Monday, November 30, 2009

Sally's Apizza

As I write this I am heading south on I-95, getting as far away from Sally’s Apizza as the four wheels on this car will allow- from the worst pizza experience of my life.

I can already hear the cries of blasphemy, but someone had to say it.

To preface my confession, I have cut my pizza patron teeth at my fair share of long-lined NY pizzerias: an hour for a slice at Artichoke, two hours at Di Fara. I’ve tapped my toes and watched the minutes pass at these joints, but it’s always been worth it.

That being said, I’ve never waited for three and a half hours for a mediocre pie unworthy of the myriad unwarranted praises showered upon a place like Sally’s.

Where do I begin? How about at 5:07 P.M., on Friday 11/27. The day after Thanksgiving. I arrived at Sally’s on Wooster St. just as its quaintly dated sign lit up over the 30-odd people in line outside. Minutes later, Sally’s had filled to capacity, leaving me just feet from the front door, inconveniently at the front window staring at the more fortunate diners in front of me.

And that’s where I stood without moving for the next two hours. In fact, the first pizza wasn’t even served until 55 minutes after the last available table was seated. I don’t care how small your oven is or that it’s the day after Thanksgiving- it takes three minutes tops for those pizzas to cook, so why do they average one pizza every ten minutes? I stared through the glass as the shorts-clad wait staff moseyed around and performed card tricks for bored patrons as my extremities slowly turned to ice.

(the shorts-clad, card-toting jerk-off)

My heart nearly skipped a beat when a booth for four cleared out- the perfect occupancy for my party, the next in line to be seated. The staff continued to lollygag for another 20 minutes before clearing the table and seating us. Almost simultaneously, a group of six locals shadily waiting outside the confines of the line bounded inside (in front of nearly 20 people) to grab a newly vacated booth. WTF?!

(Happy customers all eating pizza. Oh wait-)

Once seated, I ordered two beers and our pizzas immediately (one medium cheese, one medium ‘plain’ [no cheese] with half garlic). After about an hour of waiting, my party began to vent our frustration which was overheard by our waiter. He asked, “Where you folks from?” “New York,” I said. “I could tell you weren’t from around here,” he said as he coldly walked away. Eat me! Sorry I’m not complacent about waiting three hours for your pizza. What a dick.

Shortly thereafter, the local line-cutters got their four pizzas. 30 minutes later, ours arrived. While I will begrudgingly admit the pizza, especially the cheese-less plain, was better than Frank Pepe’s, it was mediocre at best. To be honest, I was so famished from waiting I can’t even fully trust my taste buds.

The icing on the cake of pizza disrespect was when our waiter assumed we didn’t want change on $60 for a $47 bill. I’m by no means frugal, but when a waiter doesn’t even offer to bring change I’m insulted. 30% tip? Get real, ass.

Overall, the visit was a constructive one: between this, an underwhelming experience at Pepe’s, and an offensively burned pizza from Modern, I feel safe in never returning to this pizza-forsaken town again (at least not to eat pizza). I also feel the stigma many non-New Yorkers face waiting in line with pizza snobs, but c'mon- I felt pissed on.

(Wooster St.: getting the hell out of there)

Sally’s deserves a slogan; let me suggest one: “After waiting four hours, anything is bound to taste great!”


  1. God I hate that "you're not from around here" hometown bullshit so much it's not even funny. Even if Sally's had phenomenal pizza (which, unquestionably, is far and away the majority opinion) I'd be turned off from ever coming back after hearing some pissant waiter utter that. Plus the locals getting in without having to wait in line just steams my blood.

    I wonder what was up with those ridiculous wait times? Perhaps they were understaffed that night? I'd be curious to hear from others who frequent Sally's regularly if this is a regular occurrence or just a fluke. Because if it isn't, well...there's no reason pizzas should take that long to cook. No fucking way.

