The Pizza Snob and his posse went on a Napa walk-about after finishing at our destination pizza stop, the superfine Neapolitan pizza-maker Azzurro Pizzeria e Enoteca. Working our way around an unfamiliar downtown, you could not help but notice the poles of small signs pointing you to local establishments. The placard for Velo Pizzeria kept getting my attention.
Although Velo did not pique my interest during my initial internet pizza search, there were three reasons that made me want to give this place a try: (1) I may never see Napa again and this would be another place to write about, (2) it might be an NY slice, and (3) all that walking made be hangry. (Sorry, I just had to see if my spell-checker would allow of one 2018’s new dictionary entries.)
With the memory of those Velo signs in my brain, we stumbled upon the place as we approached Main Street after walking along the pretty Napa River. Their flashy-looking brick building was an eye-catcher, especially with the curious bronze statue atop its awning. The best I could make of it was that it depicted a middle-aged couple out walking; she was carrying a briefcase and he was scratching his back with a golf club.
Since no one else wanted anything to eat, my mates waited outside at the lone small outdoor table while I went in to check things out. It was mid-afternoon, and there was no one inside the place that looked to be more of a fancy wine bar than a pizza joint. Though the sign in the window said: “Buy a Slice. Buy a Pie,” when I got inside, there were no slices in sight. However, they said they could do a slice ($4.00) in 4-to-5 minutes, so I requested my usual plain cheese thing.
It didn’t take as long as promised, and I soon was looking down at a big fat slice that was as white as snow. Before I could even start eating, my cohorts were firing off insults left and right! Mrs. Pie said it looked “Southern.” (Her pet term for big, fat sloppy over-cheesed pizza.) My son, The Kid, said, “When pizza looks like a Mozzarella stick, you’ve got a problem!
To me, it was more like eating an open-faced grilled Mozzarella cheese sandwich. There was just so much cheese and dough, you could barely taste, let alone even see the tomato sauce. The other things about it, likely a result of its over-sizing, were that it absorbed so little heat from the oven that it was a bit cold and it was also way too soft and dry. Doughy crust like this one had also makes for a slice that is just way too filing.
Eating an open-faced grilled cheese sandwich isn’t the worst thing in the world, so by no means was this a miserable dining experience. It’s just that Velo’s specimen bore little resemblance to a good slice of pizza. Let’s just sum this up as an attempt to make something that resembles NY pizza without the traditional skills of how to do it.
PIZZA SNOB RATING **1/2 Perhaps Not a Total Waste
807 Main Street
Napa, CA 94558