Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Pizza in Providence

I had occasion to spend the day in Providence, Rhode Island yesterday. I had about 5 hours free in the afternoon (a luxury, I assure you), so I decided to check out what Providence had to offer in terms of pizza. Before my trip, I went on Yelp to aid my search for good pizza places. I made a list of four and searched them out.

Three of the four are located in East Providence. The fourth will remain a mystery because I could not find it. Bob & Timmy's Pizza on Spruce Street, you will be my quest on another visit. I did notice a prevalence of whole wheat crusts, which were delicious if unexpected. Also, each place had what I'll call a "WTF Pizza" - some real doozies.

I was planning to try a slice of cheese at each place to properly compare their qualities, but I gave up on that the minute I laid eyes on the slice I had at Fellini's, my first stop. Pesto, scallion, and pepperoni on wheat crust. Oh yes, it's as amazing as it sounds. It is also as oily as it sounds. Pair the usual oil slick that comes with pepperoni pizza with pesto sauce and what you have is 4-5 used napkins by the end of the slice. Not that I'm complaining! This was one of the best slices I've had in a long time. The crust was thin and could have been a bit crisper, but the pepperoni and pesto went together perfectly, so I didn't really care. I also spied pizza with bacon, and a pizza with shaved butternut squash on it. Too bad I had to pace myself to make it through all 3 places - I wanted to try a little of each. I noticed that every other person who came in ordered a spinach pie - perhaps they are crazy and did not see the delicious pizza sitting in front of them?

Fellini's WTF Pizza: Philly Steak Pizza- shaved steak (ok...), red onions (not really but ok...), banana peppers (...), feta cheese (WTF!?)

After my pleasant experience at the noisy and packed Fellini's, I ventured down the road to the unfortunately named Pizza Pie-er. Is it supposed to be like more pie? Or perhaps denoting a pier? Or is it supposed to be almost Pierre? So confusing. Also, so small and dead inside. Their shtick is 4 crusts, 11 sauces, 33 toppings, great pizza. I will agree with three of these claims. They don't do slices at Pizza Pie-er, so I ordered a 7" personal cheese pizza on white crust. This pizza was all too hauntingly reminiscent of Pizza Hut - thick, greasy crust, not enough sauce, perfectly browned cheese. At first, I thought the cheese was great - a little crisp, definitely tasty. But once the pizza cooled down a bit, it did that thing where I bit into it and all the cheese came off the slice at once. I hate that. Also, I hate Pizza Pie-er. More like Pizza Die-er. I wouldn't call it an abomination of pizza, but it wasn't good.

Pizza Pie-er WTF Pizza: Brimp - cheese (yes...), broccoli (yes...), alfredo sauce (...) and shrimp (WTF!?) on a multigrain crust

I had a bit of a walk after Pizza Die-er. Unfortunately, I had burned the roof of my mouth on my first slice of the personal pie and I was worried that it would adversely effect my ability to taste the final slice of the day. I drank some water and chewed a little gum in hopes that I could regulate my mouth. I was told that the first two places were in "RISD Territory" and I had to walk over to Thayer Street, what appears to be the main drag of "Brown Territory." I browsed in a couple of shops, and let my mind wander, which is how I totally missed Nice Slice on the first go round. I had to double back and pay attention to street numbers in order to find it. I finally did, next to a body piercing store. Nice Slice had the youngest and hippest crowd of any of the places I tried. I almost ordered a buffalo chicken slice but changed my mind at the last minute when I spied a margherita pizza sitting in the corner, looking lonely. The basil was hand-ripped and there was a LOT of fresh mozzarella with a sweeter sauce. All of this was on a super duper thin whole wheat crust. The thing I noticed about Nice Slice is that they have a vegan pizza menu, which is probably their claim to fame among the college kids. The slice was good, but not very hot. On one hand, my burned mouth was glad, but on the other, pizza always tastes better if it's straight out of the oven.

Nice Slice WTF Pizza: Cranberry Picnic - spinach (ok...), cranberries (...), feta (...), almonds (WTF!?)

I saw another pizza place across from Nice Slice that seemed to be doing good business, but by that time I was too full of Providence pizza to even attempt a visit. I'll put it on the list with Bob & Timmy's for the next visit. Until then, I'll be dreaming of Fellini's.

Highly Recommended:
166 Wickenden Street
Providence, RI

Nice Slice
267 Thayer Street
Providence, RI

Not Recommended:
Pizza Pie-er
374 Wickenden Street
Providence, RI


  1. I need to figure out how to have more adventures like you!

    Just on the 0.0001% chance you were doubting yourself, those WTF pizzas are truly WTF.

  2. To be fair, pizza in New England is the realm of the Greeks, and in Providence everyone is Portuguese, so the toppings are completely not WTF in terms of New England pizzas. Well, the almonds maybe. Everything else is completely normal.

  3. Srsly, Zd. You cannot tell me that a Philly Steak Pizza with feta and banana peppers is okay and normal.

  4. You should just be glad they didn't put Autocrat Syrup on it.

    Honestly, what makes that pizza not normal is the steak - banana peppers are HUGE in Li'l Rhody. There's a whole style of fried calamari based around it.

    Next time you're in Providence, if you want to see a REAL WTF moment, grab yourself a New York System Hot Weiner (spelled that way only in Rhody). Tiny little hot dog with a ground beef/tomato/spices/brown gravy sauce on top, with onions and celery salt. Mmm.