Seems Strange: Pizza in an Alley…But It’s Fantastic! – Pizzalley’s


Susan says…

(The recent inclement weather, New Year’s resolutions to lose weight, and spending cutbacks have combined to make for a slow start to 2010 for the Fork You Crew.  Therefore I bring you another review that will only be useful if  (you) live near St. Augustine or plan to travel there.)

Ron and I liked Pizzalley’s so much, we ate there twice during our recent trip to St. Augustine to attend the Bobby Bowden Retirement Party.  Unfortunately for us, we thought we were making the 13-hour drive (traffic was hell) to see a football game. 

Since this was our third trip to the nation’s oldest city, we were familiar with this restaurant and planned to get some pizza the first night of our stay.  As you can see from the photo, Ron was sporting his Mountaineer apparel.  He loves to “connect” with other WVU fans and often gives a fist-in-the-air to other men also wearing the blue and gold.

Even though we arrived four hours later than planned, we were able to get our bags up to our cozy second floor room of one of the many bed & breakfasts in the historic part of town and walk the short distance to Pizzalley’s to get pizza and a cold beer. 

You enter from the pedestrian walkway (St. George Street) into a small space with a handful of booths, a counter with stools and the glass-encased pizza preparation area where you place your order.  If you continue walking past there, you exit into a outdoor seating area with white lights for nighttime ambiance.  If you continue walking past those tables, you can enter the “sit-down” Italian siamese twin of Pizzalleys’ called the Chianti Room.  Perhaps the “alley” connecting the two restaurants led to its unusual name. 

Ron ordered his standard Italian sausage/banana pepper combination and I ordered one of the pre-selected topping combinations which included tomatoes and onions.  Per slice, the pizza can get a little pricey if you add very many toppings.  Mine was about $4.  But after I bit into the chewy and crispy crust, I knew it was worth every penney.  Our total tab for 3 slices and a pitcher of Bud Light was $22. 

To me, the crust is a firm 50% of my overall pizza experience.  If the crust sucks, it doesn’t matter to me how great  the sauce is.  This crust was thick and chewy but the edges and bottom were crisped to perfection.  The amount of toppings were enough to have a taste of everything in every bite.  Very little reallocation of topping placement was required on my part.  I added a healthy shake of grated parmesan cheese and crushed red pepper.  Absolute pizza heaven!  The only pizza I have had better than this is my beloved Graziano’s Sicilian.

We decided quickly that a return trip to Pizzalley’s after the game would be in order.  Hopefully for a celebration meal, but we all know how that turned out. 

Nonetheless, we did return (Ron opted not to wear one of his 243 WVU shirts on his second visit – wonder why???) after the game on New Year’s Day.  This time, the pizza seating was completely packed so we walked through the alley to the Chianti Room.  Also completely packed, we waited for a table near the bar.  A party of 6 got called and we were able to snag the bar stools they vacated.  We sat there, with a glass of Chianti (of course) and chatted with the other patrons. 

Our bartender did a great job handling the crowd around the bar, however, we were growing restless.  Our wait time became ridiculously long for a table.  We saw people being seated who came in WAY later than we did and Ron commented as such to the host.  We were told that they were waiting for a two-top to come available for us – they would not seat us at a four-top.  OK, I can understand why they would want to do that, but after waiting so long, I think they should have given us a four-top to get us seated.  The bartender, noticing Ron’s displeasure, said we could order from the bar.  And so we did.

This time we ordered a whole pizza with half-and-half toppings.  It was served on a fancy-looking silver pedestal tray.   The crust was just as good as it was earlier in the week. 

In the Chianti Room you can also choose from a selection of traditional pasta entrees.  The pizza was so good, I wasn’t tempted at all to stray to noodles or even cream sauce.

After Pizzalley’s, we meandered down the walkway to Sangria’s Wine bar to listen to some live music.  Prices at Sangria’s Wine Bar are higher than other options nearby.  Nice atmosphere, but plan to pay a pretty penney for a drink and/or appetizer.

Pizzalley’s will see this happy diner every time I visit St. Augustine – FOUR FORKS.

Ron Says…

I think I’ve eaten at Pizzalley’s almost everytime I’ve been in St. Augustine. 

I take that back, the one time I didn’t was when WVU played Florida State in the Gator Bowl ~ yeah we lost that one too.  On the Field that is – you may recall that Mr. Bowden was forced to forfeit 14 games during that time period (although I’m not so sure that game is one of the ones sanctioned ) 

As Susan mentioned we were down here to witness the Bobby Bowden retirement party and of course we ended up making sixty thousand seminoles remember what it was like to be relevant and a winner again.   But this is a food blog and not a College Football blog so my rant of sore losership will cease….

Pizzalley’s – simply one of the best pizzas I have eaten.     I’ve never had bad service, the prices are reasonable, and to be honest the service is usually pretty quick.   I too understand the four top vs two top debate, but I’ve sat there for a stinking hour.  Get real… I could have been seated, eaten, and vacated a damn four top in that amount of time.  What if a two top didn’t open up in the next two hours?

This is a great little joint – I can’t describe the pizza any better than Susan could, but check it out if you’re ever in the city of St. Augustine.  FOUR FORKS.

117 Saint George Street
St. Augustine, FL  32084
Pizzalley's Chianti Room on Urbanspoon

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