C-minus to Mama's Pizza Kitchen on Lake Avenue back in 2010, some readers urged me to go back there and give them another try. It's taken me a while, but I did.
I would've liked to try a full pie, but I just didn't need or want that much pizza to deal with, so I got two cheese slices, which had just emerged from the oven, so I figured they'd be pretty representative of a fresh pie. And Mama's does seem to be kind of a slice joint, with big, floppy slices that are made for walk-in traffic around Charlotte.
These were big, thin slices, with a medium-brown, screen-baked underside. They were just a bit oily to the touch, and had a faint aroma of cooking oil. The crust was quite pliable, making the slices easy to fold, but they were not crisp at all.
The toppings were added in pretty good proportion to the crust, but the cheese was more prominent than the sauce. It was on the salty side and just a little browned. It had congealed into a solid blanket, and was more chewy than smooth or stringy.
Between the cheese and crust was a thin layer of tomatoey, slightly tangy sauce. A sprinkling of dried herbs on top rounded out the flavor profile.
I thought this pizza was OK. I didn't mind it. And it had some things going for it. Any big, floppy, cheesy slice of pizza will usually be sort of good, at some level.
But it was only marginally better than last time. There was a little more sauce, and the cheese had a better texture than last time, when it was overcooked. And though this doesn't affect the grade, the service was good, friendly, and accommodating. So I guess it does deserve to get bumped up a notch, but that's all, I'm afraid. This one comes in at a C.