Since becoming official, The Pizza Snob has yet to spend any extended time in Memphis. Last year on our annual Christmas drive to Texas, I made a quick pit stop at the tasty Memphis Pizza Cafe. Following suit this year, the trip landed me an unexpected visit to Little Italy.
With Ms. Pie staying back in Texas, it was just The Kid behind the wheel, The Philosopher sleeping in the back seat, and me. Hunger set in as it was getting dark on that Saturday evening. The Kid, who likes to eat healthfully, came up with a route through Memphis for us to grab some takeaway from Whole Foods.
The Kid’s “shortcut” took us seemingly forever along the busy commercial district of Union Avenue. I spotted the words “NY-Style” atop a hole-in-the wall pizza joint at the end of an old strip center. I immediately made The Kid turn us around, and he parked the car right in front of Little Italy’s darkened store front. It was time for a quick slice.
Little Italy was bustling with activity. Since it only had a small room with a limited seating area, most of the pies were going out the front door as either deliveries or takeaways. I ordered a plain cheese slice at the counter for a total of $2.72 and took a seat. Looking around, I saw that they were pretty much a pizza, salads, and subs place although their menu also offered pasta, pizza rolls, and a few Italian deserts.
The first glance of my slice opened my eyes wide with anticipation. This seriously hot slice was put together slim and trim in truly classic proportion. But, I had to flop it into my mouth when I picked it up to eat. I immediately detected it was major mushy. Somewhere in the process of reheating, my slice lost any crispness it may have once possessed. Short of putting it in a microwave (which I didn’t notice), I’m not sure how they ruined this potentially brilliant slice of pizza. For otherwise, the cheese, sauce and oil were all fresh and delicious. Is this the way they always serve it, or did they just get sloppy and miss their chance to impress the Snob?
About half-way through, I took what remained on the white paper plate back to the car. The Kid, who has a good pizza-upbringing, immediately said, “Wow that looks like a ‘four’ to me!” I then let him have a bite to see for himself. He agreed with my Snob assessment—a slice that just did not live up to its potential. Finishing it off in the car, I found the pizza bones at the end good and chewy—another sign of this slice’s possibility.
We continued on our journey to Whole Foods where we, of course, did not get any pizza. Our quick stop at Little Italy was unfortunate, but, if I make it back to Memphis with more time on my hands, I will certainly give them another chance to prove themselves.
PIZZA SNOB RATING ***1/2 Working on a Good Thing
1495 Union Avenue
Memphis, TN 38104