A Slice of New York (Pizza)

12 04 2010
Atmosphere: 3/5   ♦   Service: N/A   ♦   Food Quality: 4/5   ♦   Value: 3/5
Times Visited:  Once   ♦   Will I Return?:  Sure
___________

The front of A Slice of New York Pizza in San Jose.Ok, how many pizza shops are called New York Pizza?  Seriously, it took me 5 minutes to find this one on Google because even typing “New York Pizza San Jose” into the search comes up with more hits than and oldies radio station.  I realize that many restaurants sell New York style pizza.  Use. A. Different. Name.

I suppose I should apologize to A Slice of NY Pizza for that rant, they deserved it no more than the hordes of other pizza places of the same name.  One of which, mind you, I’ve already reviewed.  But these two are not related, thankfully, despite a flash of panic when we arrived to pick up this latest pie.  Two of our friends who live in San Jose recommended (read: demanded) that we try this pizza place.  And unlike all the other “New York Pizza”s out there, this one is actually called A Slice of New York Pizza, though the distinguishing forewords are in such tiny print on their sign that no one but the hummingbirds are aware of it*.

Apparently this place is sort of legendary.  My friend tells me that lunch is a mob scene during the week and there’s often a line down the sidewalk for a slice.  We were fortunate enough to order take away early on a Saturday evening and avoid that nonsense, but the people speak loud and clear: they love this place.  The company’s site backs it up too – under the general information on the site they list a heaping handful of awards they’ve received.

Pizza slices and pizza makers inside A Slice of New York Pizza in San Jose.

My impressions?  First: the facility is small, there’s virtually no place to eat there (some stools inside and minimal patio seating outside when it’s not rainy/windy), and they don’t deliver.  The shop is not fancy; it’s a run-of-the-mill pizza place smooshed into an old strip mall with junk stapled all over the walls, and a small flock of people scurrying around at light speeds behind the counter.  Nothing special here.  Second: the pizza didn’t look great, I’ll be honest.  The toppings looked a little sparse (too much sauce showing through the cheese upon first glance), the crust looked a little limp, and the pizza box wasn’t even personalized (come on guys, show us your big shots, don’t just tell us!).  Not that any of these thing really matter, necessarily, after you’ve had a bite, but still, the lead up was throwing me off a bit.  Third: It’s not cheap.  Granted, the pizzas are large, but you pay for the hype and, hopefully, the quality, which always makes me wonder which is driving the price up more.

Generic pizza box from A Slice of New York Pizza, San Jose.

When we finally sat down to eat our dinner, I found that I enjoyed it a lot.  We ordered two larges (18-inchers, a good size), one with mushrooms, basil, and garlic, and the other with pesto and cheese.  When we ordered the pesto and cheese one, I think they took that to mean extra cheese (which we didn’t really mean, but I see the cause for confusion), which turned out to be a fabulous choice.  I love that phrase – “extra cheese”.  That’s basically how much cheese I always want.  Never normal cheese, standard cheese, or just plain cheese.  Extra cheese for me please, I love cheese.

Pesto Pizza

Pesto and cheese pizza from A Slice of New York Pizza in San Jose.

I think I’ve made my point on cheese.  The pesto was good, and I was happy to see that they used it as a topping over the cheese rather than as the sauce.  Bread, tomato sauce, cheese, more cheese, pesto.  It was a good combination.  The pesto didn’t knock my socks off, but it was enjoyable.  The other pizza may have been my favorite of the two, however, with the thinly sliced mushrooms, sprinkling of fresh basil, and diced garlic cloves.  I tend to be a toppings glutton, so I could have gone for a denser gathering of mushrooms and garlic (and, as you might guess, cheese), but I think they did a nice job constructing our pizza.  They tasted good; I would happily order them again.

Mushroom, Garlic, Basil Pizza

Mushroom, Basil, and Garlic pizza from A Slice of New York Pizza in San Jose.

Plus, I like their website.  Not because it’s terribly fancy, but because they include a link to their menu, they ask for feedback, they support charities (toward the bottom of the page), and they have a three-page long FAQ PDF available to answer all your frequently asked pizza-related questions.  And since I did want to know why they don’t have a medium size pizza, this was helpful to me.  I just like a company that is into what they do and puts effort into what they show to their customers.  Good info, guys.  Also, they include tax in all their prices which is, like, one of my favorite things ever that I think should be mandated by law in America like all the other civilized countries in the world.  I guess it’s just sort of a rant-y evening, isn’t it?

