Styles of pizza: New York-style thin crust, Sicilian thick crust
Service: dine-in counter service, carry-out
Standout tidbit: Avoid the free cookies as you exit. If you need sweet stuff, go for the straight-outta-Brooklyn Drakes Cakes displayed throughout the joint.
Review: After much great za lately, I was excited to try the proclaimed best NY-style pizza of 2006. Being the NY-style pizza lover that I am, and finding Big Bill’s to be near my suburban office, I couldn’t wait to try it out. However, I think someone over at Westword must have had the munchies when they picked this one. I don’t claim to know where the best NY Style pizza in Denver is, but Big Bill’s CAN NOT be the best. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying Big Bill’s is bad, per se. But to be the best – I mean, that’s setting some lofty expectations.
We headed over for a lunch-time za about a week after “the best” rating came out. It’s one of those typical suburban strip mall pizza joints, with a blandish interior (think plastic wood tables and chairs stolen from Shakey’s) and random NYC-related sports crap.
Big Bill’s large pizzas are only 16″, and four of us usually split an 18-incher at Anthony’s. So we warmed up with large salads ($3.25) and tasty garlic knots ($3.99 for a dozen). The knots were good, slightly salty/garlicy and the marinara sauce was delish as well. So far, so good. The menu also offers calzones, and anything that looks or sounds remotely Italian.
After a short wait, out came our piping hot fresh cheese za. We dug in eagerly. My first slice had somehow been missed by the sauce fairy as the red stuff was really sparse. (The second slice was better in that regards, and the sauce was interesting – slightly sweet – once I got some.) The crust was crunchy and cracker-like, which was probably because it had to hold its weight against the rivers of oozing grease. But almost too crunchy, in a disturbing “Am I going to chip my tooth?” way. The amount of cheese was a little on the skimpy side, with a small spattering of oregano sprinkled on and baked in to top it all off. The pizza was a little more on the “well done” side, when I prefer medium doneness (perhaps explaining the crunch?).
(Oh, and that Westword review? It lies when it says the slices are foldable. NO FOLDING HERE! Did those guys even TRY this place? Or did they just see “New York” in the restaurant name and deem them worthy?)
Overall, the pizza was fine – really more forgettable than memorable. But it was pizza, and all Zealots know that some pizza is better than no pizza at all.