Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Hamlin Pizza Shack
It's taken me a while, but I finally made it out to the Hamlin Pizza Shack recently. Part of the reason it took me so long is that I had thought that the HPS was simply another location of the Pizza Shack on West Ridge Road (it isn't), and because even though it's not really that far away, Hamlin seems like a long way off. Maybe it's the fact that it's not that close to any major expressway, I don't know.
At any rate, I did finally get out there on a recent Friday evening and picked up a large pizza.
The place was quite busy when I got there. There's a pickup/ordering counter near the door, and a dining room off to the left. Several individuals and groups were either waiting to pick up or order, with more in the dining area. I had the impression that this is a popular choice for Friday night dinner in Hamlin.
My pizza (which was cut into squares) was quite thin, though the edge was formed into a thick lip. The underside was lightly browned and firm, with some crispness out toward the edge.
The pizza was pretty heavy on the cheese, which seemed to be all mozzarella. It formed a thick, unbroken layer that was melted just barely to the point of browning.
The sauce stayed much more in the background. It was moderately applied and had a mild flavor.
Getting back to that crust, it was, as I said, firm underneath, but the top layer - the interface, if you will, between the crust and the sauce - was a bit gummy. I don't know if that happened during the 20-minute car ride home or if it came out of (or went into) the oven that way, but it seemed that some liquid from the sauce had seeped into the crust, giving it that wet-dough, gummy texture on top.
The lip of the crust didn't suffer from that problem, and though it was quite thick, it was rather airy inside. It made for some nice dipping into the blue cheese and extra hot sauce that I'd gotten with my wings.
The HPS offers four specialty pizzas and 19 pizza toppings. I got a vegetarian half (onions and sweet peppers) and a meatball half, thinking that the latter would please my 6-year-old daughter, who inhaled three slices of the Pizza Stop's meatball parm pizza. She didn't care for these meatballs, however, though she didn't really articulate a reason, so take that for what it's worth.
The rest of the menu is pretty extensive. There are wings, of course; mine were fairly meaty and crisp, and the Buffalo sauce had good flavor, with what appeared to be a high melted-butter content. Other menu items include calzones, finger foods, hot and cold subs, wraps and sandwiches, pasta, ribs, "plates," and a Friday fish fry. There's also a kids' menu.
This pizza wasn't bad. It had something of a split personality, with that thin crust and thick edge, and to me it seemed a little out of balance what with all that cheese on such a thin crust. Then there was that slight gumminess, although again that might've been at least partly due to the pizza sitting in the box for 20 or 25 minutes. The overall flavor was good though, the bottom of the crust was firm if not really crisp, it wasn't greasy, and it was generally well made. I'll give it a B-.
Hamlin Pizza Shack, 1721 Lake Rd. 964-7170
Sun. - Thu. 11 a.m. - 11 p.m., Fri. & Sat. 11 a.m. - midnight