Sometimes you find pizza in places where you're not necessarily expecting it. Take Pino's Deli, for instance. This small storefront in a strip plaza on W. Ridge Rd., looks like a basic Italian deli, but if you look closely at the sign, there's a pizza in the lower right hand corner. So, on a recent trip to Rowe Photo & Video next door, I stopped in, and sure enough, they had some slices.
The crust on this one was very soft, and somewhat oily underneath. It had an unusual browning pattern on the underside, with an array of brown spots that I couldn't make sense of.
The crust had a soft texture, even along the edge, which is often the one spot that gets crisp. The top of the crust was rather gummy, although that might've been because it had been out of the oven for a while. Sometimes the water in the sauce soaks in to the top layer of crust and turns it gummy. The crust was relatively thick, but still quite pliable.
There was a pronounced garlicky aroma to the slice, and the sauce, which was moderately applied, had a distinctly herbal flavor. The cheese was just a bit browned, with a few bare spots, and congealed but a bit gooey. The pepperoni was slightly crisp along the edges.
Given the softness of the crust, I almost had to fold this rather wide slice, with the result that the toppings all sort of glopped together in the middle, making this something like a pizza wrap. I was thankful for the aluminum foil, to catch any sauce that squeezed out along the sides when I took a bite.
Besides slices, Pino’s offers full pizzas. Aside from a separate listing for Buffalo chicken pizza, I couldn’t find any pizza topping list on their menu, but I assume they have all the basics, particularly since it’s a deli. The menu on their website has what seems to be an incomplete list.
And because it is primarily a deli, pizza is not the main focus at Pino’s. Most of the menu is taken up by sandwiches, which come in a wide array of hot and cold varieties. They also offer wings, pasta dinners, sides, “garbage platters,” salads, and a Friday fish fry. Freshly baked breads and some Italian grocery items are also available.
I liked what I saw at Pino’s, and I’d go back for a sandwich, a loaf of bread, or just to look around at some of their other stuff. But this wasn’t great pizza. Too soft and too messy, and rather oily underneath to boot. For the pizza - not the deli - I can only give it a C-.
Pino’s Deli, 2590 W. Ridge Rd. 227-6194
Mon. - Fri. 9 a.m. - 7 p.m., Sat. & Sun. 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.