Sunday, October 19, 2008

Review: Original Italian Pizza

Name: Original Italian Pizza
Address: 489 James St, Syracuse, NY
Neighborhood: Near Northeast
Website: and
Menu: View Menu
Cuisine: Pizza, subs, wings
Hours: Monday-Thursday 11 AM to 9 PM, Friday-Saturday 11AM to 10 PM
Parking: Private lot
Accepts credit cards: Yes

Located on the corner of James and Townsend Street, I went in to OIP on a rainy Wednesday evening. Inside, there really isn't much room to eat an actual meal, and hearing two simultaneous radio stations indoors (one from OIP and one from Colonial Laundry mat located in the next room over), I decided to get take-out.

The order...

Large Cheese Pizza (with half Chicken Wing): $14.00
Dozen Char-Grilled Wings: $7.75
Total cost with tax and tip: $25.27

There's not really much that I can say about OIP. When my pizza was ready, there was some confusion about orders which caused me to wait around for an extra 10 to 15 minutes while my order of wings got cold.

The pizza was meh. Really nothing to write home about. I have not ventured out into the Northside or Little Italy for pizza or Italian food yet (shame on me, I know), but I'm positive that there is better pizza just a few blocks away from this place. Not that it was bad or anything, it just really didn't even compete to some of the pizza that I have had in Syracuse thus far.

The wings were different. As an upstate native, I guess I'm just not used to char-grilled wings. It was essentially like eating small pieces of grilled chicken with a dry-rub on them. Though, the fact that the wings were cold by the time I started eating probably didn't do them justice. If I end up going back to OIP at any point in the near future, I'm sure I will stick to the traditional buffalo wings next time.

All and all, I guess I was expecting Original Italian Pizza to be unique or at least have some killer wings, but I really wasn't impressed with anything.

My rating of Original Italian Pizza:

Your rating of Original Italian Pizza:


Lonnie said...

I think you ate at the wrong OIP! There's a new one with tons of room for dining right in the Eastwood Plaza at 3531 James St., just west of the Dewitt town line. Dave and I had their char-broiled wings piping hot at a medium spice level and thought they were absolutely delicious, even though "medium" seemed more like "mild" to us. You're right, it's not the Frank's-RedHot version, but it's really good. And you can sit in there, by gum, and have a real meal.

Tori said...

Hey - I stumbled upon your blog today, and I think its a good concept.... one question though - is your aim to spend less then $20 per place?? Ive read a few of the entries and Id like to see you order more stuff and more variety - for instance, at kitty hoynes, you tried two items with guinness in them, and at pastabilities you didnt venture past the hot tomato oil (which i agree is the highlight of that restaurant)... also lets see some desserts! just an opinion - keep up the good work though!

JoeBass123 said...

lonnie - thank you for the heads up. i will have to try the eastwood plaza location next time i'm feeling oip. i think the only reason i didn't care for the wings is because they were served cold by the time i started eating. i'm willing to give them another shot.

tori - glad you like the site. my main objective in the "reviews" is just to sketch out an average, initial dining experience. i do plan on going back to the places already reviewed thus far and write follow-ups (with more pictures and different meal selections). and i will definitely try to take into consideration more desserts in the reviews. thanks again for checking out the site.

Lea Petra said...

I will have to argue you about the wings. First off they are supposed to be like Buffalo wings at all. When we want wings, but not buffalo wings they are a good choice.
Having them cold is what ruined them. When you get them hot, they are hard to stop eating.

If you want to try another pizza place just down the way. Try the Italain Chef just down Townsend on Butternut. (over the hill on the other side of St. Joe's). No place to sit and eat there either, but it is a good alternative to OIP

JoeBass123 said...

i've heard good things about the italian chef and i've been meaning to head over there for a few slices. (amazing that they are in my own neighborhood and i have yet to visit - mainly because i tend to eat pizza downtown...). thanks for the heads up though. i will hopefully head over there the next time i get a pizza and wings craving, which sadly, oip just didn't do it for me.

Owen O'Neill said...

Not sure what other pizzas you're tried in Syracuse but if you're a fan of classic NY / Staten Island Neapolitan style then I suggest trying either Johnny's in Julian Plaza behind P&C grocery at corner of East Colvin Street and Nottingham Rd. or Cosmo's on Marshall Street (or both). For a reference point you owe it to yourself to try Twin Trees but check around for which one is supposed to be the best - different locations are run by different members of the same family and all are not considered equal. I think the one on Avery Ave near Solvay might be the one to go to but not sure. Either way it's not my cup of tea but many people around here absolutely swear by Twin Trees.

The pizza at Italian Chef is "okay" as far as I'm concerned - and well above average when it's fresh and hot -but not memorable enough to warrant a special trip there (for me). They do have tomato pie - a Utica specialty that's offered at only a few places in this area. It's similar to a true Chicago style style deep dish and nice for a change although a slice or two is plenty for me.

Lonnie said...

Owen, you're absolutely right about Cosmo's pizza. What a great, funky diner, right in the middle of all those S.U.-oriented shops. It's easy to overlook, but don't. If you aren't in the mood for pizza and want something sweet, delicious and pretty bad for you, order the grilled honey bun. There probably isn't a lick of honey in it, but the caramelization that happens with the grilling makes it that much sweeter. Served with some kind of butter-like fat substance, you just can't do any better (or worse) than this.

JoeBass123 said...

i love most, if not all, kinds of pizzas, but i'm most partial to new york style - with my absolute favorite being from my hometown: gino and joe's in b'ville. i have no idea why this location is so much better than the other gino and joe's locations. i also have no idea why my favorite pizza of all-time is in b'ville of all places. but if you get fresh slices there (not delivery) it's beyond great. freshly baked bread, semi-crispy crust, gooey mozzarella, and tangy tomato sauce. sounds generic, but it's SO good. wash it down with an icey dr. pepper and now we're talking....

without spoiling any of my future reviews on here. i've had these syracuse pizza's so far...

- pavone's cheese pizza (i liked this a lot)
- peppino's chicken riggie pizza (it was crazy. they put actual rigatonis on there and i didn't really like it)
- italian chef's cheese pizza (good)
- italian chef's tomato pie (good - my first time trying "tomato pie" - though it was served warm, which my utica-born girlfriend thought was blasphemous)
- nick's tomato pie cheese pizza (ok - haven't been there in a few years though)
- goodfella's cheese pizza (huge slices - good pizza)
- twin tree's (so-so - not really crazy about it)

i'll have to try cosmo's and johnny's. i'm getting hungry just thinking about new york style pizza right now...

administrator said...

everyone in syracuse has favorites and half of them seem to be picked for"fond memories" syracuse didn't have good pizza like many towns in the 60s .you can still get that kind of pizza with the premade shells at some places here but the standards have come up nationally so even pizza hut is "fair" .Pavones ,mario and salvos,is usually good and actually that oip has a fantastic crust and rolls that they make