*Follow up note: The owner of the restaurant subsequently informed me that the title of the restaurant is actually “A Slice of New York”, they don’t use the word Pizza in their technical business name, though it is on the sign to let you know that’s what they sell.  This post was written prior to that knowledge and I don’t want to change it since this knowledge was found out afterward.  The title of this post was changed, however, to show the word “Pizza” in parens, and this note was added the day after the original post to appease said business owner.

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13 responses

13 04 2010
Kirk Vartan

Hi,

Glad you came in to try our place out (albeit via your friend’s demands). It sounds like everything worked out. I’m also glad you noticed the prices include tax. That being said, who are you comparing us to that would cause you to think we were expensive? Just wondering since I hear it every once in a while, but it is usually because people don’t think about the ~10% included in the price for tax.

We are working on boxes…really. Evidently, it is hard to get done well. Not sure why, it just is.

One last thing: Pizza is actually not in our name. It is A Slice of New York. Pizza is just what we do and we share that on the signs.

Thanks again and we hope to see you again soon!

-Kirk
Owner, A Slice of New York

13 04 2010
angiesommer

Kirk! Hello! Thanks for your reply, I’m so glad to hear from you. And hey, friends demanding things from other friends is what makes the world go round – now you have four fans instead of two! As for why I think you’re expensive, I guess I’m comparing to the better chains (Mountain Mike’s, Round Table, though they’re probably not too much cheaper) and some of my local places (Hayward). I think I’m just stuck in the mindset that pizzas cost like $15 for some reason, even though a $26 pizza that feeds four people is perfectly reasonable in reality. Oh, and Papa Murphy’s – you’ll never beat their prices, and some of their pies are good. Though I’m sure you’ll argue that your stuff is better quality, and I bet you’re probably right. The tax included does add just that much more to the price, and I thank you for taking the hit to the “image” of your prices so that we don’t have to fuss with tax. I wish everyone would do that, then we’d all just get used to it.

As for the name – the big letters on your sign are “New York Pizza”, so I feel like that’s what your patrons will refer to you as, even though you made an effort to have a more creative name. Maybe I’m wrong there, but that was my first instinct. Good luck with the personalized pizza boxes, I know how things can be more difficult than they may seem. Plus, it sure doesn’t seem like it’s hurting business at all – keep it up with the great pizza.

I appreciate your comment on my review – it always reflects well when the owner is actively working to promote the business in the community (online and otherwise). One quick question: may I ask how you found my review so quickly?

Thanks again, hope to see you again soon.

13 04 2010
Kirk Vartan

Hello again,

Perception is everything. For example, our “small” size is 14″ and a Round Table “large” is 14″. We cut all our pies into eight slices, while others tend to cut more slices for larger sizes. So, if someone asks us how much a large is and how many slices, they hear $18 and eight slices. What’s ironic is if you compare actual sizes, we are cheaper. With regards to chain products over our products, all I can do is comment on quality. I don’t know very many chains that will use a deck oven; most us a conveyor creating a different product. And for $14, you can get a small (14″) pie at our shop, so you are not too far off….remember a large is most chain locations ;). And we are not trying to compete with Papa Murphy’s, Papa Johns, or other low priced chains. That is really not what our customer base wants and not what we want to deliver. We focus on delivering an exceptional product to customers that know they are going to get a quality pizza without compromise.

With regards to the logo/sign…sure, we put Pizza in big letters so people know where to find pizza! Our logo is usually paired with Pizza since that is what people come in for. So I hear ya, but if we didn’t have pizza on our signs, that would be bad for business. I know many people think our name is just NY Pizza….in fact some regulars say the same. Not much we can do about it, though. The only time we worry about it is when it comes time to voting for their favorite pizza place….then I get nervous!

I did have a question: how come you did not rate service on our shop? Service is one of the things we also try to exceed expectations on. Just curious.

I hope we will see you again soon and I look forward to earning your respect and trust in order to become a 5/5 place….that is my goal.

