We’d been living in the Midwest for two years when, in our never ending quest to find decent pizza outside the New York metropolitan area, Lil and I took our tastebuds to Ohio to sample Cincinnati pizza.
First of all, just spelling Cincinnati correctly (for a non-Ohioan) is a challenge -- but there are signs all over the place so we were able to figure it out. We did get a little bit lost in downtown Cinci (our first adventure with a GPS!), which only served to make us hungrier!
And on to what really matters: the pizza. We tried two places, Dewey's, which is supposed to be the quintessential Cincinnati pizza, and Adriatico’s New York Style Pizza.
We went to Dewey’s flagship location in the suburb of Oakley. The ambiance was on the trendy side with a college-y feel and music a little too loud. They make a big thing at Dewey’s about the fact that you can watch the pizza makers make the pizzas! Behind a glass window! Of course if you had a pizza place in Brooklyn, New York, where you couldn’t watch the guys twirl the pies, it wouldn’t do any business. And behind a window? Oh well, it’s Ohio.
Dewey’s is known for their ‘specialty’ pizzas. We know this because the waitress told us. And you can get ½ and ½ pies – another big whoop for those of us from the East Coast. So we ordered one pie (you can’t buy slices) that was ½ Dewey’s Original (a plain mozzarella-and-sauce pizza) and ½ Socrates’ Revenge, a specialty featuring Olive Oil, Minced Garlic, Mozzarella-Fontina Blend, Spinach, Black Olives, Green Olives, Feta Cheese, Red Onions, and Tomatoes.
There’s nothing original about Dewey’s Original. I took a bite, looked into Lillian’s beautiful brown eyes and said, “DiGiorno’s.” Further tasting did not change my mind. Now when I have to eat frozen pizza, DiGiorno’s is better than most, but I wouldn't leave the house for it.
Lillian’s review: sauce out of a jar, cheese on the chewy side, and crust was light (not what we would call pizza crust) with some nice air bubbles. “Tastes similar to what we’ve had in Michigan,” she said.
That was not a rave review, since we hadn't yet discovered any good pizza in Michigan.
On the other hand, Socrates’ Revenge (I’m guessing it’s the feta cheese and massive quantity of olives that gets it a Greek name) was extremely tasty although not what we would call pizza. The spinach and red onions were fresh, and overall it was a nice blend, says Lillian.
So if you’re going to Dewey’s, stick with the specialty pizzas. And if you're from New York, don’t expect pizza.
Dewey's - various locations in the Cincinnati area. http://www.deweyspizza.com.
Adriatico’s New York Style
Normally, when a place calls itself New York Style Pizza, we just don’t even bother. But this is a highly rated place in Cincinnati, so we figured we should check it out.
A pleasant surprise, although we had to take the pizza with us as there’s no place to sit. It’s purely takeout and delivery, very close to the University of Cincinnati. Since it was our second pizza stop of the day, we opted for an 8” personal pizza, mozzarella and sauce, no other toppings.
First, the crust: Thick, almost Sicilian, undercooked and doughy but not heavy, with some garlic butter on the outer crust. Very tasty. The sauce was very sweet, bordering on sugary, but just on the safe side of that border. Lillian detected a hint of spice which probably came from the sprinkling of oregano. The cheese was chewy (must be an Ohio thing). Overall, I was pretty happy with it and Lillian liked it too.
It may seem strange that the best Cincinnati pizza calls itself New York Style, but if you’re in Cincinnati and you need a pizza, order one from this place - just make sure you already have a place to sit!
Adriatico's New York Style, 3205 Jefferson Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45220 (513) 281-4344
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