Big Daddy's opened a few weeks ago on Culver Road near the corner of Parsells Ave. Figuring they'd had enough time to work out any initial bugs, I stopped by recently for a slice.
This is another "huge slice" place, and I was a bit taken aback initially because my slice looked an awful lot like the "huge" slice I got at Checker Flag on Dewey Ave., which wasn't very good at all. It was big, wide, and super thin, with a wide, pale edge.
On closer inspection, though, I found that unlike Checker Flag's, this pizza had an underside that was browned, even lightly charred here and there. So that was a good sign.
It was, as I said, thin. Very thin. I would almost call the crust bready, but there simply wasn't enough of an interior to really allow for much bready flavor or, especially, texture, to come through.
The underside, besides having some toasty brown color, was dry, not greasy, and lightly dusted with cornmeal. The exterior was not exactly crisp, but firm. The crust overall had a very chewy texture. The wide edge had some toasty crispness, but wasn’t much thicker than the rest of the crust, and was pretty much a disposable handle - OK for holding the slice, but not worth eating.
(While I'm on the subject, if you think you're getting a good deal by getting a "huge slice," better factor in how much of the slice is actually worth eating. If there's a good 2 inches of "naked" crust along the edge, and probably another inch of crust with just sauce, no cheese, and the crust isn't very good in its own right, so that you're probably going to throw it out, the edible portion of that "huge" slice suddenly shrinks down to much more ordinary size. How good a deal is that?)
The sauce - and this was reminiscent of Checker Flag - was more noticeable to the eye than to the palate. What there was of it seemed very dried or cooked down. Folding the slice, which was clearly called for here, made it a little easier to taste the slightly herbal sauce, as well as the cheese, which had a somewhat tangy flavor.
While standing at the counter, I noticed that the pepperoni slices appeared to be much more well-done than the cheese slices. Oddly, I’d seen the same kind of inconsistency at Checker Flag. I don’t know if a lack of attention to detail or what, but you’d like to think that all the pizzas are going to be cooked more or less to the same level of doneness (barring custom orders, of course).
According to their menu, Big Daddy's offers "red tomato," "white garlic," and "Daddy's Sauce," which is simply a mix of red and white. You can also order your pizza crust "standard, thick, thin, or in between," though I'm not sure if that amounts to 3 or 4 different thicknesses (is there any difference between "standard" and "in between"?). They have a pretty long list of both toppings and specialty pizzas.
Other menu items include hot and cold subs, "plates," wings, wraps, calzones, fried fish and seafood, pasta dinners, quesadillas, and grilled and fried items.
This pizza had some potential, but didn't quite live up to it. A thin crust is fine, but it still needs some breadiness. The most accurate word I can find to describe this crust is "lifeless." But except for that wide, bland, throwaway edge, it certainly wasn't the worst pizza I've ever had. This may be a bit generous, but I'll give it a C-.
Big Daddy's Pizza Pit & Grocery, 1157 Culver Rd. 654-5051
Sun. - Wed. 10 a.m. - 10 p.m., Thu. 10 a.m. - 2 a.m., Fri. & Sat. 10 a.m. - 3 a.m.