Wednesday, September 21, 2011

No Name Pub

When you think Florida Keys, I bet you imagine sunshine, lush blue water, coconuts, and maybe some seafood or a Cuban sandwich. If I'm correct in guessing that, then you clearly haven't been to the No Name Pub in Big Pine Key.

Are those... dollar bills stapled everywhere?

Yep, estimated at somewhere between 75-85,000 of them. I've seen currency plastered on restaurant walls before, but this is ridiculous! At the recommendation of a friend, I was told I had to stop through No Name on my way down to Key West recently. Had he not mentioned it, I never would have found the place, which is part of their allure.

In case you can't make out their slogan, it reads, "A nice place if you can find it." If it weren't for my GPS, I surely wouldn't have. Tucked away in the most remote of places on Big Pine, I was literally driving through people's backyards to get there. Why? Pizza, of course!

Yes, this pizza is served on circular piece of plywood and accompanied by classiest styrofoam plates. Hey I'm not complaining, dive bars are my comfort zone! No Name first opened as a general store in 1931 before adding an eatery in '36. After going through permutations including a brothel and a hide-out for drug smugglers, No Name eventually came into the restaurant/bar combo form it is now.

One quick glance at the crust will tell you the pizza is cooked in a circular pan, which coupled with the fact that it's a thin crust pie, gives it a pretty unique identity. That being said, however they bake this thing could stand to be a little hotter on the oven floor. Case in point-

I ordered a half cheese/half sausage pie, which wasn't too shabby depending on what you analyze.

The sausage had a nice fennel flavor to it and were about the size of marbles. I'm a large-chunks-of-crumbled-sausage kind of guy, but anything is better than those dense flat cuts of sausage seen on most by-the-slice pizzas.

Resting atop the sausage is one solid layer of stringy mozzarella. There's a possibility that they blend the mozz with another white cheese- maybe provolone or white cheddar, since the stuff definitely has mass.

The sauce, while mostly bland, had a slight zesty kick to it that suggested they tossed in some oregano and little red pepper flake.

This is quintessential bar pizza- boring, but fun, filling and perfectly pairs with an ice cold beer. The crust was the biggest disappointment, and almost felt and tasted like bad, undercooked frozen pizza.

That being said, I still had a blast at No Name and the pizza, while unimpressive, seemed perfect for that moment in time. Would I go back?

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