Bear country

Bear Pizza employee Brandyn Johnson has been making pizza since he was 16.

Bear Pizza employee Brandyn Johnson has been making pizza since he was 16.

Photo By David Robert

DiNapoli’s Pasta & Pizzeria

9570 S. McCarran Blvd.
Reno, NV 89503

(775) 787-8282

Fittingly, the dining room at Bear’s Pizza is very den-like. There’s a nice wooden bar, pictures and paintings of wildlife and a relaxed green and purple color scheme. During our visit, there was also a big TV that was playing, of all things, the Food Network. My friends Julie and Marika and I couldn’t decide if this was a good idea or not. Does the Food Network whet the appetite? Or is it just confusing to watch people eat different food than what you’re eating?

The girls started by splitting a small Greek salad ($4) while I devoured some chicken wings (10 for $7.95). The wings were fairly good, but the salad deserves special props as the best Greek salad I’ve ever had at a pizza place. The girls offered me a bite, and I kept coming back for more. Crisp and fresh, every ingredient had a strong but harmonious taste, and the lettuce was just one ingredient among many.

We got a couple of pizzas. Julie and Marika picked out the Whispering Vine (medium, $13.95): artichoke, sun dried tomatoes, onions (supposedly caramelized, but not really), spinach, roasted red peppers and feta cheese. I ordered the Grizzly (small, $11.95): pepperoni, sausage, green peppers, mushrooms, black olives, green olives, bacon and onion.

I asked for no onions. It came with onions. I mentioned something to our waitress, a very amiable but rather ditsy young lady (later on, she told us a story about how customers laughed at her because she offered straws to beer drinkers). “I don’t want to make a big deal about this,” I said, “but I asked for no onions, and there are onions on here. Quite a few actually.”

“Shut up!” responded the waitress, with perfect slack-jawed, Clueless-style teenaged disbelief. She meant it sympathetically, and it was very funny, but I do believe that’s the first time I’ve ever had a waitress tell me to shut up. Not that there haven’t been other times I’ve deserved it. She was very apologetic about the onions and graciously offered a discount on the meal to compensate.

I tried to just be a grownup about it and eat the onions, but I’m sorry, I really can’t stand onions on pizza. I like them in a few contexts, but they always seem disruptive on pizza. So I spent much of the rest of the meal lifting cheese and hunting onions with my fork. Other than the odious presence of those little slivers of pungent bulb, the pizza was good. The pepperoni had a nice flavor and did not taste, as pepperoni so often does, like discs of dirt.

Our mostly pleasant meal ended in a nasty altercation with the jerk-wad buffoons at the table next to us. Marika overheard them expressing some racist sentiments, which I won’t dignify by repeating.

“Did you guys hear what they just said?” she asked us with disbelief.

“Eavesdropper!” one of the ladies snapped.

We exchanged nasty glances and then, no doubt intimidated by my dangerous, penetrating glare, they left. After relating this incident to our waitress, we found out that they stiffed her on the tip. She’s bubbly, sweet and accommodating, and the food and atmosphere are quite nice, so I doubt that the slight was called for. Anyway, no surprise really, but it turns out that the racists of the world are also cheap bastards.