Falls flat

Photo By David Robert

There is a saying that goes a little like this: “Sex is like pizza. Even when it is bad, it is good.” I won’t say anything about the former, but I’m beginning to have my doubts about the latter.

I didn’t let the strip-mall location of Chuck’s Boulevard Pizza faze me, because that is no indication of how the food is going to be. Tony and I entered the cavernous dining room filled with picnic-style tables and dark booths. Some kids were playing an improvised game of three-man billiards, and another family was working on their pizza. Things were pretty casual, and nobody greeted us. After looking around for a few moments, we surmised that we should order at the counter at the far side of the room.

The menu is pretty simple, featuring pizza, fried chicken, fried appetizers and a salad bar. We opted to split a pie: half veggie combo and half pepperoni ($13.13). I figured I would buffer the damage by eating a salad first ($3.22). We picked our own table, and I went to check out the salad bar. I found it adequately stocked with a fresh mix of standard greens, baby corn, cherry tomatoes and the usual suspects that would also be found on the pizza prep list. It wasn’t lavish by any means, but overall, it wasn’t too bad.

While we were waiting for our pizza, we had a chance to survey our surroundings more closely. The walls, carpet and ceiling are all the same shade of forest green, with nothing but ads and posters depicting a solitary famous and not-so-great beer to break the monotony. The beer in question even sponsored the light over the pool table. It was odd, and I somehow avoided the not-so-subtle hint to order a cold one. A large wall separates the bar from the dining room, and televised sports are available in both rooms.

While there are many ways to make pizza that are all equally valid, my own personal taste may differ from yours. That said, fans of crisp, thin-crust pizza may want to avert their eyes.

Our pizza dough was thin and cracker-like throughout, with sauce and toppings all the way to the edge so that there was no good way to grasp it. I was going to try to cut it, but I was worried that I would break my plastic fork. While pepperoni can make a pizza greasy, this was pooling and oozing that trademark orange grease that is a certain precursor to wicked heartburn. Even the half with only vegetables (mushrooms, olives, onions, bell peppers and tomatoes) was similarly lubricated. It coated the palate like ointment that no amount of soda could dispel. We left much of it uneaten.

The sign above the door of Boulevard Pizza indicates that within lies a sports bar where you can actually hear yourself think. Is this supposed to be a good thing? Aren’t sports bars supposed to be noisy, boisterous places where you can have fun and watch the game?

I guess you will have plenty of time to think, because you will never be bothered by anybody trying to give you service. Although several groups of people came and went while we were there, it must have been the busser’s night off. We never saw a single table get cleaned, and nobody came by to see if we were enjoying our food.

Yes, we had time to think—about going somewhere else next time.