For the second weekend in a row, the Pizza Snob somehow found himself in Knoxville. Although this trip came with no specific pizza plans, the inevitable was sure to happen. A late Saturday afternoon stroll with Mrs. Pie through a quiet Old Town led me to a sign that stopped me in my tracks: “New Jersey style by the slice.” The storefront making this claim was DaVinci’s Pizza and Calzones.
Old Town is a small nightlife area fashioned from an old industrial district. It looked like a place we may have enjoyed in our youth, but with little shopping in sight, Mrs. Pie was ready to abandon the summer heat. I needed to make my stop at DaVinci’s a quick one.
DaVinci’s long shotgun room looked like a Jersey pizza joint with counter and oven to the left and tables and chairs to the right. Underneath the “Order Here” sign I did just that and summoned a very uninviting cheese slice out of the glass cage warmer on the counter. This contraption looked like the one that cooked those horrible-looking movie theater hot dogs that we would avoid as kids.
Well, I should have avoided this slice as well. It obviously had sat under the warming light way too long and was long past expiration. The server should have never sold me a slice like that. It was extremely overcooked and bone dry. The cheese was too dried up and disintegrated for me to taste much of anything. The dried-out crust was like cardboard. I managed however to detect that I did not like the tart-tasting tomato sauce.
The only thing to connect this slice to Jersey was that it was thin and not overindulged with its ingredients. To say that it was crisp is really not a compliment for something so burnt. Why they don’t use their oven to reheat slices is beyond me. That warming light just sucked out all of the life from that poor slice which really belonged in the trash bin. That small dismal slice (unworthy of $3.00 in the first place) was an embarrassment to the great state of New Jersey.
The next day I spotted another DaVinci’s location across town. I somehow suspect that they wouldn’t be in business if they can’t serve up a better pizza than what I had the day before. But I wasn’t ready to give them a second chance just yet.
PIZZA SNOB RATING *1/2 Thinking About the Trashcan
DaVinci’s Pizza and Calzones (Old City)
113 South Central Street
Knoxville, TN 37902