Has Louisville reached the saturation point for pizza? Some of my foodie friends are aghast at the seemingly endless march of pizzerias that keep arriving in town. The Baxter Avenue/Bardstown Road and St. Matthews strips are particularly pizza-rich environments, but they’re everywhere – even, in today’s excursion, the far East End.
Yet the pizza keeps on coming, and consumers, it seems, keep on eating. I think I can explain this: Particularly in the city’s thriving nightlife zones, there’ll be an appetite for pizza as long as there’s an appetite for adult beverages. What better way to lay down a base for an evening on the town than a sizzling slice loaded with cheese and greasy toppings?
I say there’s plenty of room in Louisville for more pizza. If they build it, we will come. Red-checked tablecloths are a definite comfort-Italian-food bonus, even if this pizzeria tradition – like pizza itself – has become as much an American thing as an Italian thing.
Red-checked tablecloths, by the way, were all the rage for fancy American restaurants in our grandparents’ time. New York’s pricey 21 Club had ’em. So did Louisville’s storied Casa Grisanti, back when it started as a simple Italian-American joint that sold pizza through a to-go window. They went white-tablecloth back in the ’70s when fine dining became a thing, but the iconic image seems to have stuck in the pizzeria scene.
The subject of today’s exploration, Old School NY Pizza, brings red-check tablecloths and decent New York-style pizza, too, to the outer suburbs, tucked into a small strip center on Factory Lane just off LaGrange Road at the Snyder Freeway between Anchorage and Pewee Valley.
This may seem like an odd place for a a friendly crew of wisecracking ex-pat Brooklynites to set up shop, but they’ve settled right in and are drawing crowds to their brightly painted storefront with pizza that’s every bit as good as your standard NYC street-corner pie.
As you’d expect of a corner pizzeria, the bill of fare is simple and straightforward: 18 styles of pizza, from plain cheese ($14.99 plus $1.75 per topping) to the loaded Brooklyn Deluxe ($20). You can get 18-inch whole pies, pizza by the slice, or calzones. There’s house-made gelato for dessert and fountain soft drinks. Tuesday is Kids’ Night from 4-8 p.m., when youngsters can build their own, painting on sauce and laying down toppings for $3.
New York-style pizza is thin, with toppings applied generously but rationally so you can fold it over and eat it from the point back. (Forks are optional, but plastic utensils are available on request.)
The Whitestone, a New York-style “white” pie, bears creamy ricotta and mozzarella with shredded spinach on a thin Italian-bread crust. The Brooklyn Deluxe carries a healthy ration of pepperoni and sausage, peppers and onions, black olives, mushrooms and chunks of garlic. The veggie model (all their vegetables are grown by local farmers, they say) is like the Brooklyn without the meat, and tasted virtuously healthy.
Peanut butter gelato ($1.50 for the smallest portion) was creamy and Reese Cuppy. I could have gone for a bigger size.
We both got two big slices and a fountain drink for just $6 each plus tip, an all-day deal that makes the trip out to the East End worthwhile.
Old School NY Pizza
12907 Factory Lane
Robin Garr’s rating: 85 points