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.
3 recircs out of a possible 8 recircs (lower is better)Nino's Pizza & Pasta - $1.75 2535 Castle Hayne Rd # A, Wilmington, NC 28401
Another crappy pizzeria downtown
A lot of people like the pizza Slice puts out. They also serve their slices hot, which puts them ahead of Princess. I think that's probably the most positive I can get in this review. After I went to Princess I went to Barbary Coast and got a bit drunk. After that I stopped in at Slice before going to see Champion of the Sun. I figured by doing so I'd have taken care of almost all of downtown, thereby relieving me of ever having to go back to these shitty places. Also by getting sort of drunk I became more in line with the bulk of Slice's customer base. Slice of Life is the bar/pizzeria most centrally located in the alcoholic cesspool that is Wilmington, NC. So when the drunks get kicked out of bars, Slice is their primary option. When 2am rolls around, the lights get flicked on and the drunken roaches scurry for the darkness, Slice is virtually their only option.
The cheese was okay but there was too much of it. The slice was cooked on a screen and it was hella floppy. This pizza reminded me of the really terrible homemade pies my mom used to make with all purpose flour and a shitty home oven. Slice's was better but they share some characteristics. Sauce was non-descript, probably because it was overpowered by the cheese. They put some kind of butter around the rim of the pizza that has a ton of powdered garlic in it, or something. That's a real cop out, and it's fucking gross too.
If you're shit-hammered downtown and you need a slab of cheese in your gullet, this would probably satisfy you. And if you love the shit out of toppings on your slice, maybe you can't go wrong because a 6-topping slice will allegedly cost you only $3.50. Which doesn't even make sense to me. The plain slice costs $2.50, making it the most expensive slice downtown. I'm going to try to break this down as best as I know how.
Assuming you want pizza right now ...
1. Do you hate yourself?
If you answered yes, go to Princess Pizza. If you answered no, continue to #2.
2. Is Slice of Life the only place open?
If you answered yes, go to Slice of Life. If you answered no, continue to #3.
2. Do you want beer with your pizza?
If you answered yes, go to Fat Tony's. If you answered no, go to I<3NY Pizza.
In terms of pizzerias downtown, that is what my boss would call "the long and short of it."
Also cheers to this place for making so much money off of drunks that they can open two new awful locations but still can't afford to offer decent drink specials.
5 1/2 recircs out of a possible 8 recircs (lower is better)Slice of Life Pizzeria and Pub - $2.70 122 Market Street, Wilmington, NC 28401
I don't even know what's going on right now
Check it out, I hate this place. Before I continue I'll preface this by saying that I've been drunk since late morning. It's sort-of-holiday-time though so I will request leniency. Back to this terrible pizzeria. When this place opened up 2 or 3 or 9000 years ago, my first thought was, "Sweet, another pizza place downtown." I punch myself in the dick every day for thinking that.
The first time i went to this terrible establishment, my hopes were high. And then I saw that it was a super shit-town assface cheaply-made replica of I<3NY. You walk in there and you even see the same black dude with mega dreads that used to work at I<3NY, thats how much of a replica it is. Except the Italian/New York motherfuckers are now Middle Eastern or something. It's like you took a spaceship to bizarro-town and wound up in Fuckyouville. You don't get what you pay for and you're completely lost and no one is even trying to help you.
I don't even feel like describing this pizza, I hate this shit. They're actually not that far from making a decent pizza, that's the shitty kicker right there. I guess I will describe it and hate myself for doing so, since that's the point of this blog. Here's a picture to start with:
This is a terrible looking slice of pizza. I fucking hate to look at it and I hope you do too. First of all the top is burnt, there's no getting around that. In my worthless opinion, burnt cheese is turbo okay. Here, though, it can fuck right off. Also, usually, I love crust. But here the crust is huge. Like half the slice has no cheese and barely any sauce on it. I hate the person that made this pizza. These guys do no business and still lack the time to make a decent pizza. What's wrong with you guys? You suck.
The crust is stupid-thin at the front of this slice. Anyone that says that NY-style pizza can't be too thin can fuck right off. Conversely, the crust is overly-thick at the rear of the slice, and the whole fucking thing is underdone. Except the top, which is burnt. This is a slice of pizza where you know the jerkfish making it was just trying to fuck over everyone who might try it. This place should be called Sadist Pizza, I hate these guys and they can get lost. Every time I go here the pizza is shit. Who the fuck goes here besides me? Assholes, every one of them. Walk a block and spend eleven more cents at I<3NY.
By the way, the dude threw my slice into the oven for all of one minute before handing it to me on this plate. It was barely warm. I fucking hate you guys and I have no idea how you remain in business, sucking as hard as you do. Also, fuck your ice cream and pies and shit, you assholes.
All of my pity tips must be adding up at this place, sustaining it. I'm never going back, so they will soon perish. You're welcome.
7 recircs out of a possible 8 recircs (lower is better)Princess Pizza - $1.89 204 Princess Street Wilmington, NC
My sincerest apologies for this
So, I fully intended to make a legitimate pizzeria review yesterday. I was going to go to Krazy Pizza and it was going to be really bad. But during in an improptu out-of-town drunken wrestling match sometime between Saturday night and Sunday morning, my ankle/foot sort of area got extremely janged and it's kind of annoying to walk anywhere let alone drive a manual-transmission car just to eat shitty pizza, just to write a review. But I did have some frozen pizza in the freezer (of all places), so I'm reviewing that.
