Perception being what it is, putting a pizzeria inside the Chatt Inn on 23rd Street might seem risky. The street is hardly known as a mecca for fine dining, but a couple of my favorite restaurants in town are not located in city dining centers either. Foodies like to find the out-of-the-way places.
And, you have to admire people who think outside the box to make their passion become a reality. You feel that upon entering Home Slice, even with its relatively simple decor.
Home Slice offers 10 specialty pies or you can build your own, four subs, wings, sides and three decadent desserts.
The pies come in 7-, 10- and 14-inch sizes and include the requisite cheese ($4, $7, $10,) pepperoni and sausage varieties (both for $5, $8, $11), as well as specialty selections like The Meatball Meltdown ($6, $10 $13), which includes twice the regular amount of specialty blend of cheese, fresh garlic flavor (I'm not exactly sure what that is), fresh sliced meatballs and Parmesan cheese.
› Where: Home Slice Pizza, 2000 E. 23rd St.
› Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday
› Price Range: $4 for a small cheese pie to $13 for 14-inch pies
› Alcohol: No
› Phone: 423-531-3500
The River City Rocket ($6, $10, $13) also features the garlic flavor with house wing sauce, a double order of spicy Italian sausage, sliced jalapenos and their special blend of cheeses and sauce.
All of the subs are $7 and served with a house blend of fine Italian cheeses on toasted 8-inch hoagie buns. The Hot Ham & Cheese is made with smoked ham, lettuce, tomato, mustard and mayo. The Hot Italian is made with sliced salami, pepperoni, Italian dressing, lettuce and tomato.
If you like your pizza on a bun, you can order The Pizza, and choose the three toppings you want to go with the cheeses and sauce on the sub. The Meatball features three meatballs with sauce and cheese.
You order the wings at Home Slice by the pound, and choose between mild or hot, garlic Parmesan or garlic Buffalo versions. Sides include salad, garlic knots, spicy cheese bites and chips.
For dessert, you can choose between cinnamon knots, deep-fried Twinkies or deep-fried Oreos for $5.
I went with Reggie the Veggie, in part because I liked the name and because I wanted veggies. Though not originally intended to do so, the sandwich has been dedicated to NFL great and hometown legend Reggie White.
It came with the sweet and savory sauce, the cheese blend, fresh bell peppers, spinach, banana peppers, black olives, mushrooms and diced onions. I got the small-size version, and I was impressed with the amount of each topping they managed to put on the pie. It was all fresh and tasty.
However, I got very little sauce, which meant I essentially got a salad on a really nice crust. And, the crust was very good. I prefer a fairly thick crust that is not too sweet. Home Slice uses corn meal in its crust and bakes them on pans. It was a nice pie, though a little lacking in flavor due to the lack of sauce. I'll give it another try to see if that is the case with other pies or just an off day.
I also got a side salad with lettuce, cheddar cheese, diced tomatoes and balsamic vinaigrette. The whole meal was about $10 plus tip.
Home Slice only has four tables, so take out is clearly where it hopes to make its dough, so to speak. It is a clean, bright, airy space at the front left corner of the Chatt Inn. There was plenty of parking available when I got there just after noon.
I'll have to give some of the other pies a try to fully evaluate Home Slice, and to get a better taste of the sauce, but it was a good pie and a good price.
Contact Barry Courter at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6354.