By: Bennett Fuson <email@example.com>
Throwing a stone in any direction has the possibility of hitting a Papa John’s, Pizza Hut, Dominos or even Little Caesars. Throw a larger stone and lesser-known venues like Bella’s Pizzeria and (until recently) Datollo’s will fall in range. While the level of quality differs for each, the fact remains that the availability factor remains large. With this in mind, the problem of setting one’s parlor apart from the rest creates both crises and failures for emerging restaurants. Cool River Pizza (CRP) falls under this dilemma, struggling to remain above the radar instead of remaining with its stratospherically-challenged friends.
Perhaps the most distinguishing feature about CRP is its lack of actual dining space. Yes, CRP is carry-out only, a blessing/curse whose influence did not go unnoticed. For an unprepared diner planning to enjoy a nice evening out, no blessing was present. Yet, as an optimist, it should be noted that not having diners present allowed the staff (all three of them) to focus solely on the pizza. Not quite a blessing, but at least it’s something.
CRP designs itself almost out of a Coleman catalog: canoe oars, lanterns and fishing poles adorned the walls, while the menu looked like it was etched out of driftwood. It was like ordering a pizza on the second floor of Dick’s Sporting Goods, and I was almost surprised to find that my pizza was not, in fact, cooked over a fire. It was certainly a unique experience, but quirky atmospheres don’t guarantee great dining.
Newton’s Third Law states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. CRP possibly took this idea to heart, because for everything that could have been good about the meal there was something that canceled out the enjoyment. The price is reasonable: two pizzas and breadsticks only set me back $20 (good). An order of breadsticks is about the size of a medium pizza (good). The breadsticks have no flavor at all (bad), and the cheese sauce included was absolutely frigid: no car trip length could have chilled cheese like that, leading me to believe that someone forgot to cook it (bad). The sauce of the pizza was somewhat sweet, yet had a bit of a kick to it that accented the provolone and mozzarella (very good). But the crust was the same as the breadsticks, which meant no flavor (bad). On the meat lover’s pizza, CRP was liberal on their amount of meat (good). Unfortunately, the meat was not high quality: the Italian sausage, which dominated the meat ratio, was burned to the point of almost being charcoal, a taste that no (smaller) amount of mediocre pepperoni or ham could fix (very bad). Do the math: everything cancels out.
It’s apparent that CRP really tries hard to be on top of its game. But it is almost like Inspector Clousseau from “The Pink Panther:” although its intentions are good, every effort ends up in disappointment. Perhaps with time, CRP will create a stand-out reputation. But for now, CRP is doomed to lie in limbo with every other wannabe pizza pro.
Price: $15 to $30
Location: 14931 Greyhound Ct