I've always loved Ellio's, probably due to the fact that my mother forced it down my gullet when I was a child as though she were trying to make some twisted version of foie gras. I buy this bullshit about once or twice a year and always get the plain variety. This time I guess I got pepperoni, I don't know why. It was good, it was Ellio's, fuck you.
You can view the lack of recircs as a triumph of childhood memories, or because this shit doesn't qualify as Wilmington Pizza, at all.
N/A recircs out of a possible 8 recircs (lower is better)Ellio's
Like average cancer. You're still scared of it but it could be worse
As this is my first review I feel like it must be particularly excellent. Sadly, it won't be. I knew I was venturing to downtown Wilmington tonight, and that opened up the opportunity for my first review. Downtown is not exactly rife with pizzerias but there are some, namely: I <3 NY Pizza, Slice of Life, Fat Tony's and Princess Pizza. There may be more - but not to my knowledge, you jerk.
The predicament is that I've eaten at all of these places before, and one of them I consider to be the best of Wilmington, yet I also must pretend to be unbiased. I'll review that place some time later, but it rhymes with I <3 NY Pizza. Tonight, though, it boiled down to a matter of simple economics: Who has the best deal? As it happens, monetarily, Fat Tony's seemed to be the winner. Their Tuesday deal includes two cheese slices and a draft pint of your choice for $7.00 plus tax. The tax is relevant because the two real pizzerias downtown include the tax with the cost of a slice. Fat Tony's and Slice are not real pizzerias; they are god damn terrible places aspiring to be national pseudo-something chains, no offense.
I was going downtown to watch my friends play competitive Skee Ball. On the one hand I'm particularly offended by everything I just said. On the other, it was a really great time. In any case, Fat Tony's got the nod ahead of the front runner (Princess because I have a coupon) due to their abundance of alcoholic taps and my preeminent need to pregame. That said, with their large number of draft beers I was hoping for a slightly better selection, because I'm needy like that. I ended up asking about the Black Radish which is a fairly local beer coming from the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Upon a strong recommendation I tried it and was immediately pleased but then let down by a lack of any vague concept of depth or aftertaste. Not to diverge too much into a beer review, the Black Radish was unimpressive in the not-so-long run; I also got the distinct impression that its keg was not properly carbonated. So now I'm talking shit about a mis-carbonated beer. My bad. The front side of the beer was delicious, I know that.
Onto the pizza. I was expecting the least. I've been here a few times before and been very underwhelmed by the pizza. Those times had all been matters of desperation and a general overcrowding. Tonight was my first experience with Fat Tony's pizza while Wilmington is approximately freezing. The pizza was good, I was shocked to find. The size of the slice was average if not perhaps slightly small. If you're in the slice market on your average day it cannot be recommended, though: a cheese slice is, I think, $2.25, on a given day. Walk across the street to I <3 NY and the slice is bigger, better and cheaper - the toppings too are cheaper.
That said, on a Tuesday, you would be well served to go to Fat Tony's if you are a lover of well-made beer and decent pizza - something you honestly can't find around these parts (sorry Slice). The pizza itself - and I guess that's the point of this review - is good. I'd gladly spend 4 dollars on some of the higher-end drafts at Fat Tony's. Thinking of the beer as costing $4 that puts the slices at $1.50 each, which is below anything you can find in this area, and the slices are good. Now we come to the important part of the review, which I joyously hide beneath reams of unimportant text.
For the most part, the crust was pretty good. It was thin enough to be enjoyable, yet thick enough to be foldable - which in those terms ranks it among the top two of the downtown pizza scene (I <3 NY and Fat Tony's). The sauce was passable. One slice was okay and the other was under-sauced; the sauce itself was not pasty and disgusting; it was fairly light and seemed to have some tomato chunks - the sauce was okay. The cheese was surprisingly good. It was not far off from what you would find at a fairly good street pizzeria in NYC, and in this town that is saying something. I guarantee Fat Tony's has changed their cheese within the past couple years because this is a vast improvement from what I've experienced before.
There is only really one main complaint with a Fat Tony's slice and that is the rim of the crust. Besides the rim, the crust was largely without fault. Even the fact that it appeared to be cooked on a screen or something somehow didn't detract too much from the slices. The pizza was well done in basically all respects - until you get to the rim of the crust. Novice pizza makers the world over assume that you need to artificially embiggen (yes I said it) the rim of the pizza crust. This is, though logical, a fallacy. A properly made pizza crust rim will puff on its own due to a lack of weight from the sauce and cheese. Fat Tony's, it would appear, attempts to artificially enlarge the rim. This leads to a large, doughy, undercooked rim. It's a shame, but when you realize that it's really the only glaring fault from an eatery that more closely resembles a chain American-Italian restaurant than a pizzeria, maybe we can give them a pass, and an honest thumbs up?
Oh, and if you are one of he people who doesn't care about pizza crusts and just throws them away, I hate you.