Mouth on fire

<p><b>Paul Archie, the owner and namesake of Paulie’s Pizza, presents an Old World Style pizza.</b></p>

Paul Archie, the owner and namesake of Paulie’s Pizza, presents an Old World Style pizza.

Photo By Allison Young

Paulie's Pizza is open Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

When you head out for pizza, you don’t expect to come home with a tear-stained face and a swollen mouth, but if you go to Paulie’s Pizza, this could happen to you. Paulie’s is located in Franktown Corner and has been open about six months. The space is comfortable and split into a bar area on the left and the main dining room on the right. The main room is family friendly with booths, tables and a few arcade games. Buffalo transplants Paulie and Jennifer own Paulie’s. When I went in with my friend Brett and his kids, just Jennifer and her kids were working, and they made us feel very welcomed.

We ordered a large Paulie’s pizza ($18 for 18 inches), a regular cheese ($14 for 14 inches) and 20 medium wings ($17). While we waited for our food to arrive, Jennifer brought us some beers ($4) from the bar. The beer choices on draft are fairly limited with just Sam Adams, Shock Top and Peroni to chose from, so I hope they expand the options. Our wings arrived first, and I liked how meaty they were, but I wish there had been more sauce on them. The carrot and celery situation needs some help because we only got a few tiny slices wrapped in plastic.

When the pizzas were brought out, I was glad we had two hungry kids with us because these things were huge. The Paulie’s pizza was topped with pepperoni, sausage, meatballs and onions. They didn’t scrimp on the toppings, but the meatballs were sliced too thin. The crust on both pizzas was light and chewy, while the sauce had a bit of sweet and spicy flavor happening. Topped with lots of cheese, I definitely enjoyed the pizza.

If only I had stopped here, I wouldn’t have left Paulie’s crying. When we placed the original order, we added on the Momma Mia wings (three for $5), which were listed as being incredibly spicy. Jennifer cautioned us and advised we eat first. Then she had us sign a waiver. I have to admit, I blew this off and thought I was tough, so I signed my life away and awaited my Momma Mia wings.

When the wings arrived, they didn’t look so scary despite the bright red tinge to them. I took a large bite, liked the flavor and then the burning pain started. My eyes watered, and my lips and mouth burned. I could feel that bite slowly inching its way down my throat like burning lava. Thankfully, Jennifer was there to save us with a big spoonful of agave nectar. I soon bolted to the bathroom to wash any leftover wing sauce remnants from my hands. Looking in the bathroom mirror at my tear-stained face and swollen lips, I realized I might be the dumbest person in the world.

I learned a little science on my trip to Paulie’s. The Scoville scale is used to measure spicy heat. To give you an idea, a habanero pepper has up to 350,000 Scolville units. The Momma Mia sauce has 2 million units. You know what else has a Scolville rating of 2 million? Pepper spray. Now I know I’m the dumbest person in the world. Despite my mouth on fire, I had a great time at Paulie’s. It’s an enjoyable atmosphere, the owners are friendly and food is good. The Momma Mia challenge, even with the pain, was a lot of fun, and if you think you can handle spicy things, you have to try it.