This ain't no hamburger
I went to my brother's house in Leland recently and he said "I'm getting In-n-Out for lunch," and I said, "no you're not, you prostitute." For the impossibly uninformed, In-n-Out is the best burger chain on the west coast. It kind of resembles Cook-out insofar as they like dashes in their names, they make good burgers for cheap, and they print Christian bullshit on their products. Another similarity is that neither of them sell goddamn pizza.
I remember Paul Stephen of the Star News mentioning the Princess Pizza guys would be opening this place. I would link to the article/blog post but the Star News site is still, inexplicably, locked behind a paywall. Anyhow, I guess the gents from Princess Pizza figured the name In-n-Out worked for an entire half of America, it oughta work for them, too. The name 'Princess Pizza' sure as fuck didn't work. What the fuck do I do at a place called Princess Pizza, play dress-up alongside my dollies and eat crumpets with my tea? Anyway this new joint is called In-n-Out and they serve pizza in Leland.
Three years ago I reviewed Princess Pizza in downtown Wilmington. They got one of the worst ratings I've ever given out: 7/8 recircs. "The sixth worst pizza in Wilmington" is not something they ever felt inclined to print on their pizza boxes, apparently. I bring this up because, man, I was not expecting to like In-n-Out's pizza, in any way, shape, or form.
My initial impression was that it looked like an amalgam of Papa Johns and NY-style pizza. The crust looked a bit poofy and soft in the faggotiest of ways. The cheese looked a bit overdone. But it had promise. It definitely looked better than the Princess garbage I've had in the past and at $9.99 for an 18", the opening of this pizza box held my interest.
The star here is the cheese. I assume it is Grande, but I'm not sure. It tastes like the cheese you get on every pizza that has ever knocked your socks off. Normally I'm not a cheese fiend but this is an exception. That is partly because the rest of the pizza was markedly crummier than the cheese. The sauce was alright. No complaints but no great compliments either. It wasn't a pasty, overspiced and overcooked mess but it wasn't great, either. Probably above average in terms of local pizzerias, though.
The problem with this pizza is with the dough. And it's not even really the formulation of the dough, because in a lot of ways it is pretty good. It seemed properly salted and the consistency was alright. The big problem is that they cook their pizzas on screens. This resulted in the cheese burning on top and the bottom of the pizza being whiter than my fat ass. If they cooked this thing directly on the deck it would be really, really, really good. Instead, it's just pretty good.
Man up, gents. Pizza peels might seem scary at first but you bitches can do it. I know you can. Contrary to what the pizzeria failures in this review's comments say, real pizza is never cooked on a screen. That's childish shit. Man the fuck up.
Also, what's the deal with turkey substitutes for pork products? I think these guys are Muslim. I don't mean that in mean/jokey way, I think they are. But c'mon guys. It's just a fuckin' pig. And I'm a fucking American let me eat dem pigs.
3 1/2 recircs out of a possible 8 recircs (lower is better)In-n-Out Pizza & Subs - $9.99 (18" pie) / $1.99 (slice)
1735 Reed Rd., Leland, NC 28451
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.
Oh spacecocks, don't tell me this place is turning into Slice of Life
Today doth mark the second birthday of this here blog. It's also the first time I've posted in about two months. I'm sorry about that. There's just not much pizza stuff going on in town. Well, there wasn't; now there's a new Pizzetta's location, Falcone's (reviewed shortly) and soon the old Goodfellas location will become Times Square Pizza, according to Paul Stephen of Star News/Port City Foodies. By the way, is there any good pizza near Times Square in NYC? I've never had any.
I would also like to take a second to beg you to vote for PCF in Encore's 'Best of Blog' thing. Naturally, I would ask that you vote for me, but I have an aversion to such things (hence why I didn't beg for nomination votes). In any case, please vote for PCF and not the blog where girls talk about not eating certain ingredients or the one where some girl chatters to herself every day (she won last year, super cool). PCF is a blog that deals with local shit. It's not just someone learning to type on the internet, regurgitating links she's clicked. But I digress.
Aww yiss. More awesome pizza in Leland, right? My Oleander Pizzetta's re-review has them ranked them near the top of the list, so word of a new location in Leland was great to hear. Me and Leland have a history. I lived there, worked nearby, golfed there many-a-time, fought the police, cursed my luck, transmogrified, space aliens ... Leland is just the place to be nowadays. You can tell that even moreso by the weird space age Lowes next door to Pizzetta's. If the design of that place is the future of food stores I don't know what I'll do. I'll probably hook a tube up from my ass to my mouth and just re-ingest my turds for sustenance because that place was scarier than a rapey dolphin cock.
Now that I got that off my chest let's get down to the pizza. It should be good. It's Pizzetta's, right? Everyone is sucking Pizzetta's dick. It's gonna be good, I know it.
