Time for pizza again! Today I stopped by Riverside Pizzeria. It’s located on Riverside Ave almost across from the BMX track. I had driven by this place countless times thinking it was an abandoned building. The corner it’s on with the unmanned commercial fuel station helps give the impression of a vacant lot. One day though, I noticed neon signs in the windows (not all that easy to see in the daytime). Ever since then I’ve been a little curious about it.
I’m guessing the building must have originally been a drive-in type place based on the covered parking in back. Never having a reason to do anything but drive by I never noticed it (or the little strip of three businesses on the other side of Darling Way). Stepping inside was interesting, if only because of how small and strangely laid out it was from the perspective of the front door. Immediately to the right is a tiny ordering counter, directly ahead is a narrow path maybe 10-15 feet long before it dead-ends. I can’t recall now, but there must have been stools along the counter that was on the left side of this path. On the left is the dining area, a small little room with tables, a couple arcade games and TVs. In here the other side of the aforementioned counter definitely has stools (I even sat on one, so I’m pretty sure that’s right ;)) Even though the place is pretty small, it feels a bit more open due to the windows that go all the way around on three sides.
I studied the pizza options on the menu which is right next to the counter on the window. I decided on a 12″ medium, enough to take the leftovers to work for lunch tomorrow. I was kind of in the mood for something with chicken and artichokes, though I ultimately just went with a half and half and didn’t get my artichokes. They have them on the menu, but they are considered a gourmet topping and are charged at twice the normal extra-topping rate, which is why I skipped them. What I went with instead was half Riverside (salami, pepperoni, sausage, green peppers, onions and black olives) and half Gourmet Chicken (grilled chicken, red & green onions, bacon and tomatoes with creamy garlic sauce). I paid and was told about 20 min when I asked how long it would be. I used some of that time to go across the street to get a photo. The cashier was a bit vacant, but the two other employees I had very brief interactions with when I got my pizza seemed friendly enough. Probably closer to 15 minutes after ordering, I had my pizza handed to me, was offered cheese, peppers & napkins and then I was on my way home.
I grabbed a Dr Pepper from the fridge and cracked open my pizza box. The first thing I noticed was the crust witch appeared to be well baked and seemed a little between your average thin and thick crust, leaning towards thick though. Toppings appeared plentiful and uniform on the Gourmet Chicken side and uneven on the Riverside half, where the outside slices were almost completely empty in the center, and what toppings made it on them were falling off the sides.
When I picked up my first slice I could feel that the crust was actually quite soft throughout, but it had just enough firmness to almost hold the slice up on it’s own. According to their website, they make the sauce and dough from scratch daily. The crust was definitely good, and I’m much more of a thin crust guy. The Riverside, despite the uneven toppings, was pretty good. It’s a petty typical combination pizza as far as toppings go, all of which seemed fresh and tasty. The sauce was a touch on the sweeter side.
The Gourmet Chicken was fantastic. The creamy garlic sauce was some of the better of that type that I’ve had. There was a good amount of moist, tender chicken, and a lot of bacon as well. The green onions were crisp and had a little bite to them. The tomatoes were just a bit bigger slices than I care for and nearly overpowered the bites they made it into.
I was pretty happy with Riverside Pizzeria overall. I can definitely see myself ordering from them in the future, and the dining room looks like a fun place to overwhelm with a big group. The prices were a bit on the high side, I think on par with Round Table Pizza, but I feel like the quality backs it up. Not really much to complain about here.