#260: BOSS. Pizza + Wings

12:30PM, 10/2/2021

https://bosspizzapluswings.com/

I picked this place out earlier in the week and I’ve been gradually more excited about the day as it came up. I didn’t know much about this place other than it seems to be a ghost kitchen. They don’t have any storefront and looked like they might be operating from John’s Incredible Pizza. I recall seeing a positive mention on Reddit or social media a month or so ago. I finally visited the website today to figure out what my ordering options were as far as in-store, on a website or on an app. They are available by phone, the website or through a variety of the usual food delivery apps. There are 6 locations total, scattered throughout CA with a couple in NV.

Once I got to the website I was intrigued by the “Cali-Detroit” style pizza they were talking up. Besides Little Caesars (I guess you can call it pizza) I’ve only had one Detroit-style pizza I can recall (found a photo of it, below) from a place on K St in downtown Sac called Pizza Rock, now closed. It was phenomenal. Anyway this sort of piqued my interest and I was off to place an order.

(Detroit Red Top from the now closed Pizza Rock in Sacramento)

It’s a nice clean site and easy to get to the menu. I hate when sites make you start an order to look at the menu…oh and you want to start an order? Now you need an account. Not here, very straightforward. That said, I did need to start an order to see the pricing, but they still didn’t require an account at all, even through checkout. They did ask for an email address. I’m not sure why since they didn’t email me an order confirmation or any receipt.

I wanted to get a half and half with something simple and something more unique to this place (they talk about their bacon here and there: BOSS Bacon – Thick sliced hickory smoked bacon, caramelized with pepper flecks for an extra kick). Unfortunately half/half is not an option so I went all in with a standard combo (The Works – All the goods: pepperoni, sausage, bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, and olives.)[$16.99]. I also wanted to get some wings, and the most economical way to do that allowed me to also try the Vampire Tots from the sides. I grabbed the 6pc wing combo, bone-in, half with lemon pepper flavor and half with sweet chili. It comes with a choice of fries or tots, including the jazzed-up Vampire tots (Vampire Tots Tots seasoned with garlic and Parmesan cheese with choice of ketchup or spicy ketchup.) as well as a soft drink [Total combo = $11.99].

I finished placing my order at 12:30PM and had a pickup time of 12:58PM. This is where things started to go sideways. I had placed the order using my desktop computer. The order confirmation page was clearly intended for a mobile screen, all scrunched down to a narrow column. On it was a button that you tap to check-in once you’re parked in their curbside parking spaces. Obviously I couldn’t click this button from a couple miles away (there is a phone number you can alternatively call when you arrive too), but I made it happen with remote desktop from my phone, just to play this out as intended.

(A lonely a-frame outside a red door is the only indication that you are in the right place)

I arrived and checked in at 12:59, entering information about the make/model/color of my car and putting the hazards on as instructed. After watching the steady stream of people going in and out of both John’s and Rockin’ Jump for a while, I gave the number a call at 1:15. This was a slightly jarring call because initially I was met by a robot that told me it was connecting me. Ok. Then a woman answered for John’s Incredible Pizza. I let her know I was here for BOSS Pizza curbside pickup and she put me on hold to check, then came back in less than 30 seconds saying it would be out in “a sec”. Back to waiting and watching, another 15 min went by and I called back at 1:36. This was basically the same phone call except it was a different woman and the time given was “8 minutes”.

I considered going in at some point but having peeked inside the red door when I arrived, to see what it looked like, I would have had no idea where to go to ask about it. Literally the only place you will see their logo is on that A-frame sign out front. It’s just John’s Incredible Chaos and a mass of kids beyond the door. To the second woman’s credit, her estimate was pretty close, although still a couple minutes short. At 1:47 someone brought my order out to the car, mentioned that utensils were in the bag (brief aside, what utensils would you expect to receive with pizza, wings and tots? There were none in the bag of course, just a straw) and that was that.

I brought it home and opened the box to reveal a heavy rectangular pie, about 9×13″. It was not as enticing as the website showed. What should have been a crisp, buttery crust was limp and clearly underdone. The toppings were all there, in addition to what looked a lot like Round Table’s fire roasted tomatoes, which was not as advertised.

This was a big disappointment. It was not very hot and ended up being a dense block of bread, cheese and greasy toppings that wanted to all roll off the slice the second you looked at them wrong. The toppings themselves, particularly the veggies and mushrooms were actually ok. The meats were not particularly notable. Although the cheese was well melted, it had long since solidified. I think this was made sometime after my first call and left to sit under a heat lamp while the wing combo were forgotten and then rushed after call #2. I am typing this the next morning and having thrown a couple slices into the oven (450º for about 11 min) for a balanced breakfast and I can say that this gave it some new life with a nice, crisp crust and actual, thermal-heat. Even that didn’t elevate it beyond anything very ordinary, unfortunately.

The pizza has some potential. Unfortunately it was fumbled and lost deep in a ball pit somewhere in that giant Chuck E. Cheese competitor. At it’s best I think it would only rank among the most average pizza we have available in Roseville.

The Vampire tots didn’t look like they had any garlic or Parmesan on them. They did have a bit of a garlic taste though. They were still relatively crisp and mostly warm. I had picked out the spicy ketchup to go with these, out of curiosity, but I think I was given regular ketchup because I got no spice whatsoever from it. I set it aside after dipping four or five tots. They were totally…fine.

Digging into the wings, one of the stars of this order (not that it says much) were the lemon pepper flavored wings. This was supposed to be an order of 6. They were pretty tiny little guys and I like to think I received 10 wings because the people making them also acknowledged this fact, but it’s just as likely to have been an error. That said, the lemon pepper was very strong. Bright lemon cut with the bite of a heavy dose of black pepper. These felt a little overcooked, though the chicken was still reasonably moist within.

Last but not least were the sweet chili wings. These were drenched in a dark, syrupy sauce. Unfortunately I can’t tell you how these tasted because they didn’t taste like anything. It was quite the mind-warp. They really looked like they would have a rich, sweet and/or spiciness to them. It was just nothing.

This was a bit of a roller coaster from when I first heard of them, to the concept of a Cali-Detroit style pie, through the long wait, non-existent customer service and overall disappointing food. I can’t see myself ever returning. The 1.5 rating is mostly held up by the strong lemon pepper flavor, the OK tots and that re-heating the pizza stepped it up a bit.

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