You’ve probably seen the ads for a Detroit-style pizza they’re featuring now at Pizza Hut. It’s about $11. Until a few years ago, I’d never even heard of Detroit-style pizza. The New York vs Chicago pizza war is well known, but Detroit? I never thought about Michigan when I thought pizza. Pizza Hut describes it as “a rectangular, deep-dish pizza that is loaded with cheese and toppings all the way to the edge of a cheesy, crispy crust edge. The premium diced tomato sauce goes on top after we bake it.”
I haven’t tried the Pizza Hut take on Detroit-style. But there was a place near Busch Gardens called Pizza Squared that drove me wild. If you’ve seen my previews reviews, I love pizza having the sauce on top. For fast food pizza lovers, it’s something different and usually raises an eyebrow. But once you’ve had it this way, you’ll realize this is probably how pizza should have been made all along. Unfortunately that place near Busch Gardens is now gone so when I saw some great reviews for a Detroit-style pizza about 15 minutes away in Safety Harbor, I put in an order. Detroit-style takes time much like a Chicago deep dish so the timing seemed spot on. In fact, their menu asks you to be patient and allow for 25 minutes for the pie to be prepared.
Nona Slice House’s online menu had one big red flag to me… they don’t specialize in one type of pizza. They have the usual traditional New York style, an “Olde World style,” which sounds a lot like my favorite spot Cristino’s in Clearwater where the sauce is on top, and the aforementioned Detroit style. I’ve always found that small menus get big results. If you try to be everything to everyone, it’s more taxing on the kitchen staff and doesn’t let you specialize, perfect and dominate one particular thing. You’re not going to get great sushi at a place that offers tacos, eggrolls and steak. Nonetheless, I put in an order for the “Death By Pepperoni” with pepperoni, Rosa Grande pepperoni, and Cup n’ Char pepperoni with smoked provolone. This might have been my mistake. More on that in a minute.
When I arrived at Nona Slice House, the place was jumping. There was live music. There was open air seating with very few empty tables. Parking wasn’t plentiful. All the signs that I’m in for something good were there. And I was in for something good. It’s just that I was hoping for great. I found the take out pick up in the back where I was surprised to see my pizza was already made and ready to go. After tax and a modest tip (I hate tipping when there’s no real service involved and you haven’t taken your first bite… huge pet peeve of mine), I was out the door with my $27 pizza.
I don’t mind paying extra for a great pizza. There are good fast food pizzas in Tampa Bay for under $10. But when you want to get a more homemade, craft pizza experience, I’m good with paying double. $27 seemed steep to me. That’s the price for a decent steak. But hey, if it’s great, I’ll have no regrets.
So how was it? It was good. Really good. Not great but really good. $27 good? No. But good. It was the saltiest pizza I’d ever had. But what did I expect ordering something called “Death By Pepperoni?” The thing is this pizza also had a lot of grated cheese. I also probably should have done my usual thing and ordered the pie with extra sauce. The best part about the pizza was the texture. It was phenomenal. The crust was crunchy at the bottom and fluffy in the middle. Plus it had a little bit of charring but it wasn’t burned to the level that it had any kind of negative effect on taste. And you already know I’m a fan of the putting the sauce on top game plan. It’s just that all this good was overwhelmed by the saltiness with all the pepperoni and grated cheese.
I’ll give Nona Slice House a B+… for now. It’s definitely above average. I have a feeling I’ll upgrade the rating to an A if I try a different pie. Detroit-style isn’t easy to find so I’ll probably go with their “Detroit Red Top” and have them use extra sauce and avoid the pepperoni onslaught next time. I’m also pretty curious about the “Olde World” pizza. If it’s anything like Cristino’s, I’ll probably be a fan.
As for the price, you don’t have to spend as much as I did. A basic New York style goes for $13. But they also have daily happy hour specials from 4 to 7. They feature a slice of the day which you can find posted on their Facebook page. 2 slices and a beverage will run you about $10. And if you have your Super Man costume on, you’re in luck. In what might be the oddest weekly special I’ve ever seen, on Superhero Sunday, you’ll get 10% off your bill if you rock a superhero t-shirt.
If you want to give them a try, Nona Slice House is on your left as you enter downtown Safety Harbor. It’s at 997 Main Street. To call in your order, the number is 727-351-7570.
#GenoAteTampa: Geno’s pizza tour of Tampa Bay
Let me show you around Detroit, New York City and Chicago… without leaving Hillsborough and Pinellas County.
If you’re up to do some traveling, here are some of my other favorites…