Joe Banana’s

joe bJoe Banana’s

Friday, 11-22-2013

1022 South 10th Street

Omaha, NE 68132

402-346-7227

King RJ and I ventured out with the intention of hitting another pizza place on this November Friday. Our plans changed when we saw the jammed parking lot of our intended destination. That pizzeria for now shall remain nameless until we attempt a return visit.

So we put our royal heads together and came up with Banana Joe’s in Little Italy. Banana Joe’s is a restaurant on one side of a wall, and a bar on the other side. You can get food in the bar as well as the restaurant. We were maybe one of two customers this eve in the restaurant side.

Joe's ComboKing RJ and I scanned the menu and decided to have Joe’s one and only combo. Our waitress described it as “all of our ingredients except jalapenos”. We later realized just how many toppings that was! Let me try to recall all the toppings: beef, sausage, pepperoni, ham, bacon, onion, black olives, and green pepper. We ordered some garlic cheese bread and marinara to hold us until the pizza came.

To be honest, our food took a long time to come. They were having oven problems. When we first dipped our cheese bread into the marinara, we started to hope that, that sauce would also be on our pizza. It was delicious!

Finally, our pizza arrived. The ingredients were fresh, tasty, and plentiful. The same sauce we had with our bread earlier, was also on this pizza! RJ described the sauce as “brilliant” and I must agree. Thankfully, they did not skimp on the sauce as so many places do. This pie had some heft to it! The crust was very thin and tasty, but here is also where we run into some problems. The crust was greasy toward the center. We would do one thing different next time we eat at Joe’s. We decided that their signature combo actually has too much on it, especially too many meats. Next time we would just order our pizza by the ingredient. We feel that would give us a better pizza. King RJ and I agree and bestow Joe Banana’s with 3.75 crowns! The Kings say, “Eat at Joes”!

Finally, Banana Joes is a charming place. The staff were all very friendly, and the decor was fun and interesting. Ciao!

3.75 crowns

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Ragazzi’s West

Ragazzi’s West / 156th Street and West Maple Road / 402-359-1682
http://www.ragazzi-pizza.com/
Visited Friday, Nov. 15 2013, approx 6pm – Traffic moderate.

Upon the opening of a new Ragazzi’s, we Kings were at guard to return. You see, our visit to the original Ralston locale resulted in our lowest score to date. But as kings do, we objectively journeyed to the new site in hopes of enhanced fare.

The new Raggazi’s is located in the same spot where Pizza Gourmet was (which we’ll miss). Upon entry we found the service to be immediately above par as we were joyfully greeted and encouraged to choose our thrones. The atmosphere was clean and fresh with warm colors and a comfortable family oriented ambiance.

From the menu, we selected an “Abbodonza” – essentially a basic combo of pepperoni, Italian sausage, green pepper, black olive, red onion and mushroom.
Alas, reminiscence of the Ralston visit came to the fore. The Raggazi’s pizza is a bit of a riddle. Bravo for using fresh ingredients, tasty meats and keeping the crust thin but substantial. However, the flavors don’t pull together into anything special. The pepperoni is quite greasy (to the point of pools in the concave meat discs) and the Kings realized the crust is highly unusual – almost as if partially uncooked (though it wasn’t) there is still a doughy/lardy consistency that we believe contributes to the “gut bomb” feeling henceforth.

Overall, this visit to the new Raggazi’s did help improve on their score. The service and atmosphere were wonderful. But the minor improvements to the pizza will only move the Kings to bestow an extra half-crown. Ciao Raggazi’s! Your pie is adequate for a quick family fix, but the Kings taste buds are at labor to find reason for revisitation.
2.5

ABBONDANZA
Pepperoni, Italian sausage, green pepper, black olive, red onion and mushroom. – See more at: http://www.ragazzi-pizza.com/Menu/Specialty-Pizzas#sthash.uWtgY7bQ.dpuf
  • 402-359-1682
  • 402-359-1682

Goodnight, Mr. ‘C’

We’re sad to learn that Yano Caniglia passed away yesterday at the age of 89. You may know him better as “Mr.’C'” of Mr. C’s, a legendary Omaha Italian restaurant that closed in 2007.

But for the Omaha Pizza Kings and their subjects, Yano was much more than just a restaurateur. Yano Caniglia was a member of the family that introduced Pizza to Omaha for the first time in 1946.

More importantly, it was Yano Caniglia himself who baked the first commercial pizza in Omaha.

Read more in this Omaha World Herald obit.

Thank you Yano. You’re a legend even these Kings will never eclipse. Rest in peace.

Green Belly

Green Belly//210 N. 114 ST or 114th & Burke//402.334.1300
www.thegreenbelly.comgb

King RJ and I offer sincere apologies for your lack of offerings as of late. We hope that our lackadaisical ways haven’t kept our royal subjects home eating frozen pizzas, rather than dining in the fine establishments reviewed on our web roost. I may be a bit out of practice, but it is the hope that King RJ and I still have a knack for finding delicious pizzas!

