Wednesday, March 2, 2011

New Bethel Ordinary

Having heard that one of the best pizza's in town was actually not in town, we drove out to Wanamaker to visit the New Bethel Ordinary (NBO).  Upon entering and seeing the scorched wooden tables and an incredibly small town vibe, we immediately felt at home.  There's no pretense here.

The NBO could be found in any small town in the midwest complete with 1950's style plastic letter wall special advertisements to an original antiquated main street building to a bit of confusion around import beers.  With no set beer menu, our waitress was unable to provide us with a full listing of their beers.  When we decided on a Guiness, she offered a frosty mug, we declined, she then just brought the cans...?

We perused the menu, knowing we were getting a pie, to see if an appy was appealing.  Since we were worried that Stella really is not a pizza person yet, we thought we would maximize our chances with an appy sampler---the fried onion rings, fried cauliflower, and fried cheese sticks.  The pie we chose?  We decided to go ultra simple since the ingredient list wasn't blowing our skirts up---half cheese(for Ozzy) and half pepperoni.  Simple should suffice, right?

The sampler came out quickly, and looked like it came straight from the bag---maybe the onion rings were done in house, but there is NO WAY the cheese sticks or cauliflower were made within 500 miles of the place.  Not really very good.  Stella tried some of everything and Fred was so happy to see she is not an onion person either. ;)  Ozzy made a valiant attempt at a cheese stick, but as it got gooey, he vetoed the effort.  Fred and Libby quite enjoyed the cauliflower, but all in all, it was a bust.

At this point, other diners started rolling in and it was obvious, pizza was the star of the menu.  This was both heartening and foreboding in that everyone was ordering 4-7 toppings...did we mess this up?  Well, showtime, here came the pie...TONS of cheese!  Ozzy looked a little apprehensive.  A nice touch, the demarcation made with a green herb and was a great concept-- something we would like to see on other pies.  It was obvious where one side stopped and the other began.

Unfortunately, the great first impression soon fell incredibly flat.  The mounds of cheese that were so obvious at first glance were in fact, straight mozorella on a not so exciting sauce and an overwhelmed, underdone crust.  One side sitting in a pool of unappetising pepperoni grease.  You can't pick up this pizza, a must use the knife and fork.

We soon found that where most places would put a single pepperoni, the NBO stacked three or four.  This was obviously done in an attempt to provide abundant toppings, but doesn't work well with buried pepperoni.  As other pies started coming out with mounds of toppings on them, we recognized our fatal flaw...NBO doesn't do simple.  But what pizza place can't make a pepperoni pizza?!?!?!?!

Only a couple of weeks ago we had outstanding cheese pizza at Thr3e Wise it really so hard?

Really?  Fred and Libby immediately went into a diatribe of how they were pretty sure that that one time they were weak and tried a Sam's Club Pepperoni pizza, that it was better than this! How is that possible?  A pound of mozzerella does not a good pizza make!  How can the crust cook right with a layer of insulation on top?  Why didn't we order 5, 6, 7 toppings?!  *sigh*

Having only eaten one to one 1/2 slices each, we decided that it simply was not worth ingesting anymore.  We left, not satisfying our hunger, but still feeling that there was a ball of mozzerlla stuck in our gullets.  Both of us fantasized of purging roman style and going to get, perhaps, some Brozzini's.  Ozzy on the other hand, could not be disuaded of his "pretty good" rating.  And Stella, while she didn't really eat much, certainly enjoyed her experience and was welcomed warmly by staff and the other customers.

This brings us to the final tally, where Fred had some serious sticker shock.  $44, before a good tip, as the service was fine for a 16 inch pizza, a mediocre fried appy, and two (not exotic!) beers.  Huh?!  An example...last night at Oaken Barrel---which is arguably very inexpensive and amazing for the price--two dinner entrees, a kids entree, a dessert, and 5 WAY better beers came to a grand total of $36.  Explain that to us!

In our diner's remorse, we dialed a friend who loved the place.  He explained, it's about the massive number of multiple toppings.  So, a word to the wise...don't do it.  Don't try to be simple, get the mother load and maybe it's a whole new ball game.  But as far as FLOE is concerned, we won't be trecking to Wanamaker to give it another chance.

Wrap Up
Price-$$-$$$,- Apparently, Guiness charges a shit ton to go to Wanamaker.  There was a special to get a 16 inch and a bucket o' domestic for $30...yet somehow two Guiness and an appy added up to almost $45? Oy.
Atmosphere**, Small town, comfortable, homey, in a historic-ly ancient building in town.
Service***,-  Other than a little beer-snobbery on our part, the service was fine. :)

Fred- F, I understand it's a toppings place, but what pizza place can't do a pepperoni pizza?!  And if you're a toppings place, then you need to up the ante on the toppings---nothing extraordinary or interesting here .
Libby-D-, I have never only eaten one piece of pizza in my LIFE!  This was not good.  It was depressing that so much cheese was going to see the dumpster.  The only saving grace for me was the fried cauliflower--don't know if it was from the bag or not, but it was all I was all I had.
Ozzy- B, The boy took every ounce of cheese off but ate up his crust.  He insisted it was "pretty good."  Alright son, whatever you say.
Estelle- B, Content to snack and soak it all in.

New Bethel Ordinary on Urbanspoon


Meagan said...

There's a pizza place here that people say is really good- Greeks Pizzaria. We tried it once and were not impressed. Tasted like canned sauce, not great crust, pepperoni was pretty flavorless. Wonder if people who love it gets tons of toppings.

Tom said...

I'm no purist, but IMO if the best way to salvage a pizza is to pile on toppings... then there is something not quite right. Can't polish a turd, if you will.

Fred, Libby, Ozzy and Estelle(Stella) said...

Could not agree more, Tom. The bones have to be good. There are very few places to which I wouldn't give a second chance. This is certainly one of them. Sorry NBO. That pizza just sucked.


Greg said...

Man, so glad to see somone locally agree with me on this place. I've been once, and the loaded supreme pizza was a watery doughball. I like thick and thin crust pizzas, so it wasn't a crust issue. NBO's is just bad. I was lucky that dad bought lunch, so I didn't pay at NBO, but for the money I would much rather hit up Jockamo's.

Chris Pedigo said...

The supreme isn't much better. The way it is built and cooked does not allow for that half inch of toppings to heat up. It's like you would need to slow roast it...toppings get warm and the cheese and crust are not burned.

Try Gramboli's at 38th & Mitthoeffer sometime. Delicious breadsticks, great hand tossed, and a great deep dish. It's been there for like 30 years!

Tom said...

there's also a Gramboli's off Pendleton Pike and Oaklandon Rd, if that's more convenient. Excellent deep dish sausage and breadsticks - though the deep dish is a bit of a gut bomb (as I'd argue the style should be). I prefer the deep dish to their hand tossed, if only because I think that sausage works much better buried under a pile of cheese.

not my absolute favorite in town, but in the top half of the list... and worthy of support.

Philip said...

Gramboli's has the best pie in town. The deep dish special (add jalapeƱos) is the way to go.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree on this review. Unfortunately there are way too many people that like the "pizza" that it won't change. Nasty stuff IMO.

Anonymous said...

Last time I was at the Ordinary, they had over 30 different beers including over 15-20 micros. I was amazed at the beer list really for such a small place.