Pizza On the Road – Louisville, KY

As a part of Music City Mike‘s recent trip to the Forecastle Festival with the I Phone Kid, the Snob got to conduct his first planned pizza-hunting exploration of another city. Louisville has always been one of my favorite places to visit and in the past I had only dined for pie at The Original Impellizzeri’s on Bardstown Road (one of the hippest streets in America) which was good but far from being New York-style pie. So prior to the journey I did some on-line research. The multi-location Wicks Pizza seemed to be the local “Best Of” winner, however it too didn’t come across as anywhere near NY-style so I chose to pass on it.

The target destination from my research wound up being Spinelli’s Pizza and their Downtown location which would be convenient to the Festival as would their 10am to 5am hours. This just sounded like my kind of place although I was unsure what billing themselves as “Philly’s Own” would mean. Well the Kid and I made our way there about midnight on our first night there and were a bit surprised at the considerable amount of late night activity in their dungeon-like basement location.

Our disappointment started with having to not only be seated to order a slice through a waitress, but to then have to wait 30 minutes for it, even though the slices we ate were sitting there in the counter when we arrived! The slice itself was oversized (a bargain for only $3.35) but was so thin that the point was actually flapped over when placed in front of me. The cheese was odd and a bit plastic-like with no run in it whatsoever. There also wasn’t much taste to the sauce but the crust was cooked rather well on the bottom. I had noticed during my wait that several customers were leaving their crust and I soon understood why. There was way too much crust at the end and it was so chewy that my jaw actually hurt from chewing it all down. Despite being disappointed, in a way the slice was somewhat tasty not making this a total waste of my time. But then again it could have just been my late night hunger.

PIZZA SNOB RATING     *** Better than Dominos

Spinelli’s Pizzeria
239 S. 5th St.
Louisville, KY

Our next stop was an unplanned “drive-by” the next day as we sought a downtown lunch place at which to sit out an afternoon rain delay to the Festival activities. The Kid spotted the sign at DeVino’s Deli that flashed “pizza” amongst its wares. This seemed to be a popular lunch spot and the plain and pepperoni pie I spotted on the counter looked very promising. This turned out however to be a big mistake as instead of throwing my slice back into the pizza oven for a reheat, the guy sprinkled some weird additional cheese atop the slice and actually warmed it in a microwave! The extra cheese tasted awful and the crust had totally lost its texture after being nuked. The sauce was also flat making this a total waste. This is probably a great lunch place but I’d pass on the pizza.

PIZZA SNOB RATING     ** Why Did I Waste Those Calories?

DeVino’s Deli
104 W Main St
Louisville, KY 40202
502 – 569-3939
[No website]

We would manage one more slice before we left town. At the Festival I asked the folks at the Louisville magazine promo booth what the best NY pie in the city was. The guy there told me of new place that a friend of his that just moved there from New York liked. He said that he heard you “fold the pizza there and everything.”  His partner in the booth then showed up to reveal that the place was called Papalino’s Pizzeria and the next day the Kid and I stopped by their Highlands location for a lunch time snack.

Although not as bad as our first Louisville adventure, they too were a bit slow to order. It also appeared that they only partially cooked their pies in advance and thus gave them more than just a reheat when you ordered a slice. Mine came out piping hot and like Spinelli’s was also oversized. The Kid called it “college-sized” and it was actually about double-sized normal and I literally folded it in half in order to comfortably eat it. (It was also however a bargain at only $3.50 a slice.) The crust was a bit thin and also could have been a bit crispier. Sadly, the cheese and sauce were just OK and nothing special resulting in a minor disappointment given the recommendation. I would like to add however that they did offer a pleasant outdoor location.

PIZZA SNOB RATING     *** Better than Dominos

Papalino’s Pizzeria
947 Baxter Avenue
Louisville, KY

So that’s all that we had time for this trip. And despite the lack of finding some great classic NY pie, we still love Louisville which we will now forever think of as the “Town of the Oversized Slice!”



  1. “The Kid” thinks Papalino’s was legit. Mmmmm.

  2. […] variety of food, and drink bourbon. Unfortunately for me–as I have discussed in an earlier blog–pizza has not been one of its greatest […]

  3. If you are ever in Louisville again you need to try Bonnie and Clyde’s. Cash only, but delicious.

    1. Thanks for the tip–I’ve added it to my list. I will be back in L-ville for the Forecastle Music Festival in the summer and will most definitely go.

  4. Wicks is my favorite followed by Bearnos, but they’re not pizza by the slice places. They really specialize in lots of toppings. I’m a sauce guy more than anything, so what I like you may not. My step mother from NY was baffled you couldn’t get pizza by the slice here. Spinellis appeal is they stay open till 5. Thats about it. Might wanna try Za’s also.

    1. Thanks Bill–I have passed by Za’s a zillion times–need to check it out next trip to my fave city.

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