What the fuck am I supposed to write here?
Hungry Heroes opened up a few weeks ago in the desolate clusterfuck of traffic some degenerates call Ogden. Initially I was reminded of the defunct Hungry Howie's business over by Eastwood and Racine. I never went there. I only heard they had flavored crust and that was enough for me. I knew it was bogus.
Hungry Heroes seems, by a fair margin, more legitimate. Meaning they seem to sorta just be a sub joint that sells bread and pizza too since what-the-fuck-why-not-fuck-you-buddy.
This showed immediately when I went there for my slice review some weeks ago. Apparently their air conditioning was not up to the task of cooling a place running pizza ovens, so they said to come back in a week or two for pizza. This bothered me a bit because I had driven about solely for pizza and it was raining like a bastard but at the end of the day I didn't mind too much because I punched a baby so my day was alright overall.
Also they gave me a free loaf of bread. I didn't even buy shit the dude just gave me some bread. They claim to have the best italian bread in Wilmington. I can tell you straight away that's not true because you could get some italian bread from my Mom. She'll probably give you some fruit salad too. Honestly, Hungry Heroes bread is really good, though. Except that they forgot to put any salt in it. Bread without salt is like a tasteless void of pain and discomfort. I still ate it, mind you. However, it made me worry about their pizza.
I was right, sort of; the crust was lacking sodium. However, other than that I would say the crust was stellar. It was so good that I can damn near overlook the under-salting. I mean, I still have to mention it. I'm a reviewer, after all. The crust was the perfect height, well-browned and dry in that sort of way where fuck it you're eating greasy pizza, right? You don't need a greasy crust, too, do you? Oh you do? Fuck you then.
After the crust is a downhill, as might be expected. These guys are all about dough. And Boars Head meat. Are they about good pizza cheese? No. Are they about good red sauce? No.
And there you have it. This place serves up small (16") pizzas as an afterthought. The slices are an afterthought of an afterthought. The cheese is mediocre. It's not offensive or anything. Same thing with the sauce. It's kind of too sweet and it's annoying because damn it's close. And either one of these things could carry the slice into the record books. For Wilmington, anyway.
Rundown: Great crust; bland cheese; bland, overly-sweet sauce. Also cheap as fuck at $1.44 after tax.
Another weird thing about this place is their layout. They have this giant section in the front that is entirely empty and begging for tables to be put in. My only guess is that since they don't have a customer bathroom they're not allowed to have such seating. If so, I don't know where I stand. If a place is too small for a bathroom, wassup? However, let a nigga shit, right? Y'all know you like poopin'.
4 recircs out of a possible 8 recircs (lower is better)Hungry Heroes - $1.44 8024 Market St., Wilmington, NC 28411
When in Atlanta, kill yourself.
I flew out to Canada recently, and I had a long-ass layover in Atlanta. I passed the time by finally continuing the fourth book in the series I'm reading and also by consuming the shittiest, stupidest, most god-awful pizza I have ever set my tastebuds on. It was Sbarro. Airport Sbarro. Now you may be thinking Captain, isn't eating ATL pizza instead of ILM pizza considered food heresy? Yes, god damn it, and I don't give a shit. Pete stole the last review from me, and I demand recompense. In all fairness, though, this pizza did manage to keep me shitting acid for a full 2 weeks, so some of it did end up in the Wilmington sewers (where it belongs).
Atlanta's airport is full of shitty people, oddly clean bathrooms, and expensive garbage at which to throw money. All of the food falls under the 'expensive garbage' category, but Sbarro's pizza is in a league of its own. There were a total of 4 menu items, collectively worth an arm and a dick. Prepared to lose one or the other, I walked up to the counter with my order ready. It was a coin-flip decision because their only two options were 'bland styrofoam cheese' and 'gourmet barbecue'. The woman (read: Pacman Scissorhands) was apparently too lazy or too daft to put together their other two menu items: meat lover's and mushroom-something-or-other. Considering that the cheese pizza probably tasted like the cold, empty void of space, I went with the barbecue monstrosity. The Swedish kid behind me ordered pepperoni three whole times before the cashier screamed at him, "WE AIN'T GOT NO PEPPERONI, CHILD." Meanwhile, I was staring down at this hunk of pre-fab bullshit.
I don't know what goes into the pizza-making process here. I assume they get shipments of pre-cooked dough, soggy cheese slabs, and discarded animal bits, throw them all together in a microwave or toaster over, and voila - masterpiece. I could be wrong, but either way this shit was terrible. It was the furthest thing from "gourmet" that you could imagine, and selling it should be illegal in all 50 states. By the time I was done with my first slice, the kid who was behind me in line was chowing down on his personal cheese pie. In his words,
"This pizza is totally gummy worms, except bad tasting."
I couldn't put it better myself, you blonde-haired IKEA bastard. The cheese fell off all at once, and the crust was chewier than a wookiee. All I could taste was barbecue sauce and sadness. As you can see in the picture, there was some red sauce atop the chicken. I am convinced that this was not pizza sauce, but rather the reheated blood of Sensei Sbarro after he seppuku'd himself with a pair of dirty chopsticks. You bring shame on your family, but your congealed lifeblood tastes oh so sweet.
