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What's up with Rhode Island pizza?

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Okay, I have lived here in Rhode Island for 8 years and still have not had a good slice of pizza. This is strickly my opinion of good pizza--- hand tossed, thin pizza that you can fold while eatting; most would know it as neapolitan pizza. I say probably the closest to this is Fellini's on Providence's East Side but I feel that is more gourmet pizza, not pizzeria pizza. The type you have with a generic yellow beer and eat off of a paper plate. Any suggestion to where I can get thin, fold-able pizza around Providence? This is just confusing to me because there is a high concentration of Italians in Rhode Island.

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  1. I know what you mean...I gave up and make my own! I wish I could make it thinner, but what I've made always seems better than what I can buy.

    1. I'm from NJ, and know exactly what you mean. I've been here for 10 years now, and still haven't been able to get used to the standard RI pizza.

      That said, there are a couple of places that almost, but not quite, get it right. Vivaldi's in th Edgewood section of Cranston, on Broad Street, has the foldable part right, if not the flavor 100%. Also Pier Pizza, which has a few locations, can be decent. We frequent the one in Cranston, near the YMCA. (www.pierpizza.com). Again, it's definitely got the foldable quality, with lots of bubbles in the crust, and the flavor and texture are good, but not spectacular. Better than most of what you get in Rhode Island though. Occasionally they do burn the bottom, but that problem seems to have been resolved as of late.

      Good luck! And please post if you end up finding anything that hits the mark. There used to be a place on Park Ave in Cranston that was outstanding, but unfortunately they closed up shop. Vivaldi's and Pier are really the only two places I go now.

      1 Reply
      1. re: dagwood

        I'm originally from NY and I know what you mean about most RI (and most of New England) pizza. I've never been, but what about Caserta Pizzeria on Federal Hill (www.casertapizzeria.com)? I always thought that they made an authentic thin crust Italian pizza. Papa Gino's makes a serviceable thin crust pie. There's lot of great food in RI and New England.... but pizza generally isn't in the "great" category up here.

        The problem in the RI/MA/Eastern CT area is that most places make the Greek style pan pizza. It can be very tasty too, but never quite as good. So if anyone knows some pizza places in RI that make you feel like you're back in NJ or NY please do tell.

      2. Isn't there a Pier Pizza in N. Kingstown? Would you consider that one a worth while try?

        4 Replies
        1. re: Alica

          Yes, there is one in N. Kingstown. I've never been to any of them except for the Cranston one, so I'm not sure how similar they are. Since it's a local chain I would assume that they are more similar location-to-location than not, but I can't testify to that.

          1. re: Alica

            we get pier pizza all the time at work...definitely good by RI standards but no way close to good by this ct transplants stanadards

            1. re: aquidneck

              which location? I'm wondering if they're different. I may need to do some travels to other locations. All in the name of research, of course ;)

              1. re: dagwood

                the wakefield location. Probably my favorite pizza in RI which isnt saying much but its not bad.

          2. You are the second person to recommend Pier Pizza. I have also received two recommendations of Twin Pizza in North Providence. I agree about Papa Gino but used to enjoy the Regina Pizza in the Providence Place Mall before it closed.

            2 Replies
            1. re: sarahbeth

              Twin's Pizza is amazing... but it is not what you are looking for. It is Rhode Island style (i.e. relatively thick crust and rectangular). Defintely not foldable.

              Have you tried Via Via or Pizza Pieer in Providence?

              As to the confusion, while there are lots of Italians in RI they did not necessarily migrate by way of NY/NJ. They developed their own style of pizza which as far as I know doesn't really exist outside of Rhode Island (see Tommy's, Casserta's and Twins).

              1. re: sarahbeth

                Yes, Regina was good, especially considering it was in a mall. If you liked Regina I do think you'll like Pier. I haven't tried Twin Pizza.

              2. I'm originally from NJ and the closest and best that I've found is Vetrano's in Westerly.

                http://www.vetranosrestaurant.com

                1 Reply
                1. re: hmahady

                  I have eaten at Bertucci's in Warwick twice and thought the pizza was good (the pasta, not so much). In fact, I was surprised when I discovered it was a chain, since usually, chains are not good at all.

