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Has anyone tried Salvation Pizza?

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The neopolitan-style pies at Salvation Pizza are hands down the best in Austin. I say this because I am a self-proclaimed pizza snob from the Northeast. I never considered myself a pizza snob until I moved to Austin four years ago after searching hi and lo for a decent pizza joint. I've been to many local pizza joints proclaiming to be either NYC-style or neopolitan only to be disappointed with a tastless and undercooked crust that resembles either a squishy dougy dinner roll or cardboard. I've even been to Home Slice and have been disappointed at the lack of consistency in the way they make their pies.

So, if you've tried them all and still aren't satisfied, give Salvation Pizza on 34th Street a try. For one thing, the owners are from Connecticut and their parents own and operate a wonderful pizza restaurant in West Hartford called Harry's Pizza. Salvation uses the same recipe.

The crust is charred to perfection (like it should be), lending to a crisp and chewy bite. I'd prefer a little bit more sauce on my pizza, but that's me. The cheese is a blend of mozzarella and asiago. The pepperoni is spicy with a kick.

It's not often that I come away from an Austin pizza joint satisfied. Surprisingly, Salvation fits the bill.

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  1. In the couple of visits I have made, I have yet to be really satisfied by the pizza there. The crust wasn't charred, and the flavors weren't of the intensity I was looking for. I'm glad you enjoy it, though.

    In answer to your question, this thread has the best discussion I've seen of the place:

    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/325801

    Have you tried Vespaio's pizza? It's not a pizzeria, strictly speaking, but comes close to what I look for in a pizza.

    8 Replies
    1. re: Knoblauch

      I've had one good visit to Salvation and one very bad one. Details on both experiences can be found in the link that Knoblauch pasted above.

      Be warned, "pizza snobs": Salvation's pizza is neither Neapolitan-style nor New-York-style, and its crust has never been charred on any of my visits. They don't use fresh mozzarella, either.

      While Salvation once delivered a satisfying pie, in my opinion, their pizza doesn't come close to perfection—for those accustomed to the best available pies in the Northeast.

      Best,
      MPH

      1. re: MPH

        I agree that Salvation does not use fresh mozz. And of course it does not stand up to Northeast pies. I not sure that I will ever find any pizza in Texas remotely as delicious as Pepe's, Sally's or Modern Pizza in New Haven or Lombardi's in NYC. However, I have yet to find anything better in Austin. As for the service, yes, it is terrible! Thanks for the link. I will also try Vespaio.

        1. re: yankeegirl

          FWIW - although I really enjoy pizzas at Enoteca Vespaio, they don't fill the void for what I sort of think of as pizzeria pizzas...the kind I walked down from my Uncle's apartment in Queens to get a slice of... crust, a judicious swirl of good sauce, and good cheese. Shake on red pepper flakes, enter heaven. Saccone's has come closest for me here, but based on your review, I'm going to give Salvation a try. But I'm still going to hit as many many pizza places as I can in NY this summer and live on the memories until the next trip....

          1. re: saticoy

            Yeah. Nothing fills that void.

            Salvation is worth a try, but they don't come close enough—for me. Vespaio does a totally distinct type of pie. Maybe that's why they don't disappoint as much?

            I also load up on pizza and Italian on regular trips to the East Coast. Italy, too, when I manage to get there.

            Best,
            MPH

            1. re: MPH

              If you tell the Saccones guy to give it two extra minutes in the oven you will be rewarded with a far better pie than is normally dispensed.Obviously still not of a quality we're accustomed to on the coast but......

              1. re: MPH

                Enoteca Vespaio's pizza has introduced me to some things I had never experienced in SF or NY...lardo, truffled egg - and I reckon you are right about why it doesn't disappoint! How does the pizza you eat in Italy compare to EV? I always thought of my pizzeria pizza as an Italian-American thing...isn't Lombardi's the first NY pizzeria? Little Italy is the closest I've ever gotten to the boot - but I will go, eat pizza and visit my grandfather's home town someday.

