Each week in 'Knockers' we order from a different delivery restaurant, assessing their efficiency and keeping a running score.
Oak Cliff Pizza & Pasta
1315 W. Davis St.
Promised delivery time: 50 minutes
Actual delivery time: 56 minutes
Ease of telephone communication: 20
No delivery charge: 10
No parm or red pepper: -10
Delivering to our neighborhood at all: 20
Being far superior to Little Caesars or this joint: 25
Also being pricier than the two aforementioned competitors: -10
Stellar example of New York-style floppy crust: 30
Sweet and super-garlicky homemade sauce: 30
Great topping selection: 10
Best sausage I've ever had on a pizza: 10
Toppings stuck to crushed box lid: -30
And it's not like they were overly generous with the toppings to begin with, even though they weren't cheap: -20
Tardiness, 1 point per minute: -6
Total score: 79
(Outstanding food, but thanks to easily avoided mistakes, Oak Cliff Pizza fails to crack the Top 10)
See complete 2009 standings here
I think Oak Cliff Pizza might just be my favorite pizza joint in town, thanks to the sliced Italian sausage and roasted peppers available as toppings. And the fact that the place delivers at all to our house, which is pretty far south of its North Oak Cliff location, really makes me want to root for them. But thanks to a major delivery FAIL a few weeks back, I've been hesitant to have it delivered again.
We've been hooked on Oak Cliff Pizza since we first tried it a couple months ago. The sausage is fantastic--slices of seasoned, slightly spicy Italian-style links rather than the usual (in this part of town) crumbled stuff that's all but indistinguishable from hamburger. Pair it with some roasted peppers and white onions and you've got a little slice of breath heaven. Or eight big slices, to be more precise. My only gripe with the pie itself is that the toppings could stand to be more densely packed, even if it would distract from the homemade (that's what they told me) sauce and perfectly chewy, floppy crust.
I didn't think they delivered to our 'hood, but on a lazy Friday night a few weeks ago I decided to ask.
"What intersection are you near?" asked pizza dude.
Ledbetter and Hampton, I told him.
"Sure, I'll take it there."
I liked that "whatever, man" attitude, and that delivering to our neck of the woods was at the delivery guy's discretion. No company policy to use as an excuse, no strict delivery-zone regulations. For that reason alone, give me a family-owned place over the Domino's and Pizza Huts of the world any day.
I ordered the sausage/roasted pepper/white onion for my wife and myself and a plain cheese pie for the kids and waited the promised 50 minutes. Then I waited six minutes more. Finally, pizza dude showed up and handed over the food. I tipped him a bit more than usual, despite the slight delay, just to ensure he'd always be willing to come back, and bid him adieu.
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Then I opened the boxes and remembered why you should always check the food before tipping. The kids' cheese pie was fine, but a good third of our pizza was stuck to the caved-in pizza lid.
I nearly wept. But I'd be damned if I was going to let that sausage go to waste, so I scraped it off and set it back on top of the crust. It wasn't pretty, but after folding each slice lengthwise, New York style, it tasted fine. At least it was warm--not piping hot, but it didn't need a trip to the oven.
I still love the place; scraping their toppings off the underside of a pizza box beats choking down the cardboard platter of disappointment that NY Pizza dares call "Best Pizza In Town." But delivery from Oak Cliff Pizza might be too risky to try again.
Thankfully, it's on my way home from work.