I’m told there are two schools of pizza in the US. The New York version, with thin crust, and the “Chicago” version, done in a pan, with a thicker crust. I grew up on the NY version, but I can appreciate the other as well. One of the things Mrs. Rabbit and I have been missing on our diet is good pizza, so before going back on full-tilt, we decided to indulge.
There are four decent pizzerias in the area, not counting Dominos, which I don’t consider “decent”. Cino’s, in World Golf Village, is at best so-so. It’s a cut above Domino’s, but barely.
Pizza Hut is, well.. Pizza Hut. Thick crust, greasy, lots of toppings, but always the same. If you like it – and I do, sometimes – great. But it’s more Chicago pizza than New York, and we wanted New York style pizza.
So that left two: Antonio’s, on SR13, and Benito’s, on SR210.
We ordered from Antonio’s for pickup. I want to like them, I really do. They’re a family, they’re earnest, and they try. But somehow, the order always ends up costing more than it should, and they can’t seem to get things right. I phone ordered two pies: One with pepperoni, and the other with extra cheese, green peppers, and onions. The order, even with the $8.99 “special” price, came to over $30. Apparently they get you on the toppings. I sent the squirrel down to collect the pies after being told it would be about 40 minutes.
He arrived with the pies and they were barely warm. Obviously they had been sitting a while, so they were quicker than expected. Okay, our fault a bit, but I have sat in Antonio’s at least once waiting – once nearly an hour – while they caught up, and I wasn’t going to subject the squirrel to that. First thing I noticed was that there were no green peppers. There was pepperoni. Someone had written “onions, pep”, or similar on the order, and they got it wrong.
That I could live with, Benito’s has done it also, but the second thing was that you could barely tell the difference in the amount of cheese between the two. I paid for EXTRA CHEESE, which means to me a significant difference from “normal” cheese. So then I called.
“There is extra cheese on that one, we’ve never gotten complaints before”. Sigh.
Don’t get me wrong, Antonio’s does a good pizza. They just don’t seem to be very well organized, and I think they charge too much for what you get.
So last night, we decided to give it another try. Benito’s Italian Cafe is on SR210, about 10 miles from us. (Antonio’s is a lot closer.) So we took a ride up for a sit-down pie.
And it was a good one. Extra cheese and pepperoni, right out of the oven, and you could SEE the extra cheese. Delicious. I also had a pepperoni calzone, which was very fresh, and excellent.
The one disappointment was for Mrs. Rabbit. She decided to have eggplant parmesan, which she loves, and it’s always been good there, but last night it was thick and bready with very little cheese. She ate about a quarter of it, and couldn’t take anymore. We complained to the waiter, and he was sympathetic, but he didn’t offer to take it off the bill. Mrs. Rabbit is planning to write or email the managers at Benito’s, they’ve always been very nice, but nobody we knew was there last night, and we were reluctant to get into a scene.
So that’s it. Two pizzas. If you’re in the area, and want a quick pie, you can do Antonio’s, but eat it in, and watch them to be sure you get what you want. Otherwise, go to Benito’s, it’s consistently better for pizza and most dishes.
Antonio’s has no web site, but here’s the Yelp entry: http://www.yelp.com/biz/antonios-pizza-and-grill-st-augustine
And Benito’s: http://www.benitositalian.com/