With regards to your review, it’s on the web and I’m a tech guy, so I gather :)

-Kirk

13 04 2010
angiesommer

Hi again Kirk,

Thanks for explaining all that – great reasoning. I see what you mean and now I see that you are competitively priced. How about your pizza seems expensive but really isn’t when you work it out. I was more responding to the specialty pizzas on the menu that are $20 for a small and $26 or so for a large. You (sadly) have to realize and make allowances for the fact that we are all brainwashed by the massive advertising and marketing that other places do – everyone tries to trick us into thinking we’re getting more for less, so when we actually are, we have a hard time recognizing it. I lump myself in with the general public on this one, clearly I was duped too. But I like the way you do it better – I don’t mind 8 slices for $14, just keep on telling people that it still actually is a deal!

Maybe I should have mentioned my service rating – the reason I put an “N/A” is because we did pick up, so didn’t get standard table service that I normally rate, and also because I wasn’t the one who did the ordering and pick up. My friend ordered over the phone, and he picked up and paid while I ogled at the things on the wall and chatted to my other friends. I didn’t feel like I paid enough attention to rate the service accurately, and I didn’t want the rating to suffer for it. Next time I’ll pay attention and let you know what I really think. I haven’t done a follow up review yet, maybe your place can be the first one. :)

Thanks for the question and your participation. All the best to you and your business!!

13 04 2010
daddyo

mmmmmmmmmm……pizza!

13 04 2010
Carissa C.

As the friend who did the demanding, let me say that I love this place and it is the best pizza that I have eaten in San Jose.

Kirk Vartan, since you’re monitoring, I’d like to make a suggestion. My pizza is usually colder than I prefer by the time I get home to eat it. It’d be great if you had those delivery guy insulating pizza boxes for sale at your restaurant. I’d love to buy one and bring it with me when I come to pick up, so that my pizza is nice and hot when I get home.

13 04 2010
Kirk Vartan

Hi Carissa,

First off, thanks so much for the kind words and support. I am glad you found us.

I attended the International Pizza Expo last month in Vegas, and Little Caesars has bags that are designed to do just that. For about $5 a bag (customer cost), I can have a bag made that will hold two 18″ boxes. The problem is I need to order like 5,000 of them in a run. I can’t afford or store that many. I would be open to the idea of selling individual delivery bags, but I don’t have the room to hold a lot of them, so it will be a one-off thing and run about $25-30 a bag. If you would like me to get you one, I can get specifics and get back to you. I can probably get them a little cheaper than you, but maybe not. For example, if you want one, I might just order five to get a discount on them and make it more affordable. Then, I’ll keep the others and sell as requested.

The other option is a pizza stone. There is really nothing better. We do sell those. They run $50 each (inc. tax). They are 15 1/2″ round and 3/4″ thick, made of the same material as the decks in our oven. Our decks are 2″ but the end result for you would be the same as thickness helps production with heat retention, not cooking. That way, you fire up the oven before you come down and 25 min later, your oven is at 500 deg. with a pizza stone. Drop a couple of slices on there for a minute or so (especially with the veggie ones that get wet), and your slices will crisp right up.

I’m open to other ideas too.

Thanks again for the support,

-Kirk

P.S. Is there any way to edit the title of the post so that our name is correct? Thanks.

13 04 2010
Kirk Vartan

Perfect! Thanks!

14 04 2010
Carissa C.

The only problem with the oven method is that your pizza smells so delicious in the car that I am compelled to eat it the moment I get to my house.

I’d be happy to pay $30 for an insulated carry-out bag that was just the right size for your pizza boxes, and I’m sure I wouldn’t be the only customer to feel that way.

14 04 2010
Kirk Vartan

I will price it out and get back to you pronto!

15 04 2010
Kirk Vartan

Ok…I got the price for you. I think I can make it work for $25 + tax (just kidding). $25 even. I will have to sell it for $30 in the future if others want it, but since it was your idea, $25 for you.

Let me know if you want to pick one up and I’ll make it happen.

Thanks!

-Kirk

P.S. I hope you guys are fans of our facebook page!

16 04 2010
Carissa C.

Yes, I’d love one! Thanks.

Let me know when to come by and I’ll order some pizza.

14 04 2010
Tweets that mention A Slice of New York Pizza « broccoli and chocolate -- Topsy.com

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Trent. Trent said: Blog post about the shop. Pizza is real New York with flavor, tax included, its small & kitschy… http://bit.ly/c1NkYr [...]

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