Posted by: Sean Carter | August 29, 2012

#86: Cool River Pizza

Exterior

Today I decided to stop by Cool River Pizza on my way home and use an Amazon Local deal I’ve been sitting on for a while.  This pizza joint has been on the corner of Cirby and Rocky Ridge since ’98 and I’ve never ordered from them in all that time.  I walked in just before 4pm to a quiet and almost empty dining room, there was just one person way in the back.  I was greeted as soon as I walked up to the counter.  I told him that I was going to need a minute or two to figure out what I wanted.  He said sure and slid a bell over in front of me and told me to ring when I was ready, then headed into the back.  Some people might think that’s impersonal or rude, and I was a bit surprised by it, but it actually worked out quite well.  I was left to peruse the menu at my own pace without feeling any pressure to make a decision because of someone standing silently at the ready in front of me.

Counter

With $20 to spend from Amazon Local I had decided that a medium specialty would be a good choice, leaving a few bucks for something else.  They have a lot of the usual side items including bread sticks and wings, but the thing that I was most curious about were the Cool River Chips (Thin dough with Ranch Sauce & Mozzarella).  There are several options: Ranch Chips (Garlic & Parmesan), Chicken Chips (Herb Chicken), Wing Chips (Spicy Chicken & Wing Sauce) and Confetti Chips (Diced Potato, Bell Pepper & Red Onion).  I decided to try out the ranch chips.  For my pizza I went with a half and half and this time I wanted to go all white sauce.  They have two different ones to choose from: creamy ranch and white Alfredo.  For one half I chose the Cool Chicken Ranch (Creamy Ranch Sauce, Herb Chicken, Crumbled Bacon, Tomato, Red Onion) and added mushrooms.  On the other half I got the Delta Luau (Smoked Ham, Dole Pineapple Tidbits, Crumbled Bacon) but asked for White Alfredo instead of the standard Cool River Red sauce.  Of the two crust options I chose the thin over the original.  I spent just about 4 bucks over the Amazon Local deal.

Boxes

Just about 10 minutes later I was headed out the door with my two plain white boxes.  The smell of cheese and bacon filled my car on the short drive home and made me even hungrier than I thought I was.  Once I got home I popped open the smaller box containing the ranch chips.  It resembled a small pizza with very light cheese and a cracker thin crust.  It was cut in a grid, making around two-dozen small squares.  Not only was the crust cracker thin, it was nearly as crispy as one in the center, definitely so around the edges.  The flavor of these outside pieces was dominated by the crust where it was darkest and on the verge of being burnt.  It wasn’t terrible, as an appetizer I think it’s somewhere between “meh” and decent.  Because I had my pizza right next to it at the same time it looked a little sad.  One of the ones with more substantial toppings might have fared better.

Cool River Chips

Cool River Chips

Ranch

At first glance when I opened the pizza box I wasn’t sure what to think.  The tomatoes didn’t look very ripe, and something else looked off, though it took me much longer than I’d like to admit to figure out.  The crust was done nicely, thin and with a bit of a crisp, but not so crispy that it would hold the entire slice up on it’s own.  The creamy ranch was smooth and delicious, with just a bit of a zest at the end.  This went really well with the herb chicken, which I’ve decided is light-years ahead of regular chicken found elsewhere.  I have no idea what herbs are used it but the little bits are clearly visible all over the pieces and add a significant amount of flavor.  The tomatoes were so-so, for texture they were nice to mix it up a bit but other than that I could have done without and not noticed.  There wasn’t as much bacon as I would have hoped for, but the chunks that were there were decent sized and tasted excellent.  The mushrooms were very subtle, I didn’t really notice them that much.  I really liked this side for the most part.

Pizza

Cool Chicken Ranch

Cool Chicken Ranch Slice

The other side was much simpler.  Mushrooms, herb chicken and onions on Alfredo sauce.  You might think that’s not at all what I described above with the Delta Luau, and you’d be right.  I have no idea how they came up with this.  From the menu it seems I got the White Water Dunk instead of the Delta Luau with Alfredo.  Despite not getting to try what I had picked out this side was actually pretty good, if a little more plain tasting than the Cool Chicken Ranch.  It was very smooth and creamy with the Alfredo sauce and the mushrooms on this side had a much more apparent impact.

White Water Dunk

White Water Dunk Slice

As far as the taste and quality of the pizza I was pretty happy.  Obviously the order was screwed up, but at least what I got in it’s place was still good.  The Cool River Chips were disappointing, I probably would not order them again.  Service-wise I was content.  The cashier’s attitude was just about right, not over the top fake bubbly and smiley, it was like interacting with a normal human providing satisfactory customer service for a take-out order.  Despite the mistake I think I would order from here again.

Finally, here’s Rupert, excited after a long day of napping to see me home.

Rupert

See this and more food I find at Foodspotting.com

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Responses

  1. I had cool river a long while back, and I can’t remember being either disappointed or satisfied – I’m sure my experience was similar to yours, minus the screwed up order. I wouldn’t mind trying this place again to remind me of the first time.

  2. I hate that thing where a server just stands there. It makes me nervous because I’m too self-conscious. Bring on the bells! I was happy to see the Return of the Pizza King in this review, though it wasn’t as good as “The Two Pzones” or “The Fellowship of the Za.” I’m a pretty big fan of Papa John’s cheese bread things and these cool chips seemed like thinner, drier versions of those. And we want more Rupert and more cute cats! Surely the cat isn’t named after Rupert Bear, the children’s comic strip character created by the English artist Mary Tourtel? No, that would be asking too much.


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