The restaurant business is notorious for its high casualty rate, and I suspect that pizzerias are at least as likely to fail as are other types of restaurants. So while it's unfortunate to see a pizzeria go out of business, it's rarely a surprise.
A few years ago, Tano's Pizza Grill operated out of a shopping plaza in Gates. I know that I went there, at least once, but I never got a blog post up before it closed. As I recall, the pizza wasn't bad, though I don't have any specific recollection of what it was like.
Often, when a pizzeria closes, another one opens up in the same spot. That's not always a great idea - sometimes the problem is the location, not the pizza - but that's how it is.
Tano's former space is not occupied by a pizzeria, exactly, but you can get pizza there. Lucky's Irish Bar, which moved into the former Tano's spot in 2010, serves up mostly standard bar food, but pizza is on the menu.
I'd seen some print ads for Lucky's mentioning pizza, and I wondered if this had become, in effect, a pizzeria with a bar, as opposed to a bar with pizza on the menu.
It turned out to be the latter. The interior has been completely redone, with a large U-shaped bar dominating the room. And while you can get pizza, more typical bar foods make up the bulk of the menu.
I ordered a pepperoni pie, which I think makes a good benchmark for standard, American-style pizza. This plate-sized pie had a thin crust with a dry bottom marked by concentric rings, presumably from whatever sort of pan it had been on. (Sorry that I photographed it in a styrofoam takeout container, but it's not always feasible to sit there taking pictures of my food without calling attention to myself, and I don't want people to know that I'm there for purposes of doing a review.)
The thin crust showed very little evidence of having risen, and had a more biscuit- than bread-like texture. It had no thick cornicione, as do most pizzas, but a thin edge, which I think is more common with "bar pies." The edge was crunchy and seemed somewhat oil-infused, which accounted for its orangey color.
The pizza was topped with a moderate layer of thinnish sauce, and a more substantial blanket of stringy mozzarella. The wide slices of pepperoni were generously laid on; they were slightly crisp along the edges and had a spicy kick.
This wasn't bad pizza exactly, but I'd have to call it below average, as local pizza goes. I like a thin crust, but it has to have some life to it; this crust was not tasty in its own right, but served only as a platform for the toppings, which were OK, but not enough to save this pizza from a D rating.
Having said that, I will add that from my observation of other patrons' food, Lucky's serves up some pretty good grub. The wings, burgers and fries that I saw looked very appetizing. The lunchtime crowd of regulars obviously thought so too. And the place itself was nice enough - a basic, suburban strip-mall kind of bar, with enough TVs to keep sports fans happy. So I don't mean to dissuade anyone from going there, if you're so inclined. But I wouldn't make a point of going just for the pizza, which I'm afraid rates a D from me.
Lucky's Irish Bar, 2325 Buffalo Rd (Tops Plaza), Gates
Open Mon. - Sat. 11 a.m. - 2 a.m.. Sun. noon - 2 a.m.
(Second location at 3240 Chili Ave. in Chili Paul Plaza), 889-1005