Paulie's, a Latta Road pizzeria that I liked back in 2009.
Alas, Paulie's is no longer with us. But another pizzeria, Grande Amore, has taken its place. A reader informed me of this (thank you), and so I got up there recently to check it out.
On my lunchtime visit, a single cheese pie was available for slices. I could've asked for toppings to be added, but went with two cheese slices (in my opinion, adding toppings to a baked slice and reheating it in the oven simply doesn't compare to having the toppings baked on from the start).
My slices were medium thick, with a pale underside that was lightly dusted with corn meal. The crust was rather soft, and a little gummy. Things were a little better along the edge, which was more browned and crisper.
On top, a basic, lightly seasoned tomato sauce was topped with a scattered layer of congealed mozzarella cheese. The overall balance of crust to sauce to cheese was pretty good, if a little light on the cheese.
Grande Amore offers 16 pizza toppings (18 on the menu, but I don't count extra sauce or cheese as separate toppings), and nine specialty pizzas. They also do wings, plates, hot sandwiches, and several dinners, from pasta to steak. A few desserts are also available, including the "Madd Monkey," described as "vanilla/chocolate cream pudding, banana slices, walnuts and thundered with chocolate chunks."
I can't say I was thrilled by these slices, but I'm going to hold off giving them a letter grade. I often decline to rate a pizzeria until after it's been open for a while, and I think that's appropriate here. While it's no excuse, I also wonder if these slices suffered from the first-pancake syndrome; you know, the first pancake never comes out that well, and this was apparently the first pizza of the day. I'd like to make a return visit later in the day, when I know the oven will be up to full temperature and several pizzas have gone in and out of the oven. There's promise here, but time will tell whether it's fulfilled.
Grande Amore Pizza, 1250 Latta Road
Sun., Mon., Wed., Thu. 11 a.m. - midnight, Tue. 4 p.m. - 11 p.m., Fri. & Sat. 11 a.m. - 2 a.m.