First Stop: Mt. Adams Pizza & Deli
Date: Sunday, January 15th, 2012
Location: 1045 Saint Gregory St. Cincinnati OH, 45202
Ranking in Cincinnati Magazine 2011: 26
There are a few basic pointers that we’d like to share with anyone bent on visiting this locale. First of all: Unless you spent a lot of time at the Pavillion in your early twenties, frequent Playhouse in the Park, or are otherwise very familiar with Mt. Adams’ maze of San Francisco-like streets, I strongly recommend charting your path beforehand. We put our faith in a smart phone GPS, and an ETA of 11 minutes turned into a 25-minute trip. Not dreadfully long, no, but it did more than double our travel time.
Two: Parking kind of sucks in Mt. Adams, even on an early Sunday afternoon. There are street spots everywhere, but they seem to be always taken, or have a 10 minute time limit. We almost parked in one of the latter, but had concerns about earning a parking ticket (I mean, if we’re going to eat our way through this pizza list, we need to watch our dough). We ended up parking in a lot on St. Gregory, only about a block and a half down from the pizzeria, with its entrance opposite a UDF. I think the fee was just $2, but, as the mature 29 year olds that we are, we never ever have any cash in our wallets. So, make sure you have some cash on you.
And lastly, our third warning is to keep in mind that this place has two names. In Cincy Magazine, the 26th top place for pizza in the Queen City is Mt. Adams Pizza & Deli. Yet, the window of this establishment advertises Mount Adams Pizzeria. Further, our pizza box featured a Mt. Adams Pizza & Deli logo. I’m still confused. I suppose we could have asked one of the two workers behind the counter, but we didn’t really care anymore by the time we each stuffed half of a medium pizza into our faces.
Minutes before heading up the street to the pizzeria, we had a discussion about how, unless they were extremely remarkable, we would hold back on too much judgment about the atmosphere, employees, the service, and décor of these pizza establishments. After all, we were reviewing the top pizzas, not the top restaurants. However, that pretty much went out the door for me when we finally stumbled upon Mount Adams Pizzeria. As it turns out, after writing this post and discussing our experience afterwards, it seems that it might actually be a little difficult to extract those other factors from our final summation.
Upon discovering the restaurant, the initial feelings I had were akin to those experienced as a 5 year old girl, when after a long and arduous journey to Florida’s Disney World, I discovered that the Snow White Castle was just something that you were supposed to walk under, not actually explore. I had expected to have exclusive access to the quaint, luxurious, and private dwellings of a princess, when the truth was, I just got to stand there and look at a shell of an artificial castle. Inside, there were probably just hollow stairwells and electrical circuits running past a bunch of broom closets or something.
Ok, maybe it wasn’t disappointment that I felt at the pizzeria. After all, I still ended up being really happy at Disney World. It just wasn’t what I was expecting aesthetically, so I had to take a step back and remind myself what I was really there for. In Disney World, my purpose certainly was not to ogle pretty things; it was to ride the rides until I got a headache, get a sunburn, take pictures with Mickey Mouse, and let my Grandparents spoil me with snow cones and souvenirs. Today, the purpose was to discover if the hype was warranted at Mt. Adams Pizza and Deli.
The place is no-frills, and caters mostly to carryout and delivery orders from around the neighborhood. There are 3 small tables in the front part of the restaurant, and you order as soon as you walk in right at the register. If you don’t know the menu, or haven’t checked it out online (www.mtadamspizza.com), you might feel awkward and rushed as you attempt to read through the menu taped to the counter while the cashier watches you. They do offer vegan, gluten-free, and healthy pizza options, if that’s what you’re into.
We each ordered a soft drink, and found that, here, they are served by the can. The can was $0.75, so it is not an issue of extreme over-pricing. The issue – though admittedly not a major issue, especially to you health-conscious readers – is the inconvenience factor. We are both spoiled by the availability of caffeine and free refills, and I suppose have come to expect them whenever dining out. When I’m eating pizza, I don’t want water, sheesh! We paid for everything up front at the counter, and with a credit card. Of Again, neither of us had any cash on hand. Perhaps we should have had the foresight to just order 2 apiece at the onset, but we didn’t, and honestly, probably hoped that one soft drink per person would suffice. So, of course, an hour in and 6 slices down, we were in a dilemma. Happy ending, though: we managed to pillage enough change from the inside of our purses to accumulate the necessary $1.50 to indulge in some more sugary deliciousness.
The “no frills” atmosphere is supported by the delivery of the pizza to our table in a closed takeout box that carries plastic plates and plastic forks atop for our use. Thankfully, the server provided an effective metal spatula in order to better cut and serve our slices.
After that long-winded intro, I’m going to keep it pretty brief here in my description of the pizza. As noted, we ordered the King of the Hill medium pizza. This thing was LOADED with toppings: pepperoni, sausage, ham, black olives, green peppers, and onion. At first, we questioned whether or not the red onions were cooked. I’m sure they were just super fresh, and probably lightly cooked, but either way, we found that it didn’t matter because they tasted just fine and added a nice juxtaposing crunch and a fresh, biting flavor to the other toppings. The only thing that was lacking was the green peppers. At first, I wasn’t even sure if they were supposed to be on there or not, because there were so few of them. A later investigation of the website revealed that they are indeed a part of this pie. I mean, look at the pictures and compare them to the amount of the other accoutrements…the green peppers are mere specks!
The part of this pizza that most stood out for us both was definitely the crust-it was light, chewy, and crispy, and offered a great flavor-something that only New York Style pizzas ever seem to accomplish. It was thin and doughy in the middle because of all the toppings, and the edges were supremely delightful. The crust is not so incredibly dense that it completely fills you up. We often find that we forego pizza crust in order to save room for another slice. Here, we were able to eat four pieces each, crust and all. The sauce did its job, but I can’t remember exactly what it tasted like because of the overwhelming amount of toppings.
If I lived in the neighborhood, I could definitely see myself going back for carryout after a long workday and trying the other kinds of pizzas that they offer. We hear that the Diablo is delectable, if you’re a fan of spicy food (we are not). It’s not a pie I would go out of my way for, but I would definitely recommend it to someone looking for quality pizza with lots of variety. Pick up a 2 liter at UDF, order a pie at the counter, and head on home to enjoy the pile of fresh toppings and a very tasty crust.