I seldom if ever will pass on a new pizza experience. Even if I am already stuffed to the gills, there usually is some room to squeeze in a slice in the name of research. Usually, I am not able to always do this when Mrs. Pie is along for the ride—unless of course it involves gelato!
Following our recent Pizza State adventure at Lodi Pizza, a wrong turn led to an amazing discovery—both pizza and gelato at the co-branded Pizza Mania / Gelato Mania complex on the main drag in Garfield, NJ. For Mrs. Pie and I, no retail marriage could better represent a union of our personal food passions.
Honestly, I was a little reluctant to try a Pizza Mania slice after just having three over in Lodi and first savoring some sweet delicious gelato with Mrs. Pie in the adjoining business next store. But, after letting my palate settle, I couldn’t resist the opportunity, so I moseyed over to sample a slice.
The long counter displayed a wide selection of exotic slice varieties (e.g. a chicken Caesar salad slice) up for sale while their broader menu focused on salads and sandwiches. Delivery action was quite busy at this hour. There were no plain cheese slices in view, but when I ordered one ($2.25) it quickly appeared from storage space under the counter. Mrs. Pie opted to close her evening’s meal like the French do with a salad.
After a reheat in the CPO (“conventional pizza oven”), my slice came out looking a bit too hot and steamy to eat right off, so I gave it sometime too cool. Often this is a sign that it is carrying perhaps a bit too much oily cheese which is retaining all that heat.
I quickly realized that this was just a run-of-the-mill attempt at a classic slice. There was nothing special about it, especially one coming from the Pizza State. The crust was rather dry and tasteless, and despite some char on the bottom, it lacked any real crispness. As I expected, the slice was overall too oily and cheesy. Neither the tomato sauce nor cheese was screaming with any real noticeable flavor. It did have the classic construction and long thin look, but while Pizza Mania’s slice looked the part, it was just a bit too plain and dull for the Snob.
As for the other half of the operation, Mrs. Pie was thumbs ups about the gelato. However, there’s just much better pizza to find in Jersey. It was however a nice, classy joint, and I do see the possible potential of launching great pizza/gelato chain.
PIZZA SNOB RATING *** ½ Working on a Good Thing
Pizza Mania / Gelato Mania
390 Midland Avenue
Garfield, NJ 07026