Pizza talks

Kristi Churchman and Kaleb Heflin prepare gyros and pizza at The Thick Slice Pizza Company.

Kristi Churchman and Kaleb Heflin prepare gyros and pizza at The Thick Slice Pizza Company.

Photo/Allison Young

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There once was a legendary pizza place in Carson City, a hub of family dining and heated discussions among its ardent fans. Patrons were kept entertained by the lively banter between the Greek immigrant couple running the joint. Now retired but still talking over one another, the story of their old place is written on the walls at The Thick Slice Pizza Company, a new pizzeria recently opened by their daughter and son-in-law featuring a mix of old recipes and new ideas.

My wife and I dined with friends at the new place and tried a variety of dishes. The Greek salad was fresh and inviting (lettuce, feta, tomato, olives, bell pepper, red onion, croutons—$6.50 for a large plate), though the pieces of lettuce ranged from very small to extremely large. The flavors were fine. I’m just not a fan of chopping my salad with a fork.

Pizzas range from a 10-inch cheese ($8) to 18-inch extra-large specialty pies with a variety of toppings ($29). Additionally, you can build your own or order by the slice. Sauce is an important factor in judging pizza, and this family recipe is unlike any I’ve tasted. I think I heard mention of cumin and coriander? It doesn’t seem to include much oregano, basil or garlic, yet it works.

So are the slices thick? Yes, they most certainly are. I prefer a thin to medium-thick crust, but if you like it really big and bready—as does my wife—you’ll probably love this. I have to admit it was very good for the style, with enough crispness on the bottom to keep me interested. In fact, I enjoyed the “bones” best, that end piece of crust some people leave on the plate. These pizza bones were crunchy, chewy breadsticks that shouldn’t go to waste. At home I set aside some sauce just for dipping the bones. Mmmmmmm.

Of the pizza specialities served, I tried the spinach (spinach, garlic, feta, tomato), Grecian (linguiça, garlic, tomato, feta), Romana (artichoke hearts, linguiça, fresh garlic, olives, tomato), and Mexicali (cheddar, chorizo, cilantro, green onion, tomato, jalapeño). They were all pretty good, but the Mexicali won me over. The combination of that unique sauce with those ingredients really worked for me, although I’d suggest ditching the cheddar for Oaxaca and cotija cheeses to really punch up the effect.

Chicken wings in either spicy or barbecue sauce were served (5 for $4.90) but I have to be brutally honest on this subject. For me, no breaded, oven-baked wing can compare against a plain poultry appendage cooked until crispy golden in a bath of 400-degree oil. I realize some pizza places do the oven method because they simply don’t have deep fryers. And I know there must be people who enjoy wings done this way. But those I sampled here were extremely mushy and really disappointing. There are better things on the menu, particularly the sandwiches.

The sandwiches are served on a locally sourced, 8-inch sourdough roll and are a great deal for the price ($5.80). I tried all three: pastrami (cheese, mustard, mayo, lettuce, tomato, Greek dressing, pastrami), gyro (cheese, tzatziki, lettuce, tomato, gyro meat), and meatball (spicy Italian-style meatballs, pizza sauce, cheese). The gyro was OK but would be better in a pita, sans cheese. The pastrami had a vinegar note due to the dressing that really made it work well as a cold sandwich. But the meatball sub is the thing I’d come back for again and again. Unlike the usual sloppy mess of marinara, balls, and a sprinkling of cheese, this sucker features at least as much mozzarella as meat, and the house sauce really shines. No joke, for value and flavor this is a sandwich I’d travel out of my way to eat again.