                1. re: saticoy

                  When you do visit Italy, I’m sure you’ll love all the chow. I was lucky enough to live in the region of Campania for a couple of years. The experience was a re-education in deliciousness. The best pizzas in Naples are like nothing else on earth. This older thread contains a discussion of Neapolitan and New-York-style pizzas:

                  http://www.chowhound.com/topics/310934

                  Lombardi's claims to be the first pizzeria opened in the U.S. As you know, many pies in NYC are wonderful, too.

                  As for finding the best available pies here in Austin, I plan to give Saccone’s another try relatively soon. This time, I'll be sure to ask them to cook it for an extra couple of minutes. Thanks for the tip, scrumptious!

                  1. re: MPH

                    FYI - the best way to enjoy a saccones pizza is to order to go with your basic ingredient, telling them to not cook it all the way and not to cut it. They will know. I get my Chambers piped up to 550 degrees, add extra ingredients for a fraction of the cost, and then finish it crispy and cut it at home.

      2. I heart the pizza at this place the most, you are totally right about no other NE style east coast pizza places here. Homeslice is good or not good depending on when you go. I was not impressed with Saccone's although everyone tells me I should be! But the service at Salvation both times I have gone has been horrid. The waitress (both times) was annoyed to have to wait on us!

        3 Replies
        1. re: kirelerya

          I second that. A lot of people I know are sold on Saccones but I have tried it twice and each time the pie was very lacking.

          I ordered something simple - sausage/mushroom. The first time, the pie was charred more than I would have liked. The second time, they must have run out of fresh mushrooms because what I got was soggy canned mushrooms. The right thing to have done was tell me that they ran out of mushrooms and let me choose something else.

          Oh well, there are always local favorites.

          In a similar vein, I am always surprised that people want to eat at Matt's El Rancho.

          1. re: whizdog

            I've had disappointing experiences with Saccones for the past year and a half. My lunch crew used to go all the time, and now no one wants to go anymore. It seems as if something changed, and the pizza doesn't "hold up" to the ingredients, getting real soggy in the center. The crust used to have a sour bite to it, but lately it taste more floury.

            1. re: rudeboy

              You're describing every Saccones experience I have ever had -- especially the soggy center.

        2. I tried Salvation for the first time last Friday night and found the pizza to be quite good. The crust was and thin and crispy, but not burnt, and it didn't droop in the middle. We (wife and I) had the #6 - sausage, onions, jalapenos and black olives. While I couldn't see the jalapenos, the waitress told us they were in there - just ground fine. It was spicy, so i believed her. I really liked it, the pizza was flavorful and served hot out of the over (from where I was sitting I could see them take it out of the oven and bring it directly to the table). Probably the best I've had in Austin.

          Service, on the other hand, was so so. I wouldn't call it horrid, it was kind of "nonchalant". It wasn't bad service, but you could tell the staff didn't really care if you were there or not. I'd overlook though, because the pizza was good enough to go back for.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Ken W

            i agree with you about the service at salvation pizza.
            i think rounders serves a better pizza, but i've only been there once.

          2. salvation is the best in town, i love my pizza thin and crispy and not too cheesy. wish they had more varieties though and wish they delivered. haven't tried saccone's though.

            8 Replies
            1. re: hungryfoodie

              Yes, I would definately recommend Rounder's. They are awesome and very favorable to what I have had while in NY down to the garlic knots. I understand the owner is from NY, but I am not 100% sure. Dare I say it is better than Saccone's (but, I love Saccone's, too)? Try the cheese pizza, add sausage, artichoke hearts and red onion at Rounder's. For starters, get the greek salad and some knots. Finally finish with a cannoli.... yum!

