The Pizza Snob has a simple goal: To visit and review as many of the USA’s pizza places as fast as possible. During times of less travel, I check out Nashville area pizzerias. Luckily for the Snob, the music industry has created a New York to Nashville axis which brings good pizza-makers to town. I suspect even though word-of-mouth has directed me to the best in the area, there could be a few others out there worthy of my time.
Sal’s Pizza, not to be confused with Sal’s Family Pizza in Franklin, has had two Nashville locations for a few years and most recently opened a third in Brentwood in the space vacated by Joey’s House of Pizza. Brentwood is an affluent town nestled between Nashville and Franklin where I live. Sal’s is a great location in the heart of the Maryland Farms business district, a rather self-contained area in which traffic issues create a need for lunch spots to be in close proximity.
Since Sal’s moving in didn’t create as much local buzz as Joey’s moving out, my first chance to give it a try was not until sometime last year when one of my fave “non-pizza” lunch spots in the same center was too crowded. At this initial visit I opted for their full Italian lunch buffet which I quite enjoyed. The buffet included a chance at some cheese slices which left me little desire to try Sal’s again. When sharing this with another Brentwood business owner, he questioned the wisdom of opening a pizza joint in the same spot without, in his words, “being as good as or better than Joey’s.”
I recently put Sal’s to the full Snob test during a two-day training session my real job required in Maryland Farms. Day one finished early, so I stopped by Sal’s only to discover it was too late in the day for a slice. Instead, I got a large cheese pie to bring home as a pre-dinner snack for the Philosopher and me. We enjoyed it and had no trouble in knocking it off in record time. It was surprisingly good with high marks to its tasty spicing. Both the cheese and crust were cooked just fine with my only negative comment being that it was bit heavy on the dough—especially the end crust. Nonetheless, it was a decent classic take-home pie made by someone with the right tools and ingredients. I am, nonetheless, hesitant to rate a place on a take-home pie since a fresh out-of-the-oven experience can really make a difference.
To my total surprise, on day two of our training session, lunch was ordered in from Sal’s! Of pepperoni or veggie, I went for the latter and found that the delight of yesterday’s take-home pie was not going to be repeated. This pie was greatly undercooked and was a dull, chewy, doughy disappointment. The pepperoni-eaters in the room all made an effort to tell the Snob of their similar overall disappointment.
Confused by the discrepancy, I paid Sal’s a visit during lunchtime to see if I could grab a quick slice and close the book on them. My only option again was a cheese slice off the buffet ($2.50) which turned out to be horrible doughy and no joy to eat at all. Despite its nice taste and good ingredients, it was limp, soggy and mushy! Why would a place with the obvious wares and potential to make a great pie serve up slices this way? The Snob’s word of advice to Sal’s—slim down your pie a bit, cook it crispier, and offer to reheat the buffet slices for your discerning customers.
Until then, I see no reason to visit Sal’s again.
PIZZA SNOB RATING **1/2 Not a Total Waste
214 Ward Circle, Suite 400
Brentwood, TN 37027