In all seriousness, I knew what I was getting myself into before I ordered this circle of self-loathing. A chain pizza restaurant in an airport? That's a recipe for shitty recipes. I paid good money for a pre-packaged blob of barbecue-flavored nothingness and a permanent stomach ache. And I did it for you jerkoffs, so you could revel in my misery.
7 1/2 recircs out of a possible 8 recircs (lower is better)Sbarro - $Too Much 6000 North Terminal Parkway, Atlanta, Georgia 30320
I wrote this review but it's completely unintelligible. My grandma gave me a fifth of gin for some reason and normally (for the record gram giving me liquor is not normal) I fucking hate gin. But this was sorta classy gin and it tasted really good so I drank it all and wrote a pizza review. I think I might have to dump the review in the fetus chute though because it's super bad. It's mainly just me talking about my grandma and how much I love Tanqueray. It's like this post except longer so I'm going to try to rework that review. OK? Jeez.
In the meantime here is the funniest review ever featured on this site, written by my glorious cohort guest reviewer with the glorious nom de plume "Captain Falcon." Personal favorite lines: "collectively worth an arm and a dick," "totally gummy worms except bad tasting," and "chewier than a wookiee."
I guess don't even bother reading it now because I just ruined it.
I'd heard Papa Bella's had became Uncle Louie's, but I'd been a bit lazy in regards to trying the new joint out. Actually - full disclosure - I told the other dolt who has written a couple reviews on this site to check it out for me. After all, he was the dude who reviewed Papa Bella's. (When I went there to review it they had "run out of pizza dough". Nimrods.) Then a friend of mine texted me the picture shown above and demanded I get off my ass and review it.
I hope this place does well, and it probably will. The area needs a pizzeria. There used to be a Dominos in this same shopping center. I used to work there, in fact. For about a week. I was a delivery driver because they were short-staffed and my friend was an assistant manager. This could speak to any number of things but it probably has more to do with my work ethic than anything else: holy shit, that job sucked. After I was hired they were like, okay, get this, you won't be delivering pizzas all the time so if there's nothing going on just wash dishes and fold pizza boxes.
I think that's pretty standard as far as pizzerias go, but do you know what I did? Here's a clue, I didn't wash a single damn thing and I still don't know how the fuck those box wizards fold those infernal boxes into glorified pizza wombs. I just delivered pizzas. And it was still a nightmare. Well, in any case, that Dominos is now a bar (upgrade) and the only other pizzeria nearby is fucking Hoobies.
If you've been to Papa Bella's in the past (either its former incarnation or its former former incarnation), walking into the new Uncle Louie's might give you a bit of a shock. The interior is 100% different. The old setup was really going for the grungy bar feel. It had a certain charm which I would have respected except they were in a strip mall and they were just gross. Uncle Louie's is going for a more upscale approach. Upon entry I immediately wondered if this gameplan even had a chance at success, given the location. They seemed to be doing fine - at least at the bar - because it was sorta crowded. Papa Bella's never seemed so busy, from my limited experience (I used to live a short walk from this location but I preferred walking an extra second and getting a frozen pizza and a six-pack from Food Lion).
I have to say that I really liked the layout and vibe of the bar. Reasonable bar specials were an added, lovely bonus.
Sweet baby Jesus I guess I'll mention the pizza.
At first glance it's not a terribly impressive sight. Especially without the crushed red pepper applied as pictured above. The rim of the crust seems underdone (or raw, maybe) and overall it sort of looked boring-bordering-on-stupid.
It wasn't quite so bad, though.
I usually start with the bad but the first thing that hit me was that the cheese was pretty good. They're clearly using a good product here, which might have to do with the fact that they also have a vaguely upscale menu featuring dishes which also contain mozzarella. So the cheese was good and greasy and I have no real complaints there. The saucing of the pizza was reasonable. It was bordering on being undersauced but this only caused me to have a difficult time tasting it individually and therefore being able to critique it individually (good job, you sneaky fuckers). As near as I could tell, the sauce was okay and reasonably applied.
The dough was basically shit. It's not the worst in town but it's also not far off, either. The top rim looked nearly raw; the bottom of the slice looked much the same, except where it was overly charred. The char can most likely be chalked up to an oven that is not cleaned often enough; a sloppy kitchen staff. The rest of the dough being really dense and underdone (at some points close-to-raw) is more difficult to explain.
I'm going to put my crazy pizza wizard hat on and guess that their poor, sad dough balls never get proofed. Possibly under-yeasted as well. This abortiony kind of pizza smacks you right in the face because on the one hand the pies are incredibly thin but on the other hand there is no bounce to them. No crumb is developed, there is no spring to the crust and it merely becomes a sloppy vessel to deliver some toppings to your face. Is there anything wrong with that? Yes there is, because: It should be so easy:
High gluten flour. Salt it. Water it. Proof it. All of a sudden, baby, you got a stew goin'.
I like the bar.
4 1/2 recircs out of a possible 8 recircs (lower is better)Uncle Louie's Pizza Lounge - $2.50 + tax 3224 Suite F North College Road, Wilmington, NC 28405