July 13, 2008

NiMarco's Pizza

By Angele Sionna

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="240" caption="101 S. Beaver Street, Flagstaff, AZ"]101 S. Beaver Street, Flagstaff, AZ[/caption]

101 S. Beaver St., Flagstaff, AZ

(no menu online)

The Food (taste/flavor/quality of food & drinks)
>>= mixed bag, can be good but can be bad, can’t count on it

The Atmosphere (environment, wait staff, comfortableness)
xxx= good but could be improved

Price (what to generally expect to pay per person per entree)
$= under $10

Value (what you get for your money)
*** = fair -you get what you pay for, not in a bad way

NiMarco’s Pizza says on their sign that they’ve been serving “Flagstaff style” pizza since 1979. If that’s the case, Flagstaff style is average pizza with a cracker-thin dry crust but really good sauce.

I was very excited to try NiMarco’s for the first time this week. I’ve driven by their place countless times and always thought that their patio looked like fun. It’s a simple house-style restaurant with about a half dozen tables outside. The inside has a relaxed look with a fireplace dominating the single roomed restaurant and wooden booths around the outside of the room and tables in the middle. Nothing fancy, just easy to kick back in. That’s a good description of the menu as well. NiMarco’s serves slices, whole pizzas, calzone, a few types of salad, and wings.

During the school year, NiMarco’s patio is almost always packed with college students when I’ve gone by. On our visit, there were only a few customers, as it’s the middle of summer break. I figured the big college student clientele meant they must have cheap slices and good beer.

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="240" caption="NiMarco's Cheese Pizza Slices"]NiMarcos Cheese Pizza Slices[/caption]

I didn’t try the beer but I did grab two slices. The plain cheese, which I got, were $1.75 each, tax included. Good price. (Adding topics ups the price depending on what you get because they have different “levels” of toppings.) The pizza itself was too greasy and is nothing impressive. The crust was too crusty and really dry. It’s best described as “cardboard crust,” to use a common pizza term. The sauce however was really tangy and good. Unfortunately, not good enough for me to recommend ordering pizza here.

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="240" caption="NiMarco's Calzone"]NiMarcos Calzone[/caption]

What was good at NiMarco’s was the calzone. My husband ordered the “Your Way” calzone ($7.50, including tax) with extra cheese, pepperoni, sausage, onions, and ham. They said it would take 20-30 minutes and it did. Again, the crust wasn’t that great, but on the calzone it is really thin so it didn’t matter as much. It was lacking in the cheese department (and we got extra cheese - yikes) but overloaded with onions. Those should have been reversed for better flavor. This dish is loaded with sauce, and that’s a good thing. Until you get to the second half, because the sauce and all the ingredients’ juices seep thru and make it really soggy. This is particularly bad because everything at NiMarco’s is served on throwaway products – paper plates, paper cups, and plastic ware. While that’s easy for them, it’s not good for us patrons, as the plastic knife just didn’t cut it with the calzone, literally. Add that to the soggy plates and you’ve got a mess.

I find NiMarco’s paper/plastic products policy very wasteful and surprising, actually. It’s like a delivery place that has good seating. They use three paper plates for each entrée. Add that to the other paper/plastic waste from the cups, napkins, and cutlery and I actually got to the point where I kinda felt bad about eating there on an enviro-friendliness level. This may seem kind of silly, but I guess I just expected a little better from a place that prides itself on being Flagstaff-style, as the city and its residents are very eco-conscious.

All in all, the price is right at NiMarco’s but the product reflects it. I would skip NiMarco’s and opt for their competitor just up the block – Fratelli Pizza. (See my Fratelli review HERE.) NiMarco’s does have a better patio and is about a half block closer to Northern Arizona University’s campus, which is probably why it draws such a crowd when school’s in session.

See more photos of NiMarco's Pizza HERE.


Zoe said...

I always thought Nimarco's sauce with Fratelli crust would make the perfect pizza. I used to live right down the road from both. Your reviews make my mouth water--I'm really missing Flag.

Another nice thing about Nimarco's pizza: if the pizza has been sitting out for a while, they'll give you a slice for free. =]

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