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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.

Extras: 6
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.

Service: 5.3
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.

Running Tally:

1) Newport Pizza Company - 8
2) Dewey's Pizza - 6.15
3) Fort Thomas Pizza - 5.375


  1. FYI, Dewey's is not a microbrewery. They don't outsource their rotating tap selection any more than Old Fort Pub outsources their Bud Light.

    I think I agree with the spirit of this review for the most part (easy to hit a long wait time, server carousel, chain or not a chain?, etc.) but Dewey's is not even in the same ZIP code as FTP when it comes to quality/taste and efficient service, let alone on the losing end. Try the Bronx Bomber next time somebody drags you there!

    Looking forward to more of these.

  2. You won't find a better pizza than what's served at Pepperoncini's in Silver Grove. I'm telling you w/o prejudice, it's the best pizza in Northern Kentucky. They one the Recorder's NKy Pizza Challenge last year. A nice selection of craft beer on tap.

  3. There's a long wait at Dewey's because it's good pizza. Thus, you have people waiting to be seated and served.
    Dewey's is far more inventive, creative, and atmospheric than FTP. The quality of Dewey's dough, and in-store, handmade ingredients cannot be rivaled by the likes of FTP. Sorry guys.
    Try the Edgar Allen Poe or the Green Lantern.
    And their Greek salad?! No one can hold a candle to it!! Or the Harvest Salad w/apple cider vinaigrette.
    10x better than either of the pizza companies you mention.
    I'd rate Dewey's a 10+ and I consider myself a pizza connoisseur!

  4. Man guys, I don't know what type of pizza you're used to, but Deweys is head and shoulders above any of the places you've visited so far. The Green Lantern is one of my all-time favorite pizzas, and Deweys' salads are as good as any you'll find anywhere - especially their daily specials.

    Frankly, you're way off the mark here.

  5. Points well taken - I'm sure if we went again we'd get another impression. FTP almost got a "bye" because they were our first trip.

    Perhaps the long wait time dragged down the pizzas unfairly.

    May have to head back to Dewey's again.

  6. The Dr. Dre is named after a former manager at the Newport location, a late 20-something great guy named Andre, aka Dre, who died of diabetic complications about a year ago.
    It's great that they honor him with his very own pizza.
    The whole Dewey's family misses you, Dre!!

  7. I have to say.. we never go to the Newport location of Deweys.. Pay parking (or a 4 block walk), and the wait for tables is just too much..

    If we go to Deweys, it's Crestview Hills or Oakley.

    That said, the Green Lantern and the Billy Goat are fantastic.. If you are going for traditional toppings, it's just good, not great... Salads are also fantastic...

    I don't agree that it's head and shoulders above Newport Pizza Co., though... I'd rate them as similar in food quality..