By The Slice: A (Semi-Frequent) Column of One Man’s Quest To Conquer The Pizza of Richmond
Words and Photos by Tommy McPhail (with guest Pizza-Purveyor Kevin Hill)
Fellow Pizza-Pirates, it has indeed been ages since I’ve graced the digital landscape with lavish tales of the succulent, curious and (in some cases) downright questionable dish we all know and love. But have no fear! By The Slice is back with a vengeance and, much like Alec Baldwin’s obnoxious Twitter whining, won’t be going anywhere. This month’s guest Pizza-Purveyor is none other than The Sultan of Sauce himself, Mr. Kevin Hill! Kevin and I made the balmy trek to the heart of the Fan where we uncovered quite possibly one of the most legendary deals pizza-dom has ever known.
In this segment, we tackle Arianna’s Grill, home of the 1/2 Price 16” Cheese Tuesdays (SAY WHAT?!)
Arianna’s Grill is, first and foremost, is quite the jaunt from VCU. Though my secret source (and by secret, I mean Google Maps) informs me that the restaurant is nearly 2 miles from the Monroe Park campus (which means an even more-strenuous trek for MCV folks), but salivating ricotta-ravers throughout Richmond can rest easy: every single step is worth it. I’ve yet to undercover a pie-joint in town as satisfying as Arianna’s, though I hear Piccola may give them a run for their money. But I digress…
Upon arrival, Arianna’s was quaint, cozy and, not surprisingly, rather empty. However, when I caught wind that I could get a sixteen-inch NY style pie for less than a typical medium at Domino’s, my curiosity was piqued. Naturally, we went all in with gusto and got two (one cheese, one pepperoni, to shake things up). When our waitress arrived with our treasure trove, the sheer amount of pizza we received was staggering. The challenge before us was almost Man vs. Food-worthy.
First impressions can be hard to erase. Thankfully, this one measured up. Blended together, the cheese and thick sauce melded in perfect mozzarella matrimony. A true Italian recipe, this ‘za was the stuff of NY-style perfection. The crust was a bit bi-polar: flaky and awesome on some slices, sturdy and cardboard-esque in on others. The addition of pepperoni was the perfect accent to the deal, but the real game changer was the parmesan cheese. Kevin was thoroughly perplexed with its quality (after all, who expects the condiments to outshine the main course? That’s like going to Wendy’s for the ketchup). If that cheese came from some off-brand generic grocery store bottle, we were sufficiently fooled. Combine that with a stellar final bill (our receipt was quite the surprise) and top-notch service (we got a smiley face on said receipt), and you have one successful meal on your hands.
To be fair, the classic pizza joint was never intended to be fancy or decadent. Though lacking a bustling clientele, Arianna’s knows its niche and plays it up well, offering exactly what one would expect from a bungalow tucked away within the depths of the Fan. A college town main staple to say the least, it’s a wonder how the larger chains thrive in RVA with places like these lurking just around the bend!
Dining Experience: 2.5/4 (Props to the waitresses!)
Overall Deliciousness Index: 2.5/4 stars.
File Under: Post-Party Hangout Spot, Most Bang for Your Buck
Until next time, pizza pirates!