Well. That definitely resembles a pizza in a number of ways. Let's give this puppy a chance. Stay cool. It's gonna be alright. Try to forget about the ludicrously overpriced draft beer you ordered because you are a fucking dumbass. Alright. Back to the pizza. Let us scrom a bite. Okay, a bit saucy, tastes alright but I'm having flashbacks of my first Pizzetta's review. Let's have a taste of the sauce itself. Ah, a good sauce. And the cheese, yes the cheese is also good. The crust, a bite or two from the rim. Pretty good. (Can you picture how I eat pizza when I review it? It's a freakshow). Let us continue eating this slice. It's a bit heavy, dense. The large amount of cheese and sauce kind of overpowering what, at first, seems like a decent crust. And at first it's not such a big deal because the sauce and the cheese are good.
But there is something weird going on with the crust. The bottom of the crust. Yes, I picked off the bottom part of the crust and tasted it individually. It left some weird film of gross-taste on my tongue. I even smelled the bottom of this slice (picture that, too). It was really weird, I don't know what it was. It tasted like cleaner but that can't be it, right? Fuck me I ate this shit yesterday and as I'm writing this I'm tasting this poop on my tongue all over again. My best guess, based on zero knowledge and the fact that the bottom crust was mysteriously greasy, I would say that it was the taste of burnt oil.
Burnt oil is the pits, man. It also makes no sense for the bottom of a pizza to be greasy, as this one was. You make a pizza, you slide it off a wooden peel into an oven, you pull it out with a metal peel and you slice it. Why is the bottom of the pie greasy? Using some kind of a screen? Beyond that, are they using extra virgin olive oil or some other shit that burns at a low temperature? Because it made the pizza taste foul. You ever watch a cooking show and they say something is 'cloyingly sweet'? Well this was 'cloyingly foul'.
I'm not rating this one yet. They've been open about a week and I guess I'll give em another chance. Foul pizza + bar with overpriced beer = Slice of Life. Guys, I know it seems like a good business model, but so did 2 Guys Grill until they forgot why they succeeded in the first place. Then they started dying off and getting sued and whatever the fuck else is going on with them.
Also the location is fucking horrific. I mean, the restaurant was jam-packed (probably because they just opened) but that shopping center is a weird clusterfuck of idiocy and it's beyond out-of-the-way and hidden, even for the goddamn hillbillies in Leland.
?? recircs out of a possible 8 recircs (lower is better)Pizzetta's- $2.50 before tax 1144 E. Cutlar Crossing, Leland, NC 28451
There's hope for Leland yet
I fucking love this place. I'll cut to the chase and say that this is not the best pizza reviewed here. I love this place anyway. The space is real big and stupid, not resembling a pizzeria at all. I love this place anyway. There's a formality going on here which I fail to genuinely appreciate. I was hoping Tony's would go the traditional pizzeria route. I may have been praying, I don't know. I knew the space was too big for that purpose, having been to Antonio's in the past, but I still had hope.
The good news is that Tony's is not Antonio's. It's not some generic shit hole serving crappy slices in hell forever. It's a place that very likely serves totally decent Italian-American food that also offers pizza (slices, at that). It's basically a fucking dream. It's like someone shitcanned Antonio's and handed the location over to people that didn't suck dicks for a living. That's basically exactly what happened.
The bad news is that the slice I got wasn't quite what I was expecting. Truth be told I was expecting too much. According to PCF, this place is the result of some serious heavy hitters joining forces: I <3 NY joining forces with Luigi's. I've never eaten at Luigi's, all I know about it is that people said it used to be incredibly good and, according to a friend who worked there, Luigi was Mexican. Is that relevant? I hope not but that's for your racist ass to decide.
I got a fucking slice of pizza:
I sort of hate getting small slices of pizza. Only because I know that a larger slice of pizza doesn't cost the owners much more. We're talking about a matter of cents, or something. That said, this slice wasn't the smallest I've gotten and it was one of the cheapest. So fuck everything I just said. In fact, fuck this entire review.
There is one singular problem with this slice. The crust was far too dry. Overcooked or poor dough formula? I don't know and I'm sick of trying to figure this shit out from afar. Regardless, this was a great slice of pizza. The sauce was great. It was fucking great. The cheese was unassailable. Really the only problem was that the crust was exceptionally dry. It's kind of shocking considering how much regard I have for I <3 NY. Also the last time I went to I <3 NY, the crust was so far from dry that it was terrible. I went there recently and it was fucking sort of shit. Fucking pissed me off. But is wasn't dry.
Maybe I went here with too much expectation. Considering the people running this place I was expecting Tony's to trump all others I've reviewed. But that's kind of unreasonable. They're brand new. Still, they should understand their dough and oven well enough to prepare a better crust than this. Even so, it was quite good. Compared to the place that used to be here, Antonio's, Tony's is fucking light years beyond them. They don't even have any competition in Leland, so they're fucking set. The only thing that gives me pause is the large location and sit-down atmosphere.
Leland is a terrible place, slightly worse than Wilmington. I fucking hate it. If you are ever there I suggest you go to Tony's.
2 1/2 recircs out of a possible 8 recircs (lower is better)Tony's NY Pizza & Trattoria - $1.99
1107 New Point Blvd. Leland, NC 28451