Saturday, November 26, 2011
NKy's Best Pizza Quest: Dewey's Pizza
Well, it's Thanksgiving weekend, and I can't think of any food more synonymous with Thanksgiving than pizza. Wait, what? I've obviously had too much coffee.
The FTM crew visited Dewey's Pizza on the Levee on Tuesday at the behest of many commenters on the blog and our Facebook page (like us here to receive more updates, join in the conversation and to register for future contests and prizes) and Ben's girlfriend, Sara. Watch the video above to find out why she loves it so much.
Dewey's was a borderline restaurant, in that I wasn't quite sure if it's considered a chain or not. When we got there and I started looking around, I don't think they quite knew either. They had awards posted on their wall for best non-chain pizza and best chain pizza from Cincinnati Magazine, just a couple years apart.
You know the drill by now. Here's what we thought:
Atmosphere (1-10 scale): 7
It's hard to knock the atmosphere at the Levee. The people watching is pretty good, especially if you sit on their indoor patio, facing the other bars, restaurants and shops. Upon entering the Levee at Christmas time, you can find elves on huge swings and people on stilts. Pretty festive environment.
Inside, the Plexiglas to the kitchen allows you to watch the pizza makers make your pizza. They do the whole thing: roll the dough, toss it, spread the sauce and place the toppings. If you have a little one in the party, like we did, the bakers will good-heartily toss flour at their onlookers.
Overall Pizza Taste/Selection: 6.3
As fun as it was to watch them make the pizza, that may have been one of the highlights of the night. We tried 4 different pizzas: the pepperoni standard, a Hawaiian pizza (ham and pineapple), the Billy Goat (a Greek type pizza with goat cheese, Roma and sun dried tomatoes, and green peppers), and the Dr. Dre (a California chicken bacon ranch) which was the pizza special of the month and whose purchase proceeds went partly toward Diabetes research.
My all-time favorite pizza is the Hawaiian and I've gotta say I was pretty unimpressed. The toppings seemed to be quartered off from one another. Huge pieces of ham, then a layer of pineapple, then ham. Intermingling the toppings would have helped here. The sauce was pretty uninspiring as well.
The Billy Goat seemed to be the table favorite. The goat cheese was a sweet surprise among a sea of ingredients, while the Dr. Dre was the pie that had the most leftovers on the table.
We were lucky to get to try to the Pepperoni, as Darrin's son Peter, killed 4 of the 6 pieces of the medium. The ranch dressing that Sara raved about did add a zesty kick to the pizza. So make sure to ask for a side of it the next time you go.
The ranch dressing is a must when you go here. I'd love to tell you how they make it, which they do in house, but I can't do it justice like Sara does. Peter was loving the pepperoni/ranch combination as well.
No appetizers from what we saw, which was kind of weird.
Nice beer selection. Not overwhelming, but around 7 different types of smaller batch beers including Stone and a Dewey's brand beer. It would have been impressive if they actually brewed it in house, but they outsource to Mt. Carmel Brewing Company. Still a nice choice for you hopheads.
Dewey's has a unique way of serving you. There is never one dedicated server, instead you have a constant flux of servers that seem to act as a carousel. The result of this coordinated confusion is good service.
Again, as a former server, I appreciate how difficult the job actually is and Dewey's servers were amazing while we were there.
The downside to our visit was the wait time. Granted, not completely their fault and they did make up for it, but on a Tuesday with a party of 8 we waited over an hour for a table. Perhaps it was because in colder weather, without the help of the patio, there is just not enough room for a larger party.
We had a group of about 15 tweens celebrating a birthday party where we would be sitting, essentially Bogarting the larger tables as they had the servers run bottomless Diet Cokes back and forth. The manager on duty did her best, taking our pizza orders while we waited so that when we did finally get to sit down, our pies were waiting for us, but the wait time left a bad taste in our mouths, no pun intended.
Dewey's may just not be the place for you if you've got a party over 4-6.
The bartender was great while we waited, serving up a number of samples from their beer selection. Seemed knowledgeable about his keep. Good job there.
Total Score: 6.15
Dewey's has some uniqueness to it. The way they serve and the atmosphere are top notch. However when the menu is pretty much cut-and-dry, focusing on their pizzas and the pizzas are pedestrian without their ranch dressing, it would be difficult to get a great score on our NKy's Best Pizza Challenge.
1) Newport Pizza Company - 8
2) Dewey's Pizza - 6.15
3) Fort Thomas Pizza - 5.375