For the second round in the Pizza Shops Division of the Sub’r Bowl we hit Florio’s Pizza. I’m a fan of their New York style pizza, but I’d never had any of their subs before. Greg had been going on since the beginning of the Sub’r Bowl about how he wanted to try Florio’s, not only because he loves the pizza, but also because he had heard the subs were good. Well, he finally got his wish.
We left a little earlier than usual for our lunchtime visit, and when we got there the parking lot was full. We had to park at the shopping center across the street, which wasn’t that far, but when we got to the shop the line to order extended outside the front door. Despite the appearance of the length of the line, it moved fairly quickly, and we were able to place our order within a couple of minutes. As usual, Greg and I split a sandwich, our standard Italian sub, and we each ordered the lunch special as a “side” — 2 slices of pizza and a drink.
I haven’t really written much about service since my first review, but the service at Florio’s was dichotomous. For starters, let’s just say the front office staff at Florio’s will not win any customer service awards. You’d better know what you’re ordering long before you get there, because, even before you get to the lady taking your order, an older gentleman will demand that you tell him what you’re going to drink. Right now. Hurry up, he hasn’t got all day. The lady taking your order isn’t much more patient or friendly, but fortunately you only have to deal with them on the front end of your visit.
On the other hand, the restaurant was quite busy and full, so they told our party of 5 to have a seat in the back room, which is normally closed and reserved for groups. That was pretty nice of them, and the room was nice and bright with plenty of room for us to sit. While it took a long time to fill the order (about 10 minutes), in fairness they were probably baking pizza to keep up with the lunch crowd. The lady who brought out the order, though, was all smiles and very friendly. The initial uneasiness from the front end rudeness was soon washed away.
Not learning a thing from my visit to Ray’s Pizzaria, I immediately went for the pizza. I’m not a connoisseur of NY style pizza, but I imagine that Florio’s must be the closest thing you can find in San Antonio. It was hands down delicious. Fortunately, unlike Ray’s, the following Italian sub was completely worthy.
The bread was a perfectly balanced, crusty and chewy sourdough roll. It was every bit as delicious as the bread from Boston Subworks, but with a completely different flavor. The inside of the sandwich was also quite good, but different in flavor from most of the other sandwiches we’ve eaten so far. The flavor reminded me of the western Pennsylvania hoagies I had eaten in my youth, so the good flavor mingled with a touch of nostalgia made the experience highly pleasurable.
The basic criticism I have about the sandwich is that, while it was very good, it did not taste like what I expected from an “Italian sub.” The meats were good and plentiful, but there wasn’t that salty meat flavor you expect from an Italian sub. While I personally prefer a sandwich dressed simply with vinegar and oil, as this one was, there wasn’t the usual flavor of the spices that make up an “Italian” dressing. Finally, I was missing the tang of peppers on the sandwich, which you usually find on an Italian sub, whether it’s from cherry, banana or sometimes sweet peppers.
Don’t get me wrong: the sandwich was outstanding, with the only real flaw being that there was too much lettuce, which is easily fixed with the flick of a finger. However, since I was expecting an “Italian” sub, and that’s not what I would say I got, I don’t feel I can give it full points. Based purely on taste, though, it was easily the best sandwich I’ve had so far in the Sub’r Bowl.
On a side note, Kelley ordered the meatball sub, which contained slices of a real, large, baked meatball. He said the meatball was not seasoned well enough, and it looked somewhat lacking in sauce, but I still want to give it a go someday. As for the rest of my meal, I had a regular fountain Coke to drink. I don’t know if refills were included in the drink price, but it turned out that I didn’t need one. I noticed that there weren’t any side items on the menu, though, save for a dinner salad, which I didn’t order.
I rated the following categories:
- Bread: 7
- Sandwich Stuff: 6
- Price/Value: 6
- Non-sandwich Stuff: 0
- Bonus points: 2
- Total: 21 points
If you can make it past the front counter, you’ll have a hard time finding better pizza and subs. Though not what I was expecting from an Italian sub, the sandwich was outstanding for what it was, and the pizza was excellent. Oddly, as we left, the attitudes of the front office staff seemed to take a 180, as they waved and told us thanks for coming and to come back soon. Though we have 2 more places to visit in this division, I think we’ll be visiting Florio’s again.