I feel like we've been seeing signs and hearing rumbles about Aldo's Pizza Pies for at least a year and a half before the restaurant finally opened in July on the first floor of the Barboro Flats building on Main St. The owner is Aldo Dean, the same guy that's behind Bardog Tavern on Monroe and Slider Inn in Midtown.
Last night, a friend and I ventured downtown to give the place a try.
In the interest of full disclosure, my derby coach Brad Tedford is the restaurant's general manager. My cousin works there. My best friend is one of the pizza oven guys and several of my derby league-mates are servers. That's just how Memphis is, and aside from noting that they're all lovely people, they've had no bearing on this review. Ahem. Moving on.
We started our meal with an ton of appetizers – garlic knots, prosciutto-wrapped asparagus and stuffed peppers.
While the garlic knots were really good – giant roll-sized knots of garlic bread with marinara sauce for dipping – I would skip them next time in favor of one of the vegetables. They come just like veggies in the south should – wrapped in meat or covered in cheese. The prosciutto that was wrapped around the asparagus was like paper-thin, perfectly smoky bacon.
The poblano pepper's spice was tempered by the pile of warm cheese on top of it. The peppers come with some crostini, which are presumably a cheese-to-mouth delivery method, but I opted to just attack with a fork.
The point of Aldo's isn't the vegetables, though – it's the pizza, which is served in traditional, New York-style pies. My friend tried the vodka pizza ($15 small / $22 large), which was a simple (but tasty) cheese pizza with vodka cream sauce. At the recommendation of just about everyone I know who works at Aldo's, I tried The Other Side ($16 small / $23 large), which had poblano sauce, fontina cheese, sliced tomatoes and big hunks of grilled chicken.
The pizza was near perfect – the crust was thin, but not dry and cracker-like, and I was impressed with the selection. The menu has a lot of variety while still being well-edited, a few nods to regional tastes (one pizza comes with Top's barbecue), and a build-your-own option for the creative / picky.
The small pizzas are big enough for two not terribly hungry people to split, or one normally hungry person to eat and have some left over. If you've got three or more people, though, go with a large.
For dessert, we split a slice of the New York cheesecake, about which, I'll say this: I'm a good southern girl. I do my best culinary work in the cream cheese arts. I'm a connoisseur of cheese-based desserts. The cheesecake at Aldo's is, hands down, the best cheesecake I've ever had.
That's not hyperbole – it was so good, I wanted to take it home and study it to figure out what made it so amazingly light and fluffy and rich all at once. Pro tip: wash it down with a glass of super tart framboise beer.
Currently, Aldo's is still in its soft opening phase, which means that they're only open for dinner. They plan to open for lunch later this month. Though the restaurant does have a bar (and a well stocked one at that), it's a lot more family friendly than both Bardog and Slider Inn.
Aldo's Pizza Pies is open daily from 5 p.m. until 11 p.m. (10 p.m. on Sundays). Delivery will be available at some point in the future.
100 S. Main St.
Memphis, TN 38103