“Green Belly”, you say King JT? What the hell kind of a name is that for a pizza place. Green Belly is not primarily a pizza place; it is a fast-casual eatery that happens to have pizzas…tasty pizzas! The restaurant might be described as a place that aims towards the more health conscious eater. Their ingredients are high quality, and Green Belly intends to help us eat better when eating out.

Here are the general offering groups: build your own salad, whole wheat wraps, paninis, and last but not least…grilled pizzas. We were our usual gluttonous selves and ordered two pizzas. There are only two sizes, ten inch, and 12 inch. The menu only lists signature type pizzas and there aren’t any “build your own” prices. Our first pie was the “Italian Stallion”. It had homemade marinara, sweet Italian sausage, hard salami, herbs, with Romano and Mozzarella cheeses. The second pie was the Greek. It had Gyro meat, tomatoes, onion, feta cheese, Kalamata olives, Greek dressing and Tzatziki sauce.

We won’t go into the details or discernment this time since it’s been a spell since we were there. However, our memories of these tasty pies are still fresh! King RJ and I bestow 4.25 crowns on The Greek. I believe that the “Italian Stallion” deserves a 4.5 crown rating, even though it was a bit lacking on sauce!

So, what are you waiting for? Head on down to Green Belly Pizzeria uh, erh, I meant Green Belly. Green Belly offers their own reward card for repeat customers.

Cheerio!
King JT

P.S. King RJ won’t like it, but I’ve rated each pizza separately.

Italian Stallion Combo

Italian Stallion Combo

The Greek

The Greek

Pitch Pizzeria

Visit: July 3rd, 2013, 6:30 P.M.

Traffic: Medium to heavy

Dundee's Pitch Pizzeria

Dundee’s Pitch Pizzeria

Address: 5021 Underwood Ave

Phone: 402-590-2625

Website: http://pitchpizzeria.com
 
Typical of the monarchs they are, The Kings aren’t much for celebrating independence amongst the minions. Nonetheless, King JT and King RJ went on a quest for pizza this the eve of July 4th. The destination this eve was Pitch Pizzeria in Dundee; another venture of Godfather’s Pizza founder Willy Thiesen and home to its coal fired oven.The Kings were tempted with a few specials, but got down to business and ordered two  pizzas. The first was a Mia; it had San Marzano  tomato sauce, pepperoni, fennel sausage, and mozzarella cheese. The second pizza was a Bianca Verde; it was topped with ricotta cream, prosciutto, carmelized onions, arugula, and mozzarella. If these sound a bit on the gourmet side, they are, and so are the many other combos available.

Time to enjoy the beers and atmosphere until the pizzas came. Downtown Dundee is a nice setting, but it is in the midst of a makeover at this writing…messy. The restaurant itself is very pleasant as far as atmosphere…a bit of a “see and be seen” joint, no complaints here. Now, time to eat!

The pizzas were served up and the “discernment period” was in full swing. First the Bianco Verde, both Kings agreed, Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz a royal snooze, boring, blah, bland! On the up side, all ingredients were fresh. The Arugula should have been chopped, the prosciutto was stringy and contributed to the failure of this pizza. Toothpick please! Upon consuming the Bianco leftovers, even Princess Dana proclaimed, “boring”! The Mia was much more flavorful; tasty meats contributed but were also quite greasy. In spite of the grease, the hot coal fire left the crust crispy with the characteristic charred spots of a coal/wood oven. The Kings felt the Bianco below average, perhaps meriting only 2.5 crowns on its own. The Mia was tasty, but it was low on sauce, and the grease rolled off it. The Mia is bestowed with 3.5 crowns. Overall The Kings make their pitch that Pitch Pizzeria be adorned  with 3.0 Crowns. These pies came in one size and were on the high-end at $18 each. Some of the other menu items sound quite tasty, perhaps better than at least the pizzas The Kings tried.

 
3. crowns
 
 
 
The Mia, Willy's Fav

The Mia, Willy’s favorite

The Bianco Verde

Piezano’s Pizza

Visit: Friday June 7th, 2013 7:30 P.M. 4.25 crowns

Address: 2740 South Street, Lincoln NE

Phone: 402-474-3355

Website: www.mypiezanos.com

Traffic: Medium to Heavy

This night The Kings ventured out into the pizza territory farther than ever before. They had to meet with their accountant in Lincoln, and decided to kill two birds with one saber by tasting some pie at Piezano’s Pizza. Of course, the queens were along, since the trip wasn’t just about pizza, but also regarding the royal’s financial affairs.

