A common refrain from readers of this website is that I ought to give new local businesses a fair shake instead of shitting all over them. What these silly nits don't understand is that I. Can. Do. Both. And so can you. If a fair shake leads to you deciding that a place is a garbage-y butthole, preach on, you beautiful black man.
It was with this fairly racist and nonsensical thought in mind that I went to try Mamma Bella. I thought, be nice this time, ya old geezer. Don't go straight for the jugular. But that's just not my game. I'm here for blood.
Damn shame that this place really knocked my socks off. You have their Facebook site and local reviews suggesting a superior NY-style pizza and yet they don't even offer 18" pies. And the pictures I saw initially made me never want to even give this place a shot. Though I'm glad I did end up giving them a shot, it put me in a predicament because I didn't know where to put this place in relation to other local pizzerias.
My first words to my wife were, "this could be the best pizza in town."
This pizza has a perfect crust, a perfect sauce and perfect cheese. The ratios of the three are beyond reproach. Clearly, this is the best pizza, right? But how might Brooklyn be better? Their added pre-baked Italian spices in the cheese go pretty far in my opinion. Yet, their pies have notoriously undercooked undercarriages. Slices don't have that problem, but the pies really do. Mamma Bella gets it right the first time.
How about I <3 NY Pizza? Technically on the blog they rate lower than Brooklyn. But they're not any worse. I just got an incredibly good slice from Brooklyn when I reviewed them. I <3 NY has a consistency which Brooklyn can only dream of. They're non-stop slinging pies while Brooklyn is assembling shitty salads and mediocre pastas for ponces. Overall, Mamma Bella would have to rate slightly below I <3 NY and a bit above Brooklyn overall. But this fucks my ratings system. Well, it's my site so maybe I'll just change ratings around soon, fuck you.
Get it while it lasts. This location murders pizzerias.
1 1/2 recircs out of a possible 8 recircs (lower is better)Mamma Bella - 8” - $5; 12”- $8, 16”- $14
This is a new and great little pizza shop taking over the location from Amore which had taken it from an old favorite, Ninos. Below I will attempt to embed their menu, which goes well beyond a simple slice joint.
The menu looks pretty good to me. Sadly, I'm rarely in this area anymore. I was only vaguely in the area and going to get the slice pictured below took like a million years. Then I made the mistake of taking Kerr Ave home during rush hour. Wow fuck that road. Anyway, the slice:
You might not be able to tell from my shitty picture but this was a big slice of pizza. Don't let the massive amount of spices fool you, I added them after the fact because I'm the boss. Let's run this motherfucker down right now:
Sauce: Good, though a bit too lightly applied.
Cheese: Good, though too heavily applied.
Crust: Good, properly salted, little yeasty, kinda too soft for my taste ... cooked on a screen (I think).
They have all the components here to make a near-perfect pizza but their application ratios are just a bit off and you end up missing out on a nicely done undercarriage. Yeah I said it. Undercarriage, you bitch.
This seems like a pretty exciting new restaurant for Wrightsboro to get their hands on. I wish it was near me, damnit. I overheard the owner (I assume) saying he makes most or all of the desserts himself and they even had some homemade She-crab soup in the back. Even with the minor quibbles I've written about their pizza, it really was good and a good value based on the size and quality. I just have to mention everything I can because food reviewing is pure bloviation and fuck you.
EAT IT UP!
2.5 recircs out of a possible 8 recircs (lower is better)
Pizza Reviews! One Per Year! All aboard!
It's been a long time since my last review. Mostly because there just isn't too much pizza left to review in Wilmington, but also because I'm a lazy bum. Recently Paul Stephen told me that Spicoli had opened in the old Bessie & Giuseppe location. Seems like this is another spot that gobbles up pizzerias and spits out ... other pizzerias. It seems like this location should support some good business with the right pizzeria but every place that tries just sucks. Luckily for Spicoli, they are much better than their predecessors, B&G and Incredible Pizza.