  2. I'm with you on the service but not the pizza.

    It's almost like they've spent years figuring out how to serve pizza as slowly as possible or that they make bets each night on how long they can take before everyone just gets fed up and leaves. On the other hand, I thought the pizza was damn good there. Personally I'd rather wait at a Sally's table with a beer in front of me than shell out $5 a slice and deal with the line cutting assholes only to realize that I happened to get one of Dom's sloppy or burnt pies (that are becoming more and more common..if you hadn't noticed I think DiFara might be getting a touch overrated at this point).

    No matter the place I won't stick around if there is a long line outside (any more than 30-40 minutes). The frustration just isn't worth it and it has a way of ruining the meal before it's even served. Although I can't say I blame you since it sounds like you made the trip up there specifically to try Sally's.

  3. I had the exact same experience (sans the card tricks) on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend 2001. And my family and I all had the same far less than impressed reaction. I even have video of the visit.


    Paulie Gee

  4. I'm glad I'm not alone in my feelings, thanks!

  5. First, you should know that the local linecutters probably had reservations. Locals, even regulars, can't do that without, but they can get reservations. So what? Big deal.

    I do agree the wait times at Sally's can be crazy, including after ordering, but it's so worth it; the pizza is simply incomparable. The waiters certainly have gotten more polite as I've visited again and again, too, there's no question about that. They were never _rude_ to me, though, like they have been at Pepe's.

    I was in awhile ago late and got a pizza in 10 minutes, but usually it's an hour. I don't know, but I'm not complaining. If they take longer than anybody else to make a pizza that's better than anybody else's, how can I?

  6. Now this is the kind of rebuttal I was looking for!

    First of all, I'm curious Anonymous- are you a NH local, and did you grow up eating Sally's?

    I understand and can excuse (to some degree) the preferential treatment given to locals, including knowing little tricks like putting in reservations, etc.

    HOWEVER, in my opinion, no pizza or any other food is worth a three-and-a-half hour wait, complimented with the most rude service I have ever experienced. I don't care what the legacy or lineage is with a restaurant, you don't shit on your customers and then assume you deserve a 30% tip.

    I can relate to what you're saying in that a long wait can be worth it for what is, in your opinion, the best pizza ever. In my opinion, the best pizza is at the equally legendary Di Fara, where I have waited for an hour and a half.

    The difference here is the patrons are treated with respect and the long wait is logical considering one 72-year-old man is making every pizza in a gas oven. Sally's has a whole crew and an intense brick oven that should cook pizzas in a third of the time, and yet the service is twice as slow.

    I am not dismissing your favorite pizza, it is in fact very tasty, but any patron waiting nearly four hours for a pizza should be treated like royalty by a restaurant, not like dirt, which is exactly how I felt.

    To me, Sally's tasty pies just aren't worth the wait and degradation.

  7. I think you are a fucking moron...and you felt pissed on because you are a piss ant...your poor little ego was hurt...oh the humanity...get a life...

  8. Thank you Danny for your...reasoned and intelligent argument I should consider...cutting back on the ellipses...

  9. Late to the party here but I agree with the author...

    My one experience wasn't as bad but it was a good 3 hours from 5pm lineup to departure, at least the weather was mild. The pizza was great but the surly and lackadaisical staff ain't worth it...

    My personal Pizza Mecca is Pizzeria Bianco where I've arranged yearly and unnecessary business trip from NYC just to eat there. Its never been more than a 2 hour in & out experience but you are pampered every step of the way and the master embraces conversation from a fellow NY'er...

    Great site, I'm glad I stumbled across it...



  10. pizzacommander, or is it pissantcommander!?!? may have a right to be ticked at the service there, but don't even attempt to bash New Haven pizza..As much as you shoot off you #$%^&*&^ mouth, you and this column can't ruin a good thing and reputation that decades have built you stupid ass.

  11. You can hide behind your anonymity, or we can discuss like mature pizza enthusiasts. Keep hating, it's not going to make Sally's any better.


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