off to the side. Huh?

Pie: First off, the slices were luke warm at best, so right off the bat this pie had a bunch of strikes against it.

Crust: not bad. probably the best feature of the pie. crispy, somewhat flavorful, but nothing mind blowing. just not bad.
Cheese: Dry, bland, not to mention cold. Was like it had been sitting in someone's car all night after partying too much at Ugly Tuna.
Peps:I really don't remember.
Sauce: couldn't detect any seasonings or anything else to warrant it a positive rating. think it was there though.

Overall: Slightly better than the Smith's pie we had last week. At least the crust wasn't as flaccid as that shit. If the slices had actually been hot, this pizza might have been alright, but I might as well have been eating left over slices from my fridge from any mediocre chain place. For a Grand Opening, this place really fucked up. Kind of the Singing Dog of pizzas. 2---5 pies just for being pizza.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Smith's Restaurant & Deli (3737 North High Street--Clintonville)

Hype: They have a big Pizza sign in the window. I went for sandwiches a long time ago and it was ok. Now to try the pizza.

Scene: Deli mostly. We saw a really funny looking square guy in OSU stuff and mom jeans. That was the best part...except the fountain pitcher of Pepsi; that was good.

Crust- Sucked. Dave questioned its sexuality. I was offended by his comments.
Sauce- I can't remember.
Cheese- ok.
Peps- Useless.

Overall: This pizza is totally lame. do not eat Smith's Pizza unless you are really hard up for pie.
2---5. It's still pizza. Its really not even worth writing about though.