By Mike Thayer
Pizza is my favorite food. Burgers, steaks, lasagna, anything grilled and an assortment of other dishes are high on the list of favorites, but there's nothing quite like a good slice of pizza pie.... That slice of pie has that perfectly baked crust that's flaky/crispy on the outside, but tender and fluffy on the inside. Then there's the marriage of toppings, the subtle spices of pepperoni and sausage, assorted veggies that are tender-crisp like onion and bell pepper. The sauce, it's got to be a zesty sauce, providing those notes of garlic and oregano with each bite. And bringing everything together is a generous portion of melted cheeses, mozzarella, Parmesan, perhaps some cheddar or provolone that bubbles up in the oven to golden, brown, deliciousness!
No national chains will be included in this challenge. Only the local, regional pizza joints qualify. Besides, Domino's sucks, Little Caesar's really sucks (sucking SO bad they don't even deserve a link) and Papa John's and Pizza Hut are average tasting pizzas at best. The fact is, most of the local/regional joints can run circles around the national chains in dishing up high quality, great tasting pizza.
During the course of this challenge I'll consider customer service, time to order, price, appearance and of course, the most important thing, TASTE.
Today's review is on Marchello's in Wichita.
This is the 18th restaurant of the 19 I selected for my quest in finding the best pizza in the metro. In full disclosure I've never had the pizza from Marchello's before, this place found a spot on my list because friends recommended it. Hey, what can I say, I'm a transplant from Iowa!
I ordered the Marchello's on their original crust, with the 'Marchello's' being the restaurant's version of a supreme style pizza. Here's the description from the Marchello's online menu: Pepperoni, Italian sausage, mushrooms, onions, black olives, bell peppers, ground beef. Anchovies available by request. I decided on another carry-out for this trip, it's college football bowl season and when a restaurant doesn't have TV's for viewing, I'm not staying to enjoy the ambience, I'm getting my pizza and going home to enjoy my pie in front of the tube with a game on. I placed my carry-out order with the restaurant over-the-phone at 5pm, and the pleasant lady taking that order informed me that it would take about 20-25 minutes to be ready. That worked out just fine, because I was driving across town to pick up my pie.
I entered the restaurant right at 5:25pm and PERFECT timing! I was greeted warmly at the door and in letting the attendant know I was there to pick up my carry-out order, she quickly reviewed the pizzas ready for pickup, there were quite a few, a nice stack - if that's not good tell of just how good Marchello's pizza is......... Clarifying if I was "Mike" or "Michael" to ensure I got the right pizza, I paid for my pie and out-the-door I went in short order.
And regular readers know I like to 'bitch' about the pizza pain I go through driving home with that pie, those wonderful aromas of warm crust, seasoned meats and gooey cheese... But it's TRUE, the aroma pain physically, OK, virtually hurts..... Once again, I had to exercise 'pizza discipline' and channel my inner William Shatner, a.k.a. Captain Kirk, MUST.NOT.EAT.IN.THE.TRUCK....... MUST.GET.HOME......
"So the aroma was good, how did the pizza taste?" You ask....
Without hesitation, this is THE best pizza I've had so far in this challenge, with one pizza joint left to try.
Let's start with the crust, the foundation of a good pie. The crust was soft, pliable, buttery, 'pillowy', with just a hint of crispiness on the outer edge from the melted cheese. Now I'm typically a thin crust kind of guy, and this was no thin crust, but it was so good, Marchello's has me rethinking the thin crust thing. With each bite of this pizza I found myself saying, "Wow!"..... The pie was LOADED with toppings and this crust carries it, proudly, the pie was baked to perfection, golden, brown, delicious. Of all the pizzas I've sampled through the course of this challenge, this one was THE most balanced pie I've sampled, a perfect marriage of flavors. All the meats and veggies were nicely seasoned, hitting ALL the notes you're looking for in a supreme style pizza and oh-so generously portioned! The cheese was melted perfectly - yes, I'm using that word a lot - the crust was spot on, the toppings were spot on, the cheese was spot on, but what put this pie over-the-top for me was that sauce! Marchello's has THE best pizza sauce in town, hands down. Let me sum up just how good this pizza is/was: I couldn't wait to eat the next slice! I stopped at three, exercising more of that 'pizza discipline.'
Costing me $13.21 for a small pie, I'm giving Marchello's 5 out of 5 stars. The price is VERY reasonable and it's in my humble opinion THE best pizza value in town and the best tasting to boot! Said with one more restaurant to try of course....... Marchello's is a MUST visit if you haven't already done so. I don't think I've given my signature line for any of the pizzas sampled so far in this challenge, but Marchello's is ANOTHER DOSE OF YUM!
Marchello's is located at:
3107 S. Seneca St., Wichita, KS 67217
The service was courteous, attentive to detail and my carry-out order was prepped, baked and boxed right on time!
$pend Wisely My Friends...
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