Two pies were definitely going to be needed this night, so King JT and King RJ dictated that the first pizza be a “Meat Combo” (a bit of a misnomer as this combo includes beef, pepperoni, green pepper, mushroom, onion, and Canadian bacon). The second pie was to be adorned with sausage on one side, and pepperoni on the second side.

The pizzas arrived in a timely manner, and all dug in for the “Piezano’s experience”. The table was silent as is customary during the “discernment period”. After The Kings had tasted some of each pie, and had filled their bellies, tongues were free to talk pizza and the bestowing of crowns.

Both Kings found the crust to be tasty, thick, and crusty, never soggy. The sauce was one of the other stars here. It was fresh, thick, and liberally applied. King JT thinks it possible Piezano’s makes it themselves from fresh tomatoes. All other toppings were, fresh with the exception of the mushrooms. None of the toppings were scantily applied. King JT has tasted better pepperoni, but this was tasty and within the “greasiness parameters” for pepperoni. Both Kings thought the sausage was very flavorful.

Let’s get down to the bestowing of crowns. King JT loved the sausage pizza, and if rated alone, he would give it 4.5 crowns. RJ’s favorite was the Meat Combo; “it brought all the flavors together for a well-balanced pizza”. King JT really liked the combo too, but it wasn’t as tasty as that single topped sausage pie. When averaged together The Kings granted Piezano’s Pizza 4.25 crowns!

More about Piezano’s. The parking lot is tiny, the royal chariot had to be parked at an adjacent business. The interior is decent sized and has decent decor. Fans of Piezano’s could make getting a table difficult at peak hours. Tempting pies for future visits: Potato Pizza (potato slices, onion, cream cheese, bacon, and ham). Can you say, “high in calories”? Another interesting pizza combo: Pizza Primo (every single topping offered is on this) about $36 for the large at this writing.

Piezano’s definitely stirs the royal cravings in The Kings. Give Piezano’s a try and see if you don’t leave with your own cravings.

The Pizza Kings…Paisanos to Piezano’s Pizza!

Pizza West

Address: 12040 McDermott Plaza – LaVista
Phone: 402-933-7499
Visit: Approx 6:30 pm – traffic – medium

3.5 crowns

The Omaha Pizza Kings came to Pizza West expecting a simple re-hash of the space formerly governed by Pizza Gourmet. But we were surprised to find a newly remodelled and unique decor. But first – let’s talk pizza….

The Kings ordered up their combo Omnivore” and a Special Pepperoni.

pizza west

The Omnivore was pretty tasty. Is that seasoned hamburger? Rare and delightful. Toppings were all fresh, nicely diced and well proportioned. This was rounded out nicely by a spicy sauce. A decent pie overall.

Special Pepperoni: That’s how it was proclaimed on the menu, and it was listed with the specialty/combo pizzas. That’s what enticed King J into wanting to try it; that also plays into rating it lower. This mediocre pie was far too greasy…which can be okay if the pepperoni is exceptional, but it wasn’t. In fact the grease from the pepperoni made its way under the combo on the half/half pie.Crust: Thin, soft, and flavorful but it did get too greasy and limp from that blasted pepperoni.
Pizza West has a fun atmosphere, good beer selection, and the service was friendly, fast and exceptional. We’re not initially thrilled with the pizza overall, but with their strong combo, but weak pepperoni, the Kings settle on bestowing 3.5 crowns on this establishment.
So say the Pizza Kings!

Finicky Franks Re-visited

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“This week, we two kings bow to what was almost a 5 crown pizza, if not for one minor detail”…An introductory quote from the first Finicky Frank’s review of 8-11-12

Review II Visit: Friday 5-10-13

Location: 9520 Calhoun Road

Website: www.finickyfranks.com

The Pizza Kings returned this week to check on their top crown holder Finicky Franks. In the first review, The Kings bestowed their highest rating ever of 4.75 crowns. As stated on the website before, some crown winners may flounder on subsequent reviews, and it is hoped that formerly low scorers might soar so that the Omaha Kingdom is resplendent with even more delish pizzas!

Unfortunately in the case of Finicky Franks, there has been a fall in score due to changes in Finicky Franks’ pizzas and the resulting loss of “royal cravings”. Getting right down to business, once again The Kings ordered a combo; it was ham, pepperoni, and hamburger. King RJ and JT ordered the same combo they did at the first review.

As soon as the pizza arrived, Kings RJ and JT knew there had been some changes in Frank’s pizzas. The Kings in fact had returned for a second review due to some grumblings among The Royal’s flock. Most notable, the crust was very thin now. At first review King JT was quoted as saying, “It looked almost like a piece of lasagna sitting on my plate”. King RJ was most distressed over the changes. He felt the crust way to thin to support the toppings, “almost cracker like” and that it was very soggy. King JT was also disappointed but not so profoundly. He didn’t like this crust compared to the previous. It may be semantics, but JT thought it a bit greasy, not soggy. This JT believes can just be one of the negative consequences of such delicious ham and pepperoni.

