I was introduced to Tomato Pie Bistro by a friend of mine. In just a few visits, I really loved it. I don't get especially opinionated about pizza (hey, it's pizza, it can be really decent in many forms), but I did find this to be really pleasing. I can't say it reminded me expressly of the fantastic pizza that the Better Half and I ate on a daily basis during a trip to Italy in 2006, but... I thought it was pretty tasty. And, I also felt like the owner really cared, was really trying to do something from his "heart", and since the owner is seemingly always there and some of his large family is helping out as staff - it is just a really nice, cozy, family environment.
In short, I really liked this place for the owner and wanted to see him succeed. He seems like a really nice guy and seems to have a wonderful family.
Tomato Pie offers "southern Italian food". I am no expert on Italian regions, so I'm not sure if they're true to this promise or not. The pizza are thin crust, with simple toppings. That is exactly how it was in Italy, and it was fantastic there.
Well, it had been a while since I'd been to Tomato Pie. But, with this blog, I really wanted to try and feature them. In fact, I've been 2x in just a few weeks. Once we took some friends on a Saturday evening. During that visit, I noticed they had a lunch buffet, so I met up with a friend there last Friday.
It was close to closing the time we went at dinner time with friends. The pizza seemed a bit rushed, and the crust didn't seem fully cooked. But, I was willing to overlook that. On the second visit, I knew any review was subject to the skewed view that can come from a buffet, but... again, the pizza was underwhelming. And, there was usually no more than 2 varieties on the counter. The salad was very basic. There was also one pasta, which was very tasty with some onions and spinach in with a nice sauce with penne. The sauce was pretty heavy from what I experienced over in Italy, but maybe that is somewhat of a concession to American tastes.
Ultimately, the visits were underwhelming. And, that left me sad. Again, I really like the owner from the very brief interactions I've had with him. But, while that adds to the overall feeling you have about a place, it can't override the truth on the plate. It gets me to wonder if my memory was off, or is it accommodations to keeping the doors open and changes that had to be made to do so? Anyhow, there is potential here. But, right now, it isn't realized.
So, I'll hope for improvement, and I also need to make it to Napolese to try their version of pizza.
The verdict: 1.5 belly rubs (out of 5). Underwhelming, but my memory tells me there is potential here.
[no pictures this time - the interior is incredibly low lighting, and I got over-zealous in deleting pictures off my phone]