500 E. William St.
Open Sunday thru Thursday: 11am—midnight
Friday thru Saturday: 11am—2:30am
Though A2 is a town rife with pizza tradition, NeoPapalis Pizza's opening last October at the corner of William and Thompson still intrigued me. What sets it apart from the rest of the pizza crowd are two things. First, it focuses on Neapolitan pizza, which boasts a light, airy crust with a tender center. Second, it serves generous portions that are delivered quickly.
The appeal of NeoPapalis is that you create your own pizza, salad, or sandwich. Fill out an order form or simply tell the staff what you want. There are four basic 12” pizzas ($6-7): “margherita,” with tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, basil, olive oil, and sea salt; “white” with an herb-butter base, asiago and mozzarella cheese, olive oil, and honey; “classica” with tomato sauce, shredded mozzarella, olive oil and basil; or “red marinara” with tomato sauce, sliced tomatoes, olive oil, roasted garlic, oregano and sea salt.
Next, select from a variety of vegetables, meats, cheeses, or premium toppings, such as Capicola ham. Toppings cost $1, premium toppings $2. My son ordered the kid-friendly classica with pepperoni while my husband selected a margherita with Kalamata olives and sausage. We were entertained as the staff flattened the dough, swirled the sauce, and topped the pizzas in front of our eyes before tossing them in a stone-hearth oven to cook.
My 6-year-old daughter wanted a sandwich. For $5, she got her choice of one meat, cheese, dressing and any vegetables on freshly baked pita bread. She selected romaine lettuce, Italian sausage and provolone cheese. I ordered a salad with romaine lettuce, mushrooms, Kalamata olives, rosemary herb chicken, and feta cheese in balsamic vinaigrette. Salads start at $5, meat and cheese toppings add $1.50 and $1.00, respectively. We decided to try the ranch parmesan breadsticks ($4) as well.
In less than 10 minutes, our food was ready and there was plenty of it. “That sandwich is as big as my head!” shouted my 6-year-old. The pita bread, about 12 by six inches, was stuffed with sausage, lettuce and melted cheese. She managed to eat a quarter of it. The ranch parmesan breadsticks were long and fluffy.
The pizzas were cut into six slices. My son’s classica with pepperoni delivered cheesy goodness and tomato flavor, not a doughy taste. This speaks to the heart of Neapolitan pizza: thin crust made with only flour, yeast, salt, and water. My husband’s margherita tasted sophisticated, with tangy tomato sauce meeting milky ovoline mozzarella, sharp olives, and meaty sausage.
Everything in my large salad looked and tasted fresh. The rosemary herb chicken, seasoned and prepared daily, was tasty. My daughter kept sneaking “that good chicken.” Overall, I felt NeoPapalis offered quality ingredients (the flour and canned tomatoes are imported from Italy) and impressive quantity for the price.
While NeoPapalis may be aiming for the college crowd, families will find much to like. Its tasty food, big portions, right prices, and casual atmosphere make NeoPapalis family-friendly indeed.
Katy M. Clark is a freelance writer from Saline.
THE SHORT COURSE
To avoid wait: Go during the week or before 7pm on Friday and Saturday nights.
Noise level: Moderate to high
Bathroom amenities: No changing tables in Men’s or Women’s
High chairs? Yes
Got milk? No. They offer fountain drinks, including lemonade, or San Pellegrino sparkling beverages
Kids’ menu? No
Anything healthy for kids? There are tons of vegetable choices, plus lean meats like chicken, to help you create your healthiest pizza, salad, or sandwich. Note that portions are large for younger kids.
Food allergy concerns? The restaurant is a peanut-free zone. Only olive oil is used in cooking. Parents can also check out ingredients online.