A chance meeting with a friend I haven’t seen in decades (yes I said decades), and one pizza place we were going to that was closed on a Monday, led us to our destiny.
8 Ball Meatball in the historic Fells Point neighborhood in Baltimore, is worth going out of you’re way for. Well if you live in Fells Point or a neighboring neighborhood (ha) you don’t have to venture too far. But honestly at times it felt like I was in another universe. And based on this experience, this alternate universe is one I welcome on at least a semi-regular basis.
But first here is more about them, their menu, and contact info, and my previous pizzeria reviews of historic Fells Point.
My friend and I cut right to the case and saw two pies we wanted to order, based on the name alone.
We ordered the Motor City and the 8Ball aka Meatball. Our server was in agreement.
Before I continue I honestly heard (honestly I’ve never heard) of Detroit-style Pizza in passing. But I didn’t know it was a a thing. And I didn’t know if would be something I would be a part of, and what a beautiful experience and first impression it would be.
The 8×10 square shaped pies are perfect for sharing. It looks deceptive that one might be enough for one. But with it’s thicker, yet not too heavy of a crust, similar to Chicago-style pizza, a couple of those slices might be enough.
Oh it was enough. But how beautiful these three pies were. Did I say three? We only ordered two. More on that in a bit…
The Motor City was my favorite. Maybe because it was the first pie I tasted. It just had everything perfect going for it. The simple combination of mozzarella, tomato sauce, and pepperoni was perfection. That pepperoni is something I’m still fully appreciating a few days after the fact. The crust, the perfectly burnt and oily side of the crust is the reason why I write about this, and sometimes so specifically. This was the pie. And it’s one of my favorite pies ever. Can someone send me some now? So good.
The 8 Ball Meatball was good but in honestly pales in comparison to the Motor City. Maybe we were expecting bigger pieces of meatball, but that’s a fault of expectations. The tiny meatballs were charming but maybe I didn’t get to taste enough? The chives and parmesan were a nice touch yet this doesn’t compete with the Motor City. That Motor City I tell you.
This is the part where the manager figured out I was a blogger and I had my friend who was a photographer. The conversation got really good and really quickly. This part easily couldn’t have happened but our stay became much more about the education, the experience, and all the nuances of this restaurant and the history of how they started serving Detroit-style Pizza. Which has only been a few months by the way.
And I did mention a third pie right?
Brian, the manager, has proclaimed that he will put their Buffalo Chicken Pizza up against any in the city. This is one he gave to us on the house. Talk about world class service. We didn’t expect it, didn’t ask for it, but everything was aligning properly. We were supposed to be here on this night and no other (at least for now) and free is always more fun.
The melange of Buffalo sauce, cheddar and mozzarella (which is always a beautiful cheese combination), red onion, blue cheese drizzle, and those tiny piece of buffalo chicken meatballs made for a real treat. Those chicken meatballs really did it for me. This is a masterpiece and I’m not just saying this because Brian said so. It’s really that awesome.
And it was never messy. It was all organized. As my friend stated, all the pies were served clean and the pieces broke apart with no effort whatsoever. It’s those little details that mean so much.
And I must say, as much as the Buffalo Chicken is fantastic, and it really truly is, it still is a slight notch below the Motor City to me. I really think it might be the simplicity of the Motor City.
After all this we also got to meet Paul, the head chef. And even though it may have been a quieter evening he still took the time to talk about his history in the restaurant business throughout many cities he’s cooked.
He mentioned his training in learning how to cook Detroit-style at Buddy’s Pizza from the man himself. How cool is that? We would have never heard any of this if we didn’t come in. I’m being a bit nostalgic over something a few days ago but encounters like this don’t happen enough, so I want to show my enthusiasm any way I can.
We also learned about the pizza being cooked in the blue steel pan. Nothing glamorous. It’s just a simple steel pan. I think some of the best work is done when using the most simple of contraptions but there’s a genuine soul and feeling behind the operation. This is what we felt here.
Paul said that he uses garlic confit oil in the pan to cook his masterpieces.
What a masterpiece this pizza and this experience was.
As we kept talking a few other pies that were on the menu were shown to us and our mouths just kept watering.
At the moment I knew I had to come back. I wanted to maybe try every pie and save this for one blog post. But no, this deserves another commentary. How this will match or top this experience I don’t know. That’s not what I should be striving for. I should be striving for all the great pizza experiences possible. And I will. And I will.
This is one of those experiences that came together as organically as possible. What we thought would be at the most 30-45 minutes turned into an upwards of a two hour experience.
I can only hope for not the same exact experience but everything coming together masterfully and harmoniously.
But for now, get to 8 Ball Meatball. This pizza is incredible and off the charts.