The Pizza Snob recently caught some pizza news courtesy of the Nashville Scene weekly. Sal’s Pizza, holder of the sacred pizza ground once occupied by Joey’s House of Pizza in the Maryland Farms area of Nashville suburb, Brentwood, has closed and relinquished its space to Westshore Pizza & Cheesesteaks.
Westshore is a Florida chain of about 30 locations in the Sunshine State. A corporate enterprise on the go, their website will walk you through the process of how you too could open one of their franchises. The Tennessee location joins one in Ohio as the only two currently outside of Florida.
Pizza chains, even ones this small, just ain’t the Snob’s thing. If it weren’t for the Sal’s and Joey’s angles, Westshore may not even have gotten a look. And, to top things off, the pizzas pictured on their website look over-cheesed, fat-crusted and not at all appetizing. Nonetheless, I grabbed my local Pizza Buddy, and we met there for lunch on a recent groggy Monday.
The faded imprint of the Sal’s sign is still visible behind Westshore’s new logo. A great dining location, the busy Maryland Farms office district is certainly worthy of a pizza joint, and the diversity of the Westshore menu is probably a plus. But, how can you not question the skills of someone from Florida in capturing the essence of the respective New York and Philadelphia specialties of pizza and cheesesteaks?
Saving the Philly for another day, Buddy and I stuck with our basic lunchtime orders of two plain cheese slices. At the long counter, I spotted some hope when the slices on display looked much better than the website pictures. Slices were not advertised on the menu, but we were told of the two slice and drink special of $7.00. Apart from the New York area, it’s rare to find a place serving slices outside of the lunch hour.
Taking a booth inside the big square room full of mostly male business types, our pairs of slices were brought to our table by a friendly host. Crammed onto a single paper plate, both the shape and coloring looked odd. Slightly mis-cut to an irregular-size, the tomato sauce boomed bright red in spots, and there were some blackened bumps on the crust. The loose-fitting cheese was also bright white in a few places, and on top there was a rarely-seen sprinkle of parmesan cheese.
The slices took a bit of caution to safely maneuver around the sliding cheese, but with the crust reasonably crisp, it wasn’t too oily, and a simple fold made it easy to manage. Heated just right and ready to eat, the Westshore slice was much better than I could have ever imagined. In fact, it was overall satisfying to the pizza sensors in my taste buds. However, it certainly was not as trim in its fixings as I would have preferred. Slim this one down, cook it a little crisper and it’ll be much better.
Buddy and I were pretty much in agreement on this one. He even said he’d go back—a comment I qualified with “out of convenience.” Westshore makes a likable though imperfectly-constructed slice. Surprisingly good one for a chain, it’s still however no competition for Joey’s, Manny’s or Five Points, which remain that best the Music City has to offer.
PIZZA SNOB RATING ***1/2 Working on a Good Thing
Westshore Pizza & Cheesesteaks
214 Ward Circle #400
Brentwood, TN 37027