Original Review: 7/25/12
Previous Rating: ***1/2 Better Than Dominos
Late one night two years ago, after rocking out at the Forecastle Festival, my son and I grabbed some not so quick slices at the busy downtown Spinelli’s Pizzeria. They weren’t bad, but were clearly not worth the effort. However, on my trips to Louisville since then, I have been intrigued by the cool-looking colorful blue building that houses their Highlands location. During our annual visit this year to Forecastle, we decided it was time to give this Spinelli’s location a try for an early Saturday lunch.
Billed for whatever reason as “Philly’s Own,” Spinelli’s has six locations in Louisville in addition to one outlier in Tempe, AZ. All six in L-ville are late-night haunts open from 11am to 5am that deliver until 4:30am. They serve pizzas, sandwiches, Strombolis, appetizers and salads. What I discovered last time was that although their slices are pricey ($3.75 plus $0.75 each topping), they are big—almost to the point of being “double-wides.”
Starting with a rock solid “keep out if you don’t belong here” windowless entry door, this place has the feel of one of those dark and dungy rooms where punkers and skateboarders go to hear loud and angry punk music. The comic book-lined walls and graffiti-strewn bathroom further contribute to this look. The Snob respectfully crowns this Spinelli’s location as the “Punk Rock Pizzeria.”
The old vintage convertible sitting in the entry room available for seating was certainly something out of left field. But with the car already occupied, we grabbed a booth in the main dining room off to the left and ordered some plain cheese slices from our waitperson.
Getting right to the point, Spinelli’s pizza was a lot better than I remembered it to be. Like last time though, it did take quite a long time for it to arrive despite the facts that they were not very busy and that there were plenty of slices waiting on the counter.
My big plain cheese slice was constructed well—a sleek amount of cheese atop a thin crust. (A refreshing sight after seeing some horrible-looking “cheese on bread” offerings as we walked up Bardstown Road.) However, there was an imperfection to this otherwise good slice: it was not cooked evenly throughout. Some parts were hot and some were not—both on top and bottom, and overall, it could have been hotter. The front end of the crust was undercooked which made it floppy while the shiny end crust was a little too doughy and pastry-like. The blend of the tomato sauce and cheese however was quite flavorful and more than satisfying to my taste buds.
My slice just didn’t have that oven-fresh feeling of a slice that you’d get in Manhattan. I’m puzzled about what happened. Did it sit out too long before they brought it to me, or was it just not reheated properly?
Nevertheless, it was tasty and enjoyable, and I’d gladly eat it again. While probably the best slice I have had so far in Louisville, Spinelli’s slice seems to have greater potential. I came close to giving them an even bigger upgrade, however I feel that their execution still needs some work. Let’s see what happens next year when we make our annual trek to Louisville—still one of my favorite American cities.
NEW PIZZA SNOB RATING ***1/2 Working On A Good Thing
614 Baxter Avenue
Louisville, KY 40205