                2. Yeah, Rhode Island pizza is mostly it's own style (one that I don't "get") at that.

                  The one place I've had pizza that's enjoyable to my New York and New Haven calibrated tastes is Frank and John from Italy in downtown East Greenwich.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: kaszeta

                    For us, Island Pizza at the corner of Frenchtown & Rt 2 have the best Pizza in RI - much better than Frank & John which we find to be very good, but not great (their typical poor / slow service is also a concern). We've found only Jerry's & Pepes of CT to be better. Unfortunately, Island is primarily a take-out with limited seating & NO ambiance. Rather than getting a large, we've found getting two smalls to be best. With the large, the center tends to be soft or if the center is crisp, then the edges are overdone. Smalls have consistently been baked to perfection.

                    Regina is quite good for a mall pizza, but is typically way over loaded with salt. Bertucci's is OK for a chain, but there is much better available. Pier is OK, but way thin - very stretched / very limp. They sell 2 slices with a drink for $5 near the Naragansett wall - a great treat in the area, but not worth seeking out. We didn't care for Caserta the two times we tried it - OK, but not worth seeking out.. That said, there's a lot of terrible pizza in RI - especially the bakery sheet style which is hardly eatable.

                    1. re: Clams047

                      There are some nice places in RI. Felinis is pretty good, Two guys from Italy is good, Kingston Pizza on Gansett Ave in Cranston even thpugh its a chain the gril who owns it does a pretty good job but no matter where you go in cities its all different I love NY Pizza places like Johns, Patsys its almost as close as Naples italy Pizza

                      1. re: Frank Terranova

                        Okay, the search is on! I will try Island pizza and Pier, NK. I am not a Caserta gal. I do enjoy the pizza at The Muse, Wakefield. Kingstown pizza has always gotten great reviews! Please, can we bring back Adesso's!!! We loved their pizza!

                      2. re: Clams047

                        Clams -- by "bakery sheet style" are you referring to what we generally know as pizza strips?

                        I would certainly agree that to someone not from RI, this style of pizza looks very dubious. But I would suggest that people give it a try. It's authentic RI food, just like clamcakes, and NY system weiners.

                        1. re: Bob W

                          Agreed. As a NJ-native, I was slow to come aboard the pizza-strip-train. But I do find it part of the local charm, and I will now gladly partake. And partake again. And perhaps again :)

                          1. re: dagwood

                            Hey dag -- for you and anyone else looking to experience real RI food, this website is a great resource. It has comprehensive listings of places to get pizza strips, cabinets, weiners, etc. Funny commentary too.

                            http://www.quahog.org/cuisine/

                            For the uninitiated, pizza strips are great for the lactose intolerant -- they generally have no cheese (some might include a light sprinking of parmesan).

                            Also, the basic pie at Caserta's also has no cheese -- and we don't miss it. We always get olives and mushrooms, no cheese.

                    2. Meritage makes a pretty darned good grilled pizza...just thought of them!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: RIRN2008

                        Junction Trattoria and Bistro has very good NY style pizza:

                        http://www.thejunctionnk.com/

                      2. This may sound like a ridiculous and possibly impractical suggestion, but as a NJ native the only thing I have ever found that even comes close to what you are looking for is the bar/pizza shop located at the RI Indoor Sports Ctr (now called Teamworks RI I think) on Jefferson Blvd in Warwick. Not quite up to NY/NJ standards but far better than anything else I have tried in RI. I don't really know if you can get it to go though, I have only ever had it at the (low class) bar inside the sports place.

                        As a point of reference Regina was ok but this is better and closer to the style you are looking for. Cheap yellow beer and paper plates are readily available.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: nfnebwiri

                          Actually, I have not had the pizza @ Teamworks, but my (also-NJ-native) husband has, and he said the same thing. I'm there often enough w/ the offspring that I really should give it a try one of these days....

