Thursday, November 19, 2009
Acme, Monroe Ave.
Given the affinity between beer and pizza, it’s a little odd that there aren’t more bar/pizzerias around. There are certainly restaurants that both serve pizza and have full bars, and there are a handful of bars that are next door to pizzerias, but genuine bars that make pizza are a surprisingly rare breed.
One of the few exceptions that I can think of around here is Acme Bar & Pizza on Monroe Avenue. If memory serves correctly, Acme started out, I’m guessing, ten years ago or so, as sort of a sister establishment to Richmond’s downtown. There have been some ownership changes since then, but from the start Acme has been serving thin, New York-style pizza to its customers.
I stopped by recently to pick up a large pie to go. It had a very thin crust, and the slices were kind of floppy, with an underside that was rather pale, just lightly browned, that didn’t have much crispness, though it wasn’t greasy either. It tasted OK, but was not particularly bready. The outer lip was thin and somewhat tough. There was a bit of oven soot on the underside, and one black, burnt unidentifiable blob stuck to the inside of the box.
The cheese, which had a tangy flavor and had congealed by the time I got the pizza home, was fairly heavy for a pizza this thin, adding to the floppiness of the individual slices. The sauce was thinly applied, and didn’t have a very noticeable presence. The pepperoni was of the cup and char variety, was moderately applied, and had a decent flavor.
Acme doesn’t really do specialty pizzas, other than white pizza, and the toppings menu is pretty basic. They also make calzones, as well as a full range of standard bar food, from wings (pretty good ones, in my experience) to burgers, grilled chicken sandwiches, hot subs, salads, fried munchies, chili and homemade soup. There’s a modest but interesting lineup of beers on tap, and over 75 beers by the bottle. Another plus is that food is served right up until the 2 a.m. closing time, seven nights a week.
I’ve always thought that Acme turned out some pretty good pizza, even if it’s not in quite the same league with some of the other local purveyors of New York style pizza. The crust just doesn’t seem to have quite the flavor and texture that makes for truly great pizza, but all in all, it’s certainly not bad, and I can easily put away several slices of this stuff without complaint.
Which reminds me: as I was enjoying this pie, it occurred to me that what this really was, was good bar pizza. If you’re a bar owner, you don’t want to be serving up some thick pan pizza that’s going to get the customer full after a slice or two. This is the kind of stuff you can eat several slices of, for some time, without getting too stuffed to keep on drinking. I’m not endorsing excessive drinking, but truth be told, that’s probably what a lot of your customers prefer, too. On its own, I consider Acme pizza to be better than average, but not outstanding, so I’ll give it a B-.
Acme Bar & Pizza, 495 Monroe Ave. 271-2263
Mon. - Sat. 11 a.m. - 2 a.m., Sun. noon - 2 a.m.