Lower Sackville Pizza Quest
It has been a year since my last pizza quest, but we’ve made it all the way to Sackville: the land of pizza and car dealerships! Pizza in Lower Sackville is everywhere – I think this must be the most pizza shops per capita in the HRM! I decided to save Middle Sackville for next quest, and start with Lower Sackville (I used the borders of Cobequid Road on the east and Millwood Dr. on the west) and Beaver Bank (as that’s where our hosts were situated). Much thank to Liz and Jason for hosting us! It was a dark, rainy, frantic night in the middle of nowhere but you guys were great!
We skipped the big chains as per usual, but we also omitted King of Donair, Alexandra’s, Jessy’s and Freeman’s – as these we have done before and with little fanfare of late. I also omitted Pizzadelic, as there is one in Mount Uniacke which I can save for an “Outer Sackville” quest. We hadn’t yet evaluated a Pizzatown, so they made the cut.
I could only narrow it down to 7 pizzerias (5 in Lower Sackville, 2 in Beaver Bank), which is a lot for a quest but only a fraction of Lower Sackville pizza shops:
Beaver Bank Pizza
Tucker Lake Pizza
We ordered medium pizzas with green pepper, mushroom, pepperoni and bacon. These pizzas were judged by 6 attendees on their Sauce, Crust, Cheese, Toppings and Overall. Everyone was asked to pick their top 3 and a #1.
A note: This read will be as inspiring as the pizzas we had to work with. There was no standing ovation, as these pizzas had no legs to stand on. This serves, in part, as an exposé of the mediocrity of pizza in our fair city. Sackville may be particularly affected, but this phenomenon is in no way restricted to Sackville.
I used to really like Pizzatown back in the day when they had the smiling red tomato on the box. When they switched to the black box, something had changed and I lost interest. I haven’t ordered Pizzatown in almost a decade, so I wasn’t sure what to expect from this local chain.
Chain pizza this was, I’m afraid. Several questers compared it to frozen pizza, with Halifax ReTales giving it the “Delissio Award”.
The soft, conveyor belt pan crust had a buttery taste, but as Denton noted, the cheese, sauce and toppings were not plentiful enough to distract from the doughy effect on the palate. We enjoyed the top-side pepperoni. We did not enjoy the price tag.
This pizza was similar to Pizzatown in many ways – they even kind of look the same. But the reception was quite different…
The Crust: A soft and chewy conveyor belt crust – low score. I really did not care for this crust.
The Sauce (3rd Place): A sweet, spicy, tangy or basic sauce – depending on who you ask.
The Cheese (2nd Place/Tie): Enough cheese to hold down the toppings.
The Toppings (1st Place): Everyone was a fan of the top-side pepperoni and plentiful toppings, including the long strips of green pepper.
Overall (2nd Place): 4/6 people picked Pomodoro as one of their top 3 pizzas, and 2 of those people selected it as their favourite Sackville pizza. I was personally not a fan.
I was advised by locals to avoid Disco Deli at all costs, due to numerous health code violations of the worst kind. But people said the same thing about Kit Kat Pizza, and that turned out to be a fan favourite!
The Crust: Disco Deli had a real pizza oven, which was promising… But alas, the crust was dry and bready. There were no flavourful chars or bubbles, just brown patches that didn’t taste good.
The Sauce: It had some tang, but was mostly just a pasty interface. LA noticed “something gritty/mushy” which was mysterious and unpleasant.
The Cheese: There was a fair bit of cheese, but it was not at all browned and lacked flavour. If anything, the appearance of the cheese had a negative psychological effect on our taste buds.
The Toppings: When I showed up at Disco Deli, the owner was adding green pepper to a partially cooked pizza to ensure an optimal cooking time. It was also the only pizzeria that used real bacon, as opposed to those abominable bacon balls. So how is it that Disco Deli placed last for toppings?! First of all, we were told there were “no fresh mushrooms” (presumably there were “not-so-fresh mushrooms”). We couldn’t really taste the bacon, and people felt that the flavours and textures were somehow “off”.
Overall: “Heavy and tasteless,” wrote Denton. “I hate this trainwreck,” wrote LA, who noted that this was the first time she couldn’t finish a slice. LuShark, who has a nose for spoiled food, was actually the kindest to Disco Deli, writing that it would be a good “drunk night pizza”. When I asked her why she liked it, she shrugged and said, “I didn’t let the reputation or aesthetics cloud my judgement”. So there’s that. It still didn’t make her top 3.