Custom demands I now show you a picture of some greasy cheese pizza:
It seems like you can't order single slices here, but you can get 2 slices for $5, which is not a bad deal.
The slices are a reasonable size for $2.50 per. And they're pretty good. The greatest strength of this pizza is the cheese. It's good and greasy and none of that low-fat part-skim full-bullshit mozzarella that many pizzerias seem to favor (because they're stupid). One of the slices had the cheese over-applied but it wasn't a big deal since it was decent mozzarella.
The sauce was lightly applied but actually quite good. I could have gone for a bit more sauce but it's a minor quibble.
The dough/crust is the only real issue with this pizza. As far as I could tell they're cooking these things on screens or pans or something, so they're not properly cooked on the bottom, it's just soft and stupid like my weiner. And while properly salted (a rarity in Wilmington) there is something wrong with their dough formulation and I think it's probably that they're using a lot of oil in their recipe. You're left with a crust that is heavy and dense and sort of greasy. It's disappointing. The cornicione should be a nice airy, crunchy affair. Not some pizza hut shit. The undercarriage should be browned if not charred. Not just warmed up.
Overall, though, the pizza is pretty good.
3 recircs out of a possible 8 recircs (lower is better)
Spicoli - $5 for 2 slices
1978 Eastwood Rd, NC 28403
I took this photo with a potato, deal with it. My inability to take a picture reflects my inability to rate this pizza. It's been so long since I have rated a goddamn pizza that I had to refer to my own Listing page to figure out where to put this monstrosity, rating-wise. Which got me thinking: wow. Wilmington pizza SUCKS. I know I've said that before but goddamn.
In any case I am giving Marco's Pizza a solid '5' on the recircumcision scale, only because they are better than Frank's. '5' seems to be that magical, nebulous zone that bad pizzerias fall into while they're clinging to the edge of pure desperation. A rating worse than '5' indicates that everyone at the establishment cut their dicks off long ago.
Speaking of the pizza, which I am loathe to do, it was shitty. The crust was tasteless, the cheese was probably some kind of mixture of cheeses and had decent flavor, but it was applied too heavily. It reminded me of Pizza Hut cheese, I think. I have no fucking idea if this pizza even had sauce because the pie had 18 pounds of cheese on it.
Speaking of Pizza Hut, this pizza is better than Pizza Hut (pan or otherwise). It is also better than Papa Johns (they're fucking terrible). Marco's is, however, worse than either Dominos or Little Caesar's. You shouldn't buy shit from any of these guys but I know you're going to, so that's what the deal is.
I also went to Brixx Wood Fired Pizza the other day. How do these kids get away with calling their ovens "Wood Fired" when it's clearly gas-fired? Can anyone explain this madness to me?
Shut up I don't care.
5 recircs out of a possible 8 recircs (lower is better)
Improved from Impoverishment
I don't even know how to write these reviews, it's been too long since my last one. Be that as it may, today I'm taking a look at Bessie and Giuseppe, which took over from Incredible Pizza. B&G is so badass that they don't even need a sign with their name on it, apparently. Just 'PIZZA' will cut it, a sign carried over from Incredible. This didn't bother me. However, their other main focus is burgers so it seems like they might wanna say something like 'PIZZA AND BURGERS." Maybe that's just me.
I liked the interior of the place. I spent as little time as I could inside of the old Incredible location, but it seems very different to me now. In other words, improved. More of a bar vibe as opposed to some shitty fake pizzeria in a stripmall near the beach. Which is definitely not to say that Bessie and Giuseppe is much more than a shitty fake pizzeria in a stripmall near the beach. Moving forward we shall observe a slice of their pizza:
A rinky-dink little thing, that. You might say, "hey, it's only two dollars!" Yes sir, but that's what you pay at I<3NY and they include tax - and the slices are bigger and fucking mind blowing. The best thing going for this slice is the dough. It seems well-made and well-seasoned. Sadly, it was under-cooked and screen-cooked. It was paler than my ass. The sauce seemed good, I'll be honest. But I could barely taste any of it because it was so overwhelmingly under-applied. The cheese was mediocre, maybe a little above. If the sauce had been applied correctly and the pizza was cooked long enough and not on a screen, the cheese may have synergized this bitch to the moon.
