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Saturday, December 27, 2014

Town Pizza-Update Review

Town Pizza
5101 York Blvd
Los Angeles

Town Pizza is a very popular pizza restaurant in Highland Park, that has been open for about a year now.  It's mainly a take-out location, though there are a few tables outside and a counter inside.  Soon, they will open their dining area.  When they first opened they only served slices.  Recently, they added whole pies, medium and large sizes, to their menu.  They do not have air conditioning, so during the summer it is hot in there!

As you can see from the above photo, it used to be Italiano's Pizza, a long time Highland Park pizza restaurant, they still have their other restaurant on Figueroa.  Town took over and painted the building red, but left the Italiano sign!  Maybe when the dining area opens, they will change the sign?

I ordered two cheese slices, $2.75 each.  The crust is usually very good, light and flaky, but anytime you order slices, you're at the mercy of how they the pie has been sitting on the counter.  The slices pictured above, I can tell that pie had been there for a long time.  The crust was too crispy.  But, the sauce is very good-light and balanced; no flavor overpowers one another, and there is a good amount of cheese.  Now, I've only had cheese slices here, but I noticed they used canned tomatoes and corn.  You can see their stockroom and they have their cans stored on a special rack.  That may bother some people.  Overall, these two slices weren't as good as other slices I've had before.  But, I like Town Pizza and now that they serve whole pies, I'll order a fresh baked pie and give an updated review.

Service is good.  I was greeted when I walked in, they were nice and friendly, and I got my slices quickly.

I'm a Town Pizza fan and I think it's much better than Maximiliano and Folliero Pizza & Italian Food, the other two Highland Park pizza restaurants I've reviewed.

Update July 11, 2016

Large fresh jalapeno and fresh mushroom, $17 plus $2 per topping.

So finally, Town Pizza has started serving whole pies!  They also opened their dining area.  I was looking forward to getting a whole pie, so on a very hot and humid summer night, I went back to Town Pizza.

If you noticed I put fresh jalapeno and fresh mushrooms.  Town Pizza has pickled jalapeno and a garlic sauteed mushroom.  The pizza is very good- good crust, good cheese, fresh topping-though they could put a bit more on the pizza.  But, something was missing.  It wasn't as great as their slices.  Maybe I've had such good pizza in the past few months because of the five places I tried on  LA Eater's 16 places to get a killer slice of pizza in Los Angele, Pie Life Pizza in Pasadena, Pizzanista, Pellicola, Joe's Pizza and Prime Pizza, that I'm judging pizza differently.

 Service was good.

I will give Town Pizza another chance. But, I was disappointed with their pizza, the first time I ordered a whole pie.  

Saturday, December 13, 2014

800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria-Closed

800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria
2 E Colorado Blvd
Pasadena, CA

Updated Review- June 28, 2017.  I went back to 800 Degrees a few times, sometimes for their daily Instagram special.  While the pizza was fine, the service went way down hill and the lack of dinners when I went, even during what should be a busy time, proved how terrible the service has become!  One time I went there and once I got to the cashier, she was texting on her phone while I was standing right in front of her!  If that isn't the worst service!  I realize people love their phones, I don't care if servers/workers in restaurants use their phone AS ALONG there isn't a customer right in front of them!  Another time, nobody was behind the counter.  I have no idea where everybody was.  But, ONE person can't be behind the counter to take the orders?  I found out this week that this location closed early in 2017.  The reason given was bad plumbing.  I'm guessing the real reason-TERRIBLE service and the owners just didn't give a damn!

800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria opened their first location in Westwood.  Then they opened up other locations in Santa Monica and LAX.  They moved away from the snotty westside and opened their Pasadena location, in Old Town Pasadena.  This is another addition to the wood fire pizza places in Pasadena, that includes the already reviewed the chain- Blaze Pizza, Luggage Room and Settebello.

800 Degrees took the place of Louise's Trattoria.  This is a design your own pizza or order one of their own designer pizza.  The narrow dining room is separated from the kitchen area, but the wall makes it hard to hear them calling your number when your pizza is ready.

800 Degree has a daily special on Instagram.  The Pizza of the Day for 50% off.  There are no substitutions or deletions for the Pizza of the Day, you must get it as prepared.   The day I went it was a marinara pizza, crushed tomatoes, garlic, oregano, olive oil, with shrimp and capers, $4.05.  Listed price for the marinara is $5.55, rock shrimp-$3, and capers $1.25. 

This combo didn't would have been better with cheese.  But, the major thing is that the sauce is lacking in flavor and depth.  They could make this bolder.  The shrimp was cooked very nicely and there was a good amount.  The capers added a very nice flavor.  

