Crust issues

"The Da Vinci" from Uncle Vinny's. Though named after the Renaissance artist Leonardo, it should also appeal to the Ninja Turtle of the same name.

"The Da Vinci" from Uncle Vinny's. Though named after the Renaissance artist Leonardo, it should also appeal to the Ninja Turtle of the same name.

Photo by LAUREN RANDOLPH

Uncle Vinny’s Pizza is open 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Uncle Vinny’s Pizza

1560 S. Stanford Way
Sparks, NV 89431

(775) 356-1400

I was totally confused when my wife, Kat, and I ordered our pizza. She wanted veggies, and I wanted meat, so we ordered a half-and-half deal. I opted for a pan crust, to which the server replied, “You want pan crust with the entire pizza?” Intrigued, I asked if I could have my pizza with both pan and thin crust. Absolutely straight-faced and with an-ever-so slight hint of patronization, the very young server explained to me in detail that wasn’t possible because the thin crust would come out charred. I hope she was just messing with me, but I think she was serious.

I first laid eyes on Uncle Vinny’s Pizza on the way to my mechanic, near the corner of McCarran Boulevard and Greg Street. It’s not hard to miss the restaurant, which occupies a newer building with a tri-colored and incredibly vibrant purple, peach and yellow paint scheme. It’s the kind of thing that strikes fear in the heart of homeowners’ associations, but it’s certainly eye-catching.

Despite us moving into our new place, our respective workloads, and me finishing up the semester, Kat and I have been very pleasant to each other lately. Luckily so, because the super-angsty pop music blasting in Uncle Vinny’s would have driven me to hard alcohol had we been on a bad kick when visiting last Saturday evening. However, if you find yourself in the mood for pizza and a liquor drink, Uncle Vinny’s is the only pizza place I can think of with a full bar.

I asked the server if there were any other Uncle Vinny’s around, to which she replied the Sparks location is the one and only. She said it’s named after two Vinny’s, one who lives in New Jersey and one who lives in Italy. We didn’t press on about the owners’ connection to Sparks, moving along to ordering a medium half Coliseum Supreme and half Venetian Veggie Supreme pizza ($15.99) and an all-you-can-eat salad bar for me ($3.99). In addition to pizzas and salad, Uncle Vinny’s has a large selection of sandwiches and calzones.

The salad bar has everything you’d want, including decent macaroni and potato salads and dried cranberries, which Kat loves on salads. The Coliseum Supreme is a meat-lover’s delight and covered liberally with pepperoni, salami, sausage, beef, linguisa, green pepper, red onion, mushrooms, olives, a four cheese blend and Uncle Vinny’s robust red sauce. Kat was excited about the variety of veggies on her half, which included mushrooms, olives, spinach, zucchini, artichoke hearts, red onions, roasted garlic, roma tomatoes, a four-cheese blend, and the garlic ranch supreme sauce.

Since eating Uncle Vinny’s crust, I’ve come to understand the comparison made between bad pizza crusts and cardboard. It was almost more structural than flavorful. I ended up scrapping most of the sauce and toppings off the crust and eating them with my fork. I don’t know what the Uncle Vinny living in Italy is up to, but he’s got a problem out in Reno. I recommend he drops whatever he’s doing to catch a flight out here to address this situation.

Everything on top of the crust, from the creamy ranch and tangy tomato sauces to the well-portioned meats and veggies, tasted great. However, it was a shame for such a horrible crust to diminish what was otherwise an enjoyable pizza.