The world may never know. Also, get draft beer guys, please lord.
4.5 recircs out of a possible 8 recircs (lower is better)
[ed. note: this review is from my cohort at liquorlunch.com.]
Someone at my job organized a group trip to grab a slice for lunch and this place was the recipient of our ill-earned corporate money. When I first heard this place opened up I was stoked if only for the fact that it served beer and I could now forgo pregaming when Christmas shopping. Ask Pete to tell you about his Christmas shopping shenanigans [ed. note: don't]. Now that's a great story! This is just a mediocre review, and probably not worth the space on his site, but he forced me into it so here we are.
I arrived at the pizzeria (technically) and spent no less than 20 minutes waiting for two slices of cheese pizza. Let me say that again, in case you thought it was a typo. I spent TWENTY MINUTES in a PIZZA SHOP in a MALL waiting for TWO SLICES OF CHEESE PIZZA at LUNCH TIME. Now you may be thinking "Hey, don't they have those pre made?" Why yes the fuck they did, but the Jersey Shore reject in charge of reheating my slices thinks this process should be raised to an artform. A very slow, painfully inefficient artform. I can only hope that the kid was high and it was his first day. He was literally taking each individual ticket and slowly making each slice to order.
A "completely unexpected" rush at noon was enough to turn less than ten customers in line into bona fide full-stop gridlock. Being that I have an hour for lunch, my time is fucking precious and I was more than pissed at this turn of events, no less so since I've worked at both corporate and local pizza joints and this would not have been acceptable at either. I wanted to jump back there and show the kid how it was done, honestly. However, being the semi-adult I am, I brooded at a nearby table until my order was called. At that point I was presented with this:
I have to say, I didn't hold out much hope when I saw how thin the points of the slices were, but shockingly there was a perfect amount of structural integrity. It held up to the pizza-fold test without being overly crusty and burnt. Maybe it was the lack of booze; maybe it was the wait but this pizza was on point. Better than I've had at the other Slice locations. And this one has beer in the mall! The grease was that level of drip that suits itself perfectly to crust dipping. The cheese and sauce were more than passable. I have to say, these slices were the type that should be standard but all too sadly aren't in our world. The type of slice that is good because it is exactly what you expect of NY pies, and I admit bias when I say I didn't expect it from this place, especially after my shitty service. This is the slice you think of when you think of NY style pizza. The perfect sum of its parts and maybe a little extra.
I have to take a moment to mention how monumentally retarded their menu is, which I had plenty of time to study while waiting for my slices. Why would they have pizzas and not calzones and stromboli? Who the fuck knows. They have every single item required and yet they are not on the menu. Who does that?! Then there is exactly one sub listed on the menu (meatball) but no other ones. Why bother having bread if you don't have other subs? And then they have tacos and quesadillas on the menu. Because when I think pizza, I think Mexican food.
The absolute best thing about their menu are the wings. They make sense on the surface, until you think about how many people want to eat a food that necessitates sticking your fingers in sauce before shopping. You know, that activity where you touch and try things before buying them? And the fact that wings are their only menu item requiring a fryer, meaning they have a whole entire commercial grade appliance for ONE FUCKING MENU ITEM. Why not at least add fries or mozzarella sticks or some other bullshit to the menu? The world may never know.
I give this place 3 recircs despite their retarded menu and awful service. I hope it wasn't a one-off. Don't make me look like an asshole, Slice: get your crew in order. Also streamline that goddamn menu.
3 recircs out of a possible 8 recircs (lower is better)