But, the best part is the nice, soft, chewy dough.  Now, some parts of the pizza are burnt or chard, which I don't like and doesn't need to be there if the pizzas are rotated. 

I also designed my own pizza.  I got the margherita, $6.95, crushed tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, Parmigiano Reggiano, olive oil, and basil, with mushrooms-$1.25.  Again the sauce lacks flavor and the crust is great-though this pizza had a few more burned parts.  The toppings were fresh and flavor and the fresh mozzarella made this a very good pizza.

The main difference between 800 Degrees and Blaze is that 800 Degrees charges you for every topping, including cheese.  They do use slightly higher quality ingredients. 

Service was very good.  The people are all helpful and friendly. 

I had heard many good things about 800 Degrees.  It was good, but it wasn't the best pizza I've ever had.  I would go back, if I'm in the area but won't rush back.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Red Devil Pizza-Upland

Red Devil Pizza
907 W Foothill Blvd

Last week David Allen reviewed The Original Red Devil in Upland.  He, mentioned their $5 lunch specials and I decided to give them a try.  But, I had to go to the real original Red Devil in Covina, first.

The Red Devil in Upland is in the Sprouts Shopping Center, the same center as Johnson's Hot Dog, used to be.  Sadly, they closed.  While Johnson's wasn't the best hot dog, the owner was very nice and cared about his customers.

Red Devil is huge!  They must host a ton of little league parties and with Upland High School across the street, I'm sure many post game parties.  Most of the tables are communal picnic tables but they have a few booths near the front entrance.   But, the decor is all black and it's a very ominous feeling. 

I got the mini, 8 in, pizza with mushrooms and a drink for $5.  The pizza is good.  The same exact sauce, crust, and quality toppings as the Covina location.  This is a damn steal for $5! 

What wasn't the same was the service.  I don't say Hi, when I walk into a restaurant.  That's the job of the hostess/workers.  Every retail job I ever had, the number one thing they mentioned was greet the customer!

Well, I walk up to the counter and the girl didn't say anything!  At the Covina location, I was greeted the second I walked into the restaurant.  She barely said anything, except that will be $5.40.

While waiting for the pizza, I went back to my car to drop of their take out menu.  When I walked back, she said your order comes with a drink.  She was just going through the motions.  She wasn't rude or mean, she just needs to work on customer service, the first being, greet the customer!

I then went to the restroom, which are suppose to be renovated, and they really need to some TLC, when I got back a man, who I think is the manager, asks me if I needed help!  So there is somebody who cares about customer service at the Upland location.

I would only go back to the Upland location for their lunch special.  The $5 special for the pizza is a steal!  They just need to train their workers on customer service.

The Covina location is more convenient for me and they made a much better first impression!   The pizza is the same quality at both locations.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Red Devil Pizza-Covina

Red Devil Pizza
116 W Badillo St

The New Diner has been to the Red Devil Pizza in La Verne, and wasn't that impressed.  I knew about the Red Devil Pizza in Covina, but was always under the impression that they were owned by the same people.  I was wrong, the Covina and La Verne location are separate businesses.  So, I finally decided to give the Red Devil in Covina a try!

The sign says serving Covina since 1966, so the must be doing something right.  Located just west of Citrus and Badillo St., Red Devil takes up three spaces of the building.  There is a large banquet room, a dining room and a take out and kitchen area.

I ordered a small (12 inch) mushroom pizza, $11.99.  The mushrooms were fresh, not canned like some places, and very generously spread on the pizza.  There was also a ton of good quality cheese.  The sauce was very good-balanced, one ingredient didn't overpower others.  The crust was soft, crispy on the outside and chewy inside.  I was very impressed and wished I didn't wait so long to give them a try!

Service was very good.  I was greeted when I walked in and the guy was very friendly and helpful.  He  answered the few questions I had.  If you noticed the chairs and yellow tape in front of the store, it's for a Holiday Parade that was scheduled for later that evening.  As I walked around, the lady in the main dining area, greeted me and asked if I needed anything.   I told her I was waiting for my pizza and looking around.  She was very nice and encouraged me to look around.  The banquet room was all set for a party!  There must have been 50 boxes of pizza ready for people!  I know YMMV when it comes to service at any restaurant, I read the reviews from the jerk people on Yelp and one major compliant is the poor service.  I only experienced great customer service!

I would happily go back to Red Devil Pizza in Covina!  What a civic treasure!  Oh, there is a Red Devil in Upland and they are owned by the same people!  Check out the review of the Red Devil Pizza in Upland.