I haven’t evaluated Randy’s Pizza since the North Central Quest back in 2014. This pizza looks quite different compared to the Agricola Street pie of yore, but the analysis was roughly the same.
The Crust (3rd Place): This is a soft, chewy conveyor belt crust with those annoying pock marks on the edges, suggestive of lazy crust prep (why would you aerate the end crust?!)
The Sauce: A decent spicy sauce, but it was applied lightly.
The Cheese (3rd Place): It was there.
The Toppings: This one had a meaty taste, supported by the spicy sauce and ample cheese – a “nice synergy,” wrote Denton.
Overall (3rd Place): The consensus was that this pizza was boring and basic, but does the job. It was selected as a top 3 pick by 3/6 questers. A third place finish – same as 2014!
We haven’t examined Pizza Girls since the Downtown Dartmouth Quest. Our observations are pretty much the same.
The Crust: Another soft, limp conveyor belt crust. Yawn.
The Sauce (1st Place): BOOM! The first thing to hit out palates was the bright, tangy sauce.
The Cheese: Not memorable. Hidden under all the toppings.
The Toppings: Tons of toppings! …but little flavour. ReTales claimed to only taste sauce and crust. The bright sauce could have complimented a bounty of fresh toppings, but the squishy pink bacon balls detracted from this effect.
Overall: Pizza Girls was definitely a contender, with 4/6 questers selecting it as a top 3. I can see people liking this pizza for the sauce and plentiful toppings, but my team felt the quality was too low overall.
Beaver Bank Pizza
The Crust (2nd Place): Nothing special, but it was one of only 3 that were baked in a real pizza oven.
The Sauce: Quite indistinguishable, other than the texture which ReTales thought contributed to a pasty crust interface. I detected herbal notes, but Denton and LuShark also felt the sauce was largely absent/flavourless.
The Cheese (2nd Place/Tie): There was lots of cheese holding down the toppings.
The Toppings (3rd Place/Tie): Uneventful, but fairly meaty. Liz thought there was a good crunch from the peppers, but mostly everything kind of blended together.
Overall: This was my favourite pizza of the quest, but I was alone. I’m not used to being an outlier but there’s a first time for everything! Despite its 3 ribbons for Crust, Cheese and Toppings, Beaver Bank Pizza finished in 5th Place, just a half point behind Pizza Girls. LuShark wrote that it “tastes like pub pizza” but could use more flavour. According to Denton, “Basically it was really tasty cheese-and-bacon bread”. To me, it was a slice from my childhood and the only pizza for which I took pleasure in repeat trips.
Tucker Lake Pizza
Tucker Lake Pizza (Beaver Bank Rd.) is the newest addition to the Sackville pizza scene – only open a few months and still has that “new pizza shop smell”.
The Crust (1st Place): A hearty, real oven crust with a bit of chew. Thinner than the others.
The Sauce (2nd Place): Everyone seemed to like it. I found it hard to distinguish.
The Cheese (1st Place): A nice layer of browned cheese, which complimented the toppings.
The Toppings (3rd Place/Tie): The most charming aspect of this pizza was the bacon balls, (never thought I’d ever say that!), which were charred and smokey from the oven. They actually had a pleasant bacon flavour! The toppings were spread in an even layer, but the veg factor was somewhat lacking.
Overall (1st Place): This was the unanimous winner, with the highest total points. 5/6 questers chose it as a top 3 and 3/6 questers chose it as their #1.
Just joking! … or am I? These pizzas were all pretty bad. Sackville may have the most pizzerias but it certainly doesn’t have the best ones. You’d be just as well off going to Freeman’s or Jessy’s as our top 3. Our picks for the best pizza in Lower Sackville:
- Tucker Lake Pizza
- Pomodoro Pizzeria
This was easily the most underwhelming quest to date, ousting North End Dartmouth as the most pizza-poor neighbourhood. I felt so unsatisfied and actually a little disgusted after this session. The Lower Sackville pizza market is over saturated, and yet, undeveloped. You may as well shop for value.
… and if you must have a good crust, head to Beaver Bank.
Here’s to hoping we find something better in Middle Sackville!