For a few years now, Pizanos Pizza has been serving up thin crust pizza, chicken wings, salads, hot and cold sandwiches, pasta bread bowls and other snacks—yet somehow it flew under my radar. I mean, I knew it was there in the heart of downtown but never had occasion to stop in. Having just missed the happy hour “beer and a slice” special, my friends and I decided to order a variety of full pies.
A classic pizza with sausage, mushroom and black olive with mozzarella and red sauce (14-inch, $15.99) seemed a good place to start. The crust was acceptably crispy and held up well enough, though it didn’t add much flavor. The sausage was average but provided the strongest note. There was a lot more olive than mushroom. In fact, had I tasted it blindfolded, I doubt I would have noticed the fungus. Unfortunately, I couldn’t see or taste the sauce, so I can’t relate much about it.
Garlic alfredo sauce was definitely present on a steak, mushroom and bacon pizza with mozzarella (10-inch, $12.49). Despite the saltiness of bacon combined with heavily seasoned, thin-sliced beef, the creamy, very garlicky goo kind of evened things out. I’d be tempted to try their flatbread “pazini” sandwich ($4.99) made with the same stuff, plus veggies.
The Tahoe pizza was a hit with everyone (14-inch, $19.99), featuring an excellent blend of garlic pesto, mozzarella, spinach, chicken, bell pepper and fresh diced tomato. The pesto was excellent, and the chicken actually had some flavor to it. It was a smart idea to use an oil-based sauce on a pie with this many wet ingredients, not to mention it sent the flavor over the top.
Best of all was a veggie supreme pizza (10-inch, $12.49) with pepper blend, pepperoncini, mushroom, olive, red onion, artichoke heart, feta and mozzarella layered atop a healthy schmear of garlic olive oil. The only thing wrong with this pie was my goof in ordering one that was too small. I really wish I’d gone large with this and small on the sausage pie, and everyone voiced their agreement—with feeling. The veggie supreme was spicy, hearty, pungent and left us wanting more.
As with many pizza joints, the dough is also offered in the form of breadsticks, cheesy bites, garlic bites, etc.—but I most wanted to sample the bacon jalapeno bites (six pieces, $4.49, served with marinara and ranch). They were pretty dry and really needed a dunk in sauce. The marinara was chunky and tasted fresh, though without much in the way of herbs. My sample included both bacon and a fair amount of heat, but the rest said they tasted either just jalapeno or bacon, not both. Apparently I got the golden bite.
Baked chicken wings (five for $4.99 or nine for $8.79) are available plain or with barbeque or hot sauce. We tried both sauces. I have rarely encountered a baked wing I liked—much preferring ’em nice and crispy out of a hot oil bath—but I have to admit, these weren’t bad. They were a lot crispier than most rubbery examples run through a pizza oven, and the sauces were good enough. The barbecue sauce was sweet with a fair amount of smoke, and though the “hot” sauce would classify as mild at my favorite purveyors of wings, it was still enjoyable—even better with a dash of red pepper flakes.