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Columbus by the Slice

Written by Scott Koenig, Image by Nicole Thomas

Sicilia’s

Sicilia’s Fine Italian Specialties offers an array of Italian-like food, most important of which being their pizza, in all it’s thin-crusted, glistening-grease glory. Their pizza by the slice is usually fresher than most others’ — it’s prepared in a brick oven, rather than one of those carnival-style pretzel warmers that, after thirty minutes, gives pizza the soggy and lifeless appearance of a moist hotdog bun. So after two or three minutes of reheating in the oven, the pizza comes out with renewed vibrance. It’s a classic, New York style street vendor slice, so thin and crispy that it’s begging to be folded in half and wolfed down with little regard for dining etiquette. The sauce is slightly sweet and tastes like it’s made with fresh tomatoes, but the cheese it supports is just average. Cheese is often the first ingredient to lose its pizza pizazz after reheating and Sicilia’s is no exception. But the product is redeemed by its tasty crust, so crispy outside and chewy inside that you’re compelled to finish every last bite of it before returning to shouting expletives at passing Red Sox fans.

Appearance – 9/10

Cheese – 6/10

Sauce – 8/10

Crust – 9/10

Overall – 8/10

 

Cottage Inn

Remember the carnival-style pretzel warmer I warned you about? The owner of Cottage Inn could not be reached for comment but I suspect he or she may have been a carnie in the past. The slice I ordered was the culinary equivalent of a tired old man walking out of a malfunctioning sauna. My pizza was lukewarm and bereft of vitality, begging to be put out of its misery. I obliged, but only out of devotion to my craft. The crust was previously frozen and as such, was too chewy, slightly stale, and offered no distinguishing flavor. The presence of actual tomatoes in the sauce was contestable at best and, perhaps as some sort of compensation, there was an excess of sugar — so much so that I wondered if the sauce was actually swapped out for some revolutionary new tomato-based candy product currently in small-market testing. I didn’t have the chance to tell for sure, though, as it seemed like half of the sauce that once existed was dried up in the dreaded pretzel warmer. Cottage Inn’s pizza did have one thing going for it, however, and that was its sharp and tangy cheese. All in all, it’s still pizza so it’s hard for it to be bad.

Appearance – 4/10

Cheese – 7/10

Sauce – 6/10

Crust – 5/10

Overall – 5/10

Catfish Biff’s

Catfish Biff’s Pizza and Subs has garnered somewhat of a cult following around campus but I attribute that more to the amusing quirkiness of their namesake being a whiskered, ray-finned freshwater lake dweller, and not to any striking quality about their food. If you’re a devotee of Catfish Biff’s, you probably live in a dorm on 11th Avenue. That said, they do offer a decent slice of pizza and that’s all you can really ask for in this dog-eat-dog world. This establishment unfortunately opts for the warmer instead of the brick oven to heat their slices, but it’s a notch above the warmer at Cottage Inn — my pizza still looked uninspired but it had a bit more pep in its step than it’s pretzel warmer companion. The warmer dried up much of the sauce, as expected, which ended up not being such a big deal because the sauce itself had enough salt to kill several slugs. The positives about this slice were its tart cheese and its delicious crust, with a near-perfect balance of crunchiness and chewiness.

Appearance – 6/10

Cheese – 8/10

Sauce – 5/10

Crust – 9/10

Overall – 7/10

 

A Slice of New York

I was raised in a family of native east coasters and A Slice of New York was the first place to give off a vibe reminiscent of the big apple. The employees had the charming carelessness of Manhattan pedestrians, the interior was decorated with all the design flair of a subway car, and the pizza was thin, crispy and delicious. It was love at first slice — as soon as it came out of the oven, a white light cascaded onto it from the heavens and an immaculately sweet melody filled my ears. They make you pay extra for the spotlight and the choir of angels but it was worth it. Their pie is the New York style standard. It had a beautiful light brown crust with fresh tomato sauce and tangy cheese. The only conceivable knock is that it could have used a little more sauce. Another conceivable knock, albeit not related to the pizza, is the fact that History Channel’s “Ancient Aliens” was playing on their television during my visit. The cashier spent 30 seconds trying to validate its entertainment value and being a friendly patron, I appeased him with conversational niceties. But let me be clear: Ancient Aliens is unequivocally balderdash.

Appearance – 10/10

Cheese – 9/10

Sauce – 8/10

Crust – 8/10

Overall – 9/10

Ancient Aliens – 0/10

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