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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Nky's Best Pizza Quest: Toppers

I feel like all I do is write about pizza these days. For that reason, as soon as Mio's in Fort Thomas opens, we will bring this feature to an end and focus on Mark vs. Food (which will be Saturday, February 18 - details to follow on Friday).

Toppers, located in Highland Heights in the same shopping center alongside of Chipotle and Smashburger, is obviously catering to the college crowd at NKU.

Atmosphere (1-10 scale): 3.5

The atmosphere at Toppers is virtually non-existent. A glorified waiting area. The owners obviously are trying to capture most of their sales via delivery and carry out. There are two areas to sit. A few couches in front of 4 TVs on the right, with a four-top table alongside of a few barstool seats on the left. Extrapolate the current layout into an entire dining room, and they may have something, but until they rent a bigger space, you literally cannot go to Toppers to eat in comfort. We had to take our pizzas back to the house. The pictures below are literally the only places you could sit and eat. Non-smoking, however.

Overall Pizza Taste/Selection: 7
Pizza is best when you get to eat it right out of the oven. The cheese doesn't have time to congeal on the way home, the crust is still warm, and the sauce almost still bubbly. Maybe that's why Domino's created the heat wave delivery pouch. I digress.

We ordered three different pies this time. And when I say different, I mean Bizarro World different. Three "myza" pizzas were $6 each and is the current special Toppers is offering. A myza, is just a small, rectangular pizza, cut into four medium sized pieces. It was perfect for what we wanted, basically a small sample size pizza.

Usually if a pizzeria has smaller size pizzas, you are relegated to ordering cheese, pepperoni or in some cases a supreme. The cool thing about Toppers is that they put on restriction on what you can order. Their selection of pizza was by far the most different and diverse than anywhere we had been.

There are 18 "House Pizzas" - which include The Hangover Helper, Buffalo Chicken Topper and Cool CBR (Chicken Bacon Ranch). At this point in the pizza challenge, we've pretty much tried everyone's best version of a unique pizza. With that in mind we ordered the Mac N Cheese, Taco Topper and Potato Topper.

The thing that struck me about Topper was the fact that all three of the pizzas we tried didn't necessarily scream pizza. They were all on a crust, had a base sauce and toppings, but biting into the three pizzas we ordered, we could have just as easily been eating a side of macaroni and cheese a taco salad and a potato skin. The Taco Topper and Potato Topper even came with sides of sour cream and salsa.

Probably my biggest pet peeve when it comes to pizza is simply placing toppings on top of a pizza, and not incorporating them into the cheese or sauce. The 915 had this issue with it's Ceasar Chicken Salad pizza, and Toppers had this same issue with their Taco Topper. There were so many loose tortilla chips, olives, and taco meat, I literally had to shake the loose items into a bowl and make a taco salad out of it.

All in all, the different selections were welcomed and the Mac N Cheese was surprisingly delicious.

Extras: 5
We didn't try any appetizers or sides because we didn't eat on site, but Toppers did have the normal "extras" fare: wings, cheese sticks, grinders, etc. No beer or wine though.

Service: n/a

Overall, Toppers is probably best suited for college kids. Don't try to take your family here, but if you want to try a really "out there" pizza, or maybe trying to pick something up to please everyone, Toppers may be up your alley. If we were solely rating the taste of the pizza, like so many others do, Toppers may be higher up on the chain. Unfortunately for them, FTM grades on the pizza "experience," and at Toppers, there is little to speak of.


Running Tally:

Running Tally:
1) Buona Vita - 8.15
2) Pepperoncini's Pizza 8.03
3) Newport Pizza Company - 8
4) Raniero's Pizzeria - 7.8
5) Dewey's Pizza - 6.15
6) 915 Pub and Grill - 5.75
7) Pasquale's - 5.5
7) Fort Thomas Pizza - 5.375
8) Toppers 5.12

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