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
Great Space, Great Pizza, Great Price ... Leland
I love the layout of this place. It's small and quaint, kind of an upscale version of a traditional NYC street pizzeria. There's limited seating (only two 4-tops that I could see) and half the seating is a large bench along the right-side wall so you're probably going to be sitting sorta next to a random hobo. I like that. I love to pop a squo next to people at bars to make em nervous, ya see. I sidle up next to 'em and give 'em the eye, ya know. Like I'm sayin', "hey, old timer, I see ya. I do. And I wanna do ya." Then I lick my lips. Knocks 'em out every time.
They also have a few stools at a counter you can sit at. This is like a fucking Chef's table so sit here if you can - and if you don't have any friends - and if you want to watch your food get made. You get a bird's eye view of the entire kitchen operation. Which was pretty cool. I mean they were pretty slow so it was just a few middle-aged Italian-y looking guys getting orders ready, slinging pizza and doing busywork, but the ability to see your food being made in front of you is kind of nebulously invaluable. Especially if you've ever seen Waiting or Kitchen Nightmares.
As per my habit, I added crushed red pepper and oregano to my slice. So if you are a nancy who doesn't like spices or spiciness, do not be afraid of the above picture, dear lad. Size-wise, it's not a really big slice of pizza. It kind of reminds me of the slices you will get in-shop at Brooklyn. Also, like Brooklyn, this slice clocks in around two bucks which is a steal. As I think you can see from this picture, it was also made with some care. As I said, business was slow when I was there and they also employ the glass-display-case-of-pizza thing where pies are left out and then slices are re-fired as needed. Often, having display pies, it seems, means you are going to get pies made with some fucking integrity and love rather than some weird discs of cheese and terror, mashingly sliced up by some raging, coked-out, half-drunk and half-hungover cook in the back. I'm looking at you, Slice of Life.
The crust on this slice was alright. I'm not head-over-heals in love with it or anything but it was definitely above passable. Hell, it being properly-salted and crispy puts it above most local places. But it kind of struck me as tasting a little yeasty and all-purpose-floury. I'm grasping at straws here for something to complain about, don't mind me. The cheese was very good, whatever they used. Probably Grande, but fuck me I don't really know anything. Also, they used a lot of it. It might not seem like it from the picture, but they did. Often, as you may know, I rail against pizzerias for using too much cheese. But that is only when they use a lot of bad cheese. This was good cheese. It was fatty and greasy and lovely. The sauce was barely discernible, which is fine, if not perfect. You don't want sloppy sauce on a pizza. I'm looking at you, Avanti.
Overall it was a very well-balanced slice, and cheap. I know it's funnier when I'm blacked-out on a fifth of whiskey ranting about really terrible pizza (I'm looking at you, every one of you), but this pizza was pretty damn good.
Also, Falcone's, you guys need a website so I can link to it. Get in touch, I'd take partial payment in store credit. My brother's birthday is coming up in a month and this shit is real, I'm on a boat.
ed. note: The original review for this establishment is a fart in the wind, I got this jerk to re-review for me. - Pete
I found the old review. God bless backups. I'll keep this one around to show how hit-or-miss this wacky-ass place can be. - Pete
Goodfellas Pizza is located in the University Landing area. The first time I attempted to eat here, luck was not on my side. According to the sign on the door, it was "closed for family emergency". Well fuck your family emergency - my pizza emergency trumps your shit any day. I had an hour to waste before class that day, and although the idea of breaking into Goodfellas and handcrafting my own pizza was tempting, I decided to go to Bdobo instead. Yes, I just linked to Bdobo. It's fucking delicious and likely steals all business from the surrounding area.
That aside, I returned to Goodfellas a few days later. It was much bigger on the inside than I anticipated, yet it was completely empty. Perhaps I came at a weird hour, who the hell knows. I was offered a seat and a menu, but I said, "No, fuck you, I just want some god damn cheese pizza." I think I prefer the pizza joints in New York where they reply, "Fuck you too, faggot" and throw the pizza directly at your groin, but I suppose a nice atmosphere and friendly staff shouldn't detract from my rating. I ended up getting two slices of pizza and a drink for $4.99, because a) I'm a ravenous, pizza-starved fatass, and b) $2.50+tax for a single plain slice? Piss off.
I was surprised to see that, unlike the other two establishments I've reviewed, this pizza didn't look like complete and utter shit. Upon handing it to me, the waitress/cashier notified me of her uncertainty as to what was actually in the drink she gave me. I ordered Dr. Pepper, but apparently all their drinks exist in a state of quantum uncertainty until the moment they are consumed. I can only assume I received a lethal mixture of high fructose corn syrup and hydrochloric acid. Thankfully, this was promptly replaced with slightly less dangerous Dr. Pepper. After that - and after the waitress saw me taking pictures of the food and scribbling down notes - she offered me an infinite amount of refills, which I injected straight into my bloodstream, bypassing my stomach, and allowing more room for the pizza to gut-fuck me into oblivion.
But who fucking cares about what I had to drink. The pizza was surprisingly good, and I immediately decided $2.50 for a single slice might actually be worth it, even for a penniless hobo like myself. The slice's most noteworthy quality was the cheese. I have no idea what they use or how they do it, but the cheese tasted of ambrosia-infused godliness. It was as if the Occupy Capt. Falcon's Mouth protest was going on, and I was happily allowing the cheese to riot and form drum circles on my tastebuds. 99% delicious.