What worked for both Kings? The sauce was still wonderful! Both kings thought the ham and pepperoni very tasty. The hamburger was…well…hamburger. The cheese on top was a bit strange in texture. There was some debate as to whether it was Mozzarella. The pie still had some Parmigiano Reggiano to add flavor.

So, what is the final outcome? There was some debate within the scoring process. Perhaps opinions were a bit heated and diverse due to how Royals deal with the disappointment of an “old friend”. Feeling betrayed perhaps, King RJ decried, “3.5 crowns”. Still having tasted some very good flavors and at the same time disappointed in the crust, King JT proclaimed “4 crowns”. Final Finicky Frank’s score is 3.75 Crowns. That’s a drop of one full crown! Sadly, the royal cravings are gone.

3.75 crowns3.75 Crowns    Finicky Franks – a fallen friend of the Pizza Kings! The Kings challenge them to re-claim their Knighthood!

Goodnight’s Pizza Bar & Patio

Date: Friday 4-5-’13 7:30 P.M.
Traffic:
Light       Website: http://goodnightsomaha.com

Address: 1302 Mike Fahey Street (directly west of Ameritrade Stadium)
Phone: 402-502-2151

The pizzas (or “rounds” as they are called here): Little Italy-red sauce, prosciutto ham, sausage, meatballs, salami, pepperoni, Mancini peppers, mozzarella cheese. The Islands-red sauce, prosciutto ham, pineapple, capicolla, cream cheese, cilantro.

King RJ and King JT got into a bit of a royal joust when it came to discussing and crowning Goodnight’s Pizza. Therefore they have agreed to disagree and are bestowing crowns separately. Let’s start with those scores!

4. crowns

King RJ’s Rating

King JT's Rating

King JT’s Rating

Now for some explanation of those scores and the king’s discord. The Kings had visited this pizzeria a few times before. King JT had looked forward to this visit, but found it a little lacking when all the pepperoni had settled. He enjoyed the very thin crisp crust as did King RJ. This crust was nice and dry…no grease here.
King JT thought that the sauce was spread a bit thin. Both Kings liked the Little Italy over The Islands. We felt the Little Italy was quite flavorful with special kudos to the sausage though it was dominated by a flavor that he would only describe as “spicy”. King JT sez, “sometimes people equate hot and spicy as flavorful,which it is not, hence a lesser rating.  Lastly, The Islands was dull. It was lacking even in pineapple. Cream cheese can be nice texturally, and it can help carry flavors that are already present, but doesn’t add much on its own. The Kings have experienced other far better Hawaiians.

Both Kings like Goodnight’s atmosphere. This place could be a lot of fun with some good downtown events and some seventy degree weather. The decor is tasteful and the walls can open up to the outside like giant garage doors. One final disagreement between the Kings was the menu. King JT didn’t like it that prices were listed only for the Goodnights’ concoctions. Available toppings weren’t listed and there weren’t any prices for “build your own” one, two, etc topped pies. King RJ thought the menu was fine as is.

From the Kings…Goodnight…s!

Old River (R.I.P.)

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4. crowns

Tucked away in a little strip mall off the Lake Manawa exit is this weeks keep, Old River Pizza Company.councilbluffs

Traffic was light for our noontime dine, which made the above average wait for our food a trifle vexing. Alas, our pies did arrive before concern could churn into annoyance.

Our concoctions of choice ;
The House (Pep, Sausage, Bavarian Sausage, Mushrooms, Green Olives, Green Peppers, and onions).
Pepperoni
Spinach Chicken Alfredo.

We first gnawed upon the Spinach Chicken Alfredo, which was a light weight affair. The flavors were there, but not very aggressive. Enjoyable, but nothing bewitching.

The pepperoni was a decent slice, though lacking in volume of the single topping. Too bad too – the peps were poppin’ flavorful.

Any shortcomings from the previous pies were reconciled wonderfully with the House. All fresh ingredients, wonderful sausages, zesty overall flavor. The only drawback would occur when biting into a green olive which would aggressively dominate the otherwise balanced flavor.old river 1

All of these pies were held together with a very thin, dry wonderful crust. We were amazed how thin, yet sturdy, dry and mellow-flavored this was.

The kings enjoyed the “New Rustic” atmosphere. The gentleman serving us was friendly, personable and helped keep the initial wait bearable.

We expect more royal visits to our new friends across the river. While not great , this pizza had just enough goodness for us to bestow a 4 crown rating.

Along with some unique ‘za designs like Mac & Cheese, Shrimp Scampi and even a Salmon pizza, there’s also calzones, brick oven sandwiches, and a variety of pastas. Old River Pizza Company was born in Minnesota in 1961. This is their third shop.