The opening of Slim & Husky’s Pizza Beeria in the Buchanan section of Nashville’s Germantown district attracted a bit of buzz from the local on-line food blogs. While new restaurants happen in Music City faster than new country songs, the photos of this place looked slick, and folks were excited about its location in this undeveloped area. My advance research at S&H’s website however found more focus on their beer (which adds the term “beeria” to the dictionary) than their pizza.
Anxious to give S&H a try, a lunch date with an out-of-town pizza-adventuring friend was my perfect opportunity. Hitting the place on a Tuesday at high noon, we were stunned to see a lengthy line and a packed parking lot at the polished-up free-standing building.
Immediate disappointment set in when I saw that S&H was a made-to-order assembly line pizza joint. It so saddens the Snob that more and more of these “short cut to a pizza” places are popping up instead of the traditional “make a pie and slice it up” ones.
It took us over 30 minutes to get inside the front door before we even queued up at the counter to place our order. The line behind us never waned, and the friendly hostess said that it’s been this way since the day they opened. I could only suspect that workers from nearby government offices are to blame.
The S&H pizza process is prominently presented on a big sign with some pre-set choices on top and the fixings for making your own at the bottom. The sizes are “slim” ($10 for 10-inch) and “husky” ($14 for 16-inch). There is no additional charge to add as many toppings as you like. The hostess had told me that slim and husky were lifelong friends who together created the concept for this place. She wasn’t however able to tell me how a place that just opened was labeled as “established in 2015.”
Looking around the crowded room, the bench tables were full, and an empty outdoor patio just begged to be outfitted with additional seating. The pizzas I spotted, at least those without serious topping abuse, looked much more appetizing than I’ve seen at other places of this genre.
The assembly process starts with the “dough-man” stretching out a fresh piece to into an oblong-shaped crust platform. He then bastes something across the top which I though was olive oil, but was told was a garlic salad dressing. I went the husky route, and avoiding their cornucopia of non-traditional ingredients, I stayed basic – just tomato sauce (choosing “classic” over “spicy”) and mozzarella cheese. After spreading the dark “gravy” over the crust and piling up the shredded “mootz,” my pie-maker asked if I wanted to add some “fresh cheese.” Replying “why not,” he added a few sliced chunks of the white stuff on top of the shreds. Then, onto the conveyor belt oven it went, and my pie was ready in about 5 minutes.
Despite the long wait from being so busy, I must give old Slim and Husky kudos for creating a real smooth operation and interesting concept, even though I hold such contempt for non-traditional places like this. For check out I was given a wooden coin marked “husky” that served as my bill at the counter where I also had the opportunity to choose from a selection of 14 inviting and enticing local beers on tap.
Remarkably, the finished product presented a rather pretty picture. As for execution, the crust looked to be well-cooked, but there was little blending of the cheese and sauce. I would soon discover that adding that extra fresh cheese was a mistake resulting in an over-cheesed pie. The oblong creation was cut into tiny squares and was served good and hot. When I picked the first one up, I discovered the flakiness of cornmeal added to the lightly-charred rust. While untraditional, this would prove to be a positive in that the fresh and chewy crust was this pie’s best feature.
The mozzarella was delightfully fresh and tasty, but there was just way too much, and it simply wore me out. The tomato sauce sure got my attention and took the prize for the tangiest I’ve ever had atop a pizza. Its kick was so strong it made my tongue tingle making me wonder what in the world the “spicy” would have been like. However, eventually like the cheese, it also wore me out. Likewise, the taste of the garlic salad dressing became a bit overbearing, and all I can say is that it tasted like salad dressing, something I’d rather not have on my pizza.
To sum it all up, S&H’s pizza may be the best made-to-order I’ve had, but that isn’t saying much. Preparing a pizza this way just leaves a lot to be desired, and it’s not a place I’d ever consider going back to. These short cuts to a pizza just don’t cook up like the real thing.
On the other hand, S&H have created an interesting concept that people seem to love. Likewise, I applaud them for bring life to the neighborhood. I wish them success and I predict that their franchise-ready concept will no doubt be a winner for them in the long run. Maybe there is a place for joints like this, but let’s all pray that traditional pizza joints never die.
PIZZA SNOB RATING *** Better Than Dominos
Slim & Husky’s Pizza Beeria
911 Buchanan Street
Nashville, TN 37208