Also of note - fairly large slices, perfectly thin crust, and a favorable amount of grease to top it off. After I had finished most of the first slice and the cheese was moshing in my gut, I noticed the rim of the pizza had been somewhat neglected. It wasn't much a problem, though, due to the fact that the crust was quite satisfying. I didn't have the presence of mind to judge the sauce, either because I know nothing about pizza sauce or because I was too busy drooling all over myself. Either way, the sauce must not have been too bad, because I dove into the next slice like a starving Ethiopian child.
I'm so used to Falcon punching my keyboard with flaming fists of rage while writing these reviews that it seems wrong not to slander Goodfellas in some way. They were closed the first time I went there, which I would love to be pissed off about, but really that just shows that they're a family-run business, at least in part. I received the wrong drink, but the waitress soon extinguished my fury by treating me like the ultimate god of pizza. Also, I didn't get crayons and a page from a coloring book like the kids a few tables over, but the waitress metaphorically sucking my dick assuaged any dissatisfaction before it had a chance to fully form.
My only real concern came from the second slice, which had an odd dough-to-cheese ratio. There was a tsunami of cheese atop a paper-thin scaffold, but, being the cheesewhore I am, I wasn't too bothered by that. All in all, shit was pretty good. I'd rank it just below Brooklyn and I <3 NY Pizza, which is something I never anticipated, seeing as Pete usually sends me to the shittiest shit-holes in town. If I'm ever in the area and in the mood for pizza, I'll definitely return to Goodfellas.
As long as Bdobo doesn't lure me away.
2 recircs out of a possible 8 recircs (lower is better)
Goodfellas Pizza - $2.50 + tax
417 South College Road, Wilmington, NC 28403
One commonly hears the phrase "save the best for last," and I for one say fuck that shit. I save the worst for last, because I hate myself this much (I'm spreading my arms really wide right now). I like knowing that it's all downhill from any given point. Maybe things were good during some nebulous fantasy time period in the past, but the future is destined to be a shitstorm of shitbricks, en fuego.
With this mindset in, well, mind, I saved Nicola's for nearly last. I didn't think it would be good at all, for whatever reason. I'd been here once before, if memory serves. It was a long while back, though, and may have been a different restaurant entirely but in the same location. I don't even know why I was there or what I had, if anything. Was I there with family, or friends? On hallucinogens or narcotics or uppers? Maybe with both friends and family and on all three, who knows? I had a vaguely bad experience that time, but lets chalk it up to the acid.
On Tuesdays, Nicola's has a deal for $5 12" pepperoni or cheese pizzas. Normally they're 7-8 dollars. Apparently the Tuesday deal is dine-in only, but they never mention this. Ancient Chinese secret. Anyway I got mine to go because I'm the boss. I opened the box and was surprised to see a pizza that looked quite like a miniature NY pie. I was expecting it to look more Neapolitan, given that the pizzas are referred to as wood-fired. One oddity of this pie was that the rim of the crust was very thin. Not a big deal, though.
This shit was really good! Some of the best in town. If I lived or worked nearby, I'd probably go here every Tuesday. The cheese was very good, with proper grease levels. The sauce was more than passable. The crust was probably worked a little too much around the rim but overall it was actually very good and well seasoned. The slices were thin and had very good structure. Is it wood-fired, as the menu states? Could be; there was a little bit of char on the bottom, in any case.
Very good pizza, very good deal (on Tuesdays, otherwise it's just okay).
2 recircs out of a possible 8 recircs (lower is better)Nicola's - $5-7 + tax 5704 Oleander Dr Ste 102, Wilmington, NC 28403
Carolina Beach triumphs again
Uncle Vinny's is a rather new restaurant. I was going to come here sooner but I had to battle various bottles of booze and then unexpectedly fly to New York. At long last I decided to drive down here today after a dumb old round of golf. Whenever I go to Carolina Beach, which is almost never, I'm always struck by how much I enjoy the drive. It's nice, and Carolina Beach is both quaint and redneck in the most perversely endearing sort of way.
The drive back was another story entirely. It was a fucking nightmare. I was almost late getting to the liquor store before it closed. And I had to get pineapple vodka. Yeah, that's right. Pineapple vodka.
I'd heard a lot of hype about this place and as it turns out the hype was fairly well deserved.
I don't think this place serves slices, which is kind of a bummer. However, I doubt they really give two shits what I think is a bummer, because they appear to be extraordinarily busy and probably don't want to deal with hobos wanting mere slices. And rightly so, perhaps. I haven't had any of their other food, but their pizza is pretty good and the interior is pretty cool. And the bartender is about 8 feet tall.
All around it was pretty fucking good. The cheese was good. Though some might say there's not enough, I don't really give a shit; I'm not a fan of a ton of cheese on pizza. The sauce was also quite good, I think it was basically just crushed tomatoes which is all you fucking need. Baffles me why people complicate this part of pizza making. The crust was also good, but it is also the source of my main complaint. A really good NY style pizza crust should have a decent crunch to it. It's sort of a minor quibble, maybe. I think if you request the pizza well-done, this issue might be mostly corrected.
I also liked that they put oregano on the pie before baking it, but their, uh, oregano density map was not ideal. It's no wonder though because they were busy as fuck when I ordered this pizza.
Overall Vinny's has some pretty damn good pizza. It's starting to piss me off that Carolina Beach's pizza is on average far better than Wilmington's. I really need to finish this blog before any more motherfucking pizza shops open up.
They do have a stupid slogan tho.
2 recircs out of a possible 8 recircs (lower is better)Uncle Vinny's Pizzeria Ristorante - $13 approx.
1012 S. Lake Park Blvd., Carolina Beach, NC 28428
I went to Brooklyn in Hampstead and it was the fucking bee's knees, my gullet got proper fucked. New real review in a day or two.
Also, yes the pizza here is actually $2+ tax, I was overcharged previously.