At the busy downtown corner of S. Warren and E. Water Streets, you’ll find the familiar landmark of Niko’s Pasta, Pizza & Deli, a long-time family business. It’s not just the corner that is busy; when I visited during a weekday lunchtime, it was obvious that Niko’s is a popular lunch spot. The menu includes a broad selection of hot and cold sandwiches, pasta, salads, wings and of course, pizza.
With a name like Niko’s, you’d expect “Greek Style” pizza, and it was. What is Greek pizza? There are probably as many definitions as there are people. Here’s a start: Greek Pizza. I was accompanied by one of the guys from the office, who was hoping we would order a fresh pie. I’d normally be agreeable to that, but for some reason I went the slice route, with one cheese ($2.08 +tax) and one with sausage, pepperoni and onion ($2.95 +tax). These slices were each a little larger than average, 1/6th of an 18″ pizza.
The first thing I noticed was the unusual browning pattern, with a much lighter zone all around the edge. It must have to do with the pan, and how it contacts the oven floor. At an average of 1/2″ thickness, I’d call it a medium-thick crust. There was essentially no rise in the rim, so it was basically the same thickness all the way to the edge. It was not particularly oily, and was somewhat dense and chewy.
Sauce was actually pretty good: slightly salty, slightly sweet, with a good tomato “punch” and acidity, and a mild spice load. The cheese had some oil separation, was browned in spots, took on some yellowish-orangeish coloration, and was congealed back into a sheet. Still, the cheese tasted better than it looked. Pepperoni was applied sparingly (only 4, possibly 5 pieces on a rather large slice), was very thin, and didn’t have much flavor. The sausage was in small, dark, overcooked chunks, and the small amount of onion was thinly sliced and somewhat burned.
Overall, this pizza was not particularly noteworthy, not something you’d rave to your coworkers or family about, and not something you’d go out of your way to eat. It was OK to eat if you were already there. The reasonably decent sauce saves it from a lower rating – the Pizza Geek gives it a score of 3 out of 5 slices.
Summary – Pros: tasty sauce. Cons: bland pepperoni, uninspiring crust.
What do YOU think? Have you tried pizza from Niko’s? Click the comment link below and tell us about it!