A few weeks after my holiday on the Florida Gulf Coast, I was having breakfast with a British friend in London’s Soho. After catching up on the many years in between when we last met, my mention of Sarasota had him rather surprisingly mention his recent visit to St. Armands Circle. How odd it was that in the past half year, we both had visited the same place some thousand mile across the Atlantic from where we now sat.
Mrs. Pie and I stumbled upon the lovely upscale shopping center by chance and walked its circumference visiting some of the 100+ unique shops. I knew there had to be pizza somewhere, and just as we were about to finish our loop, there appeared Rico’s Pizzeria & Pasta House where I commissioned myself to sample a slice.
I found it quite odd that I had already visited a pizza place named Rico’s in Sarasota just over the bridge from Siesta Key. There was no resemblance between these two establishments, and my later research revealed no connection either. A coincidence as odd as my breakfast chat in London. This Rico’s was from Sicily and did have two other locations in the Sunshine State.
“Rico’s Pizzeria on the Circle” proudly described their pizza as “hand-tossed” which to me is a completely unnecessary description that in no way makes one’s pizza by any means more desirable. They also had a banner posted advertising that the local paper voted them as “Best Pizza” and “Best Chicken Wings.” I should have taken warning from this red flag of two menu items that simply do not belong together.
I ordered my plain cheese slice inside ($3.21) and went out front to wait at an outdoor seat in the fresh evening air. I was quite surprised to see that I would receive the added free service of curbside delivery. This joy however was short-lived when I gazed upon the vast unattractive whiteness from my slice’s lack of tomato sauce. Were those large cans of Saporito Pizza Sauce I spotted below the counter there for show or perhaps the chicken wings?
Said slice was also fat, doughy and not crisp. Just about anything that could look wrong about a slice could be found on this one. So, just as my eyes made me anticipate, Rico’s slice was indeed a disappointment. Thinking it couldn’t get any worse, when I tried to pick it up, the front tip was so heavy that I couldn’t lift it off the plate without it collapsing. Before proceeding, I had to go back inside to get a fork and some napkins.
I dug into the mass of cheese with the fork and found its taste rather unpleasant, likely from the fact that it was extremely over-seasoned with a garlic taste that would linger for the rest of the evening. A taste failure for sure. This slice just wasn’t any good. It was even too fat to be properly warmed up all the way through which also made it lukewarm
So, if you get to visit beautiful St. Armands Circle, enjoy the beautiful art and landscape, enjoy the shops, but forget about the pizza.
PIZZA SNOB RATING ** Why Did I Waste Those Calories?
Rico’s Pizzeria & Pasta House
322 John Ringling Blvd.
St. Armands Circle
Sarasota, FL 34236