              1. re: Aggiegirl1998

                When you mention the pizza you had in NY, where did you sample the pizza? What qualities do you look for in a pizza? The reason I ask is that (because of its size) New York has more bad pizza places than Austin has restaurants of any sort. On the other hand the best of the best in NYC is very good indeed. I haven't tried Rounders, but neither Saccone's nor Salvation have hit the mark for me.

                1. re: Knoblauch

                  A lot of folks that I know from the Northeast have shown a preference for Reale's pizza. I can't be too descriptive because I haven't ordered a whole pie in over a year and I think that the pizza by the slice in a sit down restaurant is not a fair sampling.

                  1. re: Rene

                    I totally agree about pizza by the slice. I've been going to Reale's on Mondays, when whole pies are $3 off.We usually get a large pepperoni (to satisfy everyone) that is cooked a little crispy (to satisfy me). Nothing earth shattering, as it is just pepperoni pizza, but it holds up well and the crust has is thin but has some rise to it. The best thing is the pecorino on the table that's grated daily.

                  2. re: Knoblauch

                    Wife and I had a pie in Manhattan at Angelo's Pizza, 117 W 57th St, Btwn 6th & 7th Ave, just down from Russian Tea Room.

                    4.5 stars (food) in menupages.com. Redefined "Pepperoni Pizza" for me (which I don't usually care for - wife's half). The crust and cheese were the defining elements, which I think is the hardest thing to get right.

                    In '74, I worked delivery for the first Domino's outside of Florida - it opened at 26th off Guadalupe (my delivery car was a Gremlin!) The owners had carte-blanche to create a taste of their own, and they spent the first month fiddling with dough, sauce, and, primarliy, cheeses. The cooks and drivers got to taste and weigh in. They ended up with something far superior to the current (cost-conscious) day, and it was facinating to see how complicated a simple little pie could be. I was too young and stupid to take notes...

                    1. re: Knoblauch

                      Knobloch, I couldn't tell you the names of all the places I had eaten. I was doing an extern there and stayed with some friends who have lived there for years. We would order out or go and pick up. Definately not one of those tourist attraction-type places that screams "The Original NY-Style Pizza". Nonetheless, I just love pizza in general. But really, it really is all subjective, isn't it?

                      1. re: Aggiegirl1998

                        Yes, it is subjective. That was Knoblauch's point, if I read things correctly. However, posters can and do explain what their subjective idea of "great pizza" is. See Brian Lindauer's and saticoy's posts on the subject, for example.

                        1. re: MPH

                          In that case... my humble opinion of good NY pizza is nice, crusty crust... yet, to the bite it has a chew to it. Andthe dough should, definately should be salted... I HATE bland crust! It most definately has to be able to fold over in half so as to get as MUCH in your mouth as possible. Sauce... sauce must be non-tinny and not too sweet, either. I prefer the sauce to be a tad herb-y and very tomato-y. The cheese should by a good combination of good whole-milk mozzarella (and for me, not necessarily fresh) parmesan and/or other combinations. The cheese should be nice, bubbly and nice areas where the cheese has browned. I would get into the toppings.. but, that is a whole other post and I have pasta cooking on the stove ;) Hope this helps...

                2. Salvation may be the worst pizza I have ever had. I'm not even going to waste anymore time on this place by writing a review

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: ieathereforeiam

                    We ate there about 2 weeks ago. My dad, stepmom, my wife and I. And surprisingly we all thought it was really good. Good thin crust, with the right amount of cheese (i.e. not a big greasy gloppy mess). Nice sauce. We got three different kinds, can;'t remember. Maybe a Jalapeno, Mushroom Sausage, and something else. Plus a plain cheese for the kids. I really like it. Nice atmospere as well. Located in one of those old 30's Hyde Park houses. Service was a bit lacking. But the guy apologized about it repeatedly.

                  2. Best pizza IMHO is Reales, ask for extra sauce on it as they don't put on enuff, also sit at the bar and enjoy the zany hijinks of Dwayne, best bar tender in Austin.