                        2. Hi sarahbeth, I will refrain from specific comments -- as a native Rhode Islander (now living in the pizza wilds of Virginia) I think I'm coming at this from a different perspective than most of the posters on this thread.

                          Instead, I will offer a general comment -- the Italians in Rhode Island most likely come from different parts of Italy than the Italians in New York. For example, the residents of the Knightsville section of Cranston either are direct immigrants from or, more likely now, descendants of immigrants from, a single town in Italy -- Itri.

                          Whatever the reason, foldable pizza is just not a big part of the Rhode Island pizza heritage -- with exceptions of course. For example, I ate a lot of Papa Gino's growing up. That's certainly foldable pizza and really pretty good. Paper plates and cheap beer definitely available too.

                          Also, surely you have noticed the many Houses of Pizza in RI. These serve what we know as "greek pizza" -- not that it originated in Greece, but that your typical House of Pizza is owned by Greeks. Clearly, this style of pizza -- medium thick crust, very salty cheese -- is very popular in RI. Virtually every town has at least one House of Pizza.

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: Bob W

                            To add to Bob's comments, why cant people just accept the different styles of Pizza in RI for what they are? Cassertas/Twins/Tommys, Al Forno/grilled pizzas, "greek" mom and pop joints, bakery pizza strips.....for the most part you cant find these types of pizza in other parts of the country just like you cant find an exact replacement for NY or NJ or New Haven Pizza in Rhode Island!

                            1. re: joe777cool

                              Wow, this topic hit a nerve in some people. I guess I better go out of state to get a nice, thin slice of pizza before someone else gets offended that I don't care for Rhode Island pizza.

                              1. re: sarahbeth

                                Its all subjective, I dont think anybody really minds that your opinion of RI pizza is low, you have your specific tastes as does everyone else. My point was that there is a wide range/variety of good and some excellent pizza styles in RI and just because it doesnt suit your or others specific taste (which is often very regional) doesnt mean there isnt a single good slice in RI. While I also like the NY style the best, like you, I can appreciate the other interpretations.

                                1. re: joe777cool

                                  In sarahbeth's defense, she did state in her original post "this is strictly my opinion".

                                  I don't think there's anything unusual and/or offensive about seeking out the tastes you grew up with. I also think there's something to be said for experiencing and appreciating food "cultures" that are regional and may be new to you. The two are not mutually exclusive.

                                  1. re: dagwood

                                    Agreed, but I also think that sarabeth overstated the tenor of the reaction to her original post. I don't think anyone expressed anything that indicated that she "touched a nerve."

                          2. try nice slice on thayer street. thin, crisp wheat crust. good sauce/cheese/topping ratio (ie not 2" thick layer of cheese).

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: wormwood

                              I had Nice Slice for the first time last night, and it was incredible. The sauce, crust, toppings......simply delicious. I would have like a bit more cheese but Im not sure if the crust could support it. I can't wait to go back for another!

                            2. Pizza King. My work is done here....

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: Jeff J75

                                This was also discussed a few months/weeks ago...check out: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/636548

                                In Providence, Via-Via might come close to what you are looking for.

                                1. re: Jeff J75

                                  Pizza King agreed!

                                  -----
                                  Pizza King
                                  430 Ledge Rd, Dayville, CT 06241

                                  1. re: FjmArch

                                    there seems to be a few Pizza Kings, can you be more specific?

                                    -----
                                    Pizza King Restaurant
                                    2100 S Main St, Middletown, CT 06457

                                    1. re: joe777cool

                                      I'm suspecting they're referring to the one in East Nowhere, CT (just over the state line).

                                2. Ok here's the deal from a Mass. Transplant that's been here 13 years now. I still travel to Mass for good pizza; BUT I found NY/ Neopolitan good pizza in a few spots.
                                  1. New Haven APizza in North Providence
                                  2. Nino's in Cranston
                                  3. Neo Pizza in Cranston.

                                  Now if I do want 'Rhode Island Style' which I consider to be "Sicilian" then I go to Uncle Tony's; not Casserta so much.

                                  -----
                                  Neo Pizza
                                  2244 Plainfield Pike Ste 5, Cranston, RI 02921