We started picking up pizza at J.J.’s in the 1980s when it was still on Wells Avenue. That’s right—J.J.’s Pie Company hasn’t always been in the old Little Wal’ location on 5th Street. It was our favorite (only) pizza place for years. We loved the thick crusts, and the sauce and toppings were always good, too.
But nothing lasts forever. In the past few years, partly because of boredom and partly because of apparent experimentation with J.J.’s recipe, we tried Blue Moon Gourmet Pizza (then on Lakeside Drive) and liked it, too. If our pizza was burned or sauce too peppery or our order mixed up at one place, we could always switch to the other.
This year, for some reason, both places seemed to change. We first noticed it at the Blue Moon, which is now on California Avenue. Specifically, the sauce started getting tangier and tangier. I swear, by the time we gave up on them I think they were using tomato paste instead of pizza sauce. In the meantime, we kept getting overcooked pizzas at J.J.’s, and their sauce wasn’t very good at times, either.
It was time to get out of our comfort zone and try some new places. But as disappointed as we’d been with our old standbys, we learned they weren’t that easy to replace.
We tried Black Rock pizza last winter. We waited a very, very long time for the pizza (it’s a popular place). It was OK, but we didn’t think it was that special.
I thought Uncle Vinny’s Pizza (McCarran between Greg and Stanford) was going to be The One. The sauce wasn’t tangy, the cheese wasn’t burnt and it was convenient. However, my husband didn’t especially like it.
Brugo’s Pizza Co. (South Virginia Street next to Claim Jumper) opened last summer, and we tried that a few times. The people are really nice, and the pizza toppings were good. However, the flavors just didn’t seem to blend right, and the crust didn’t seem to have much flavor. We still plan to go back there to try a sit-down dinner.
Frustrated, we decided to try the pizza place that took over Blue Moon’s old location on Lakeside Drive. It’s now Formaggio Gourmet Pizzeria. Ahhh. Finally, a pizza both of us liked.
Then I read a review of the new Blind Onion pizza place on South Virginia (at Neil Road across from the Home Depot). We tried that a few weeks ago, and it was good, too. I have to say the crust is a little strange. It looks as if they’re trying to make everyone happy: It’s a thin crust pizza with a thick rope of crust added around the edge. The main crust gets a little soggy by the time we get home with it, but the outside crust does not–it’s like sweet bread. It’s different.
The Blind Onion seems to be our new favorite, but they’ve tested that status. One time they threw raw onions all over our pizza for no particular reason, and last week they told us when we called at 7 p.m. that they were out of cheese and had to wait for it to come from their other store. The fact that we waited indicates how much we like the pizza.
It’s still nice to know we can always go to Formaggio now. And J.J.’s is still a backup. After all this time, we’re not completely replacing them yet.