I’m writing this as I watch the unofficial first day of coverage of the Winter Olympics, so please bare with me, I’m a bit excited.
I wanted on the eve (or day of depending on where you are and when you read this) of National Pizza Day, for this story to be inspiring, remarkable, heartwarming, and all those other superlatives and blessings.
When talking about Frank’s Pizza & Pasta in the Northeast Baltimore neighborhood of Hamilton, or is it Overlea? Well it’s Baltimore and it’s an institution that’s been around for over 30 years. That to me is worthy of a medal itself.
I had actually intended on doing a story nearly two years ago but something told me the timing wasn’t right. If I’m recalling correctly, my pictures looked underwhelming, or maybe some universal force told me it wasn’t time. Some things can’t be explained nor need an explanation.
All roads brought me here this week. Actually that’s exactly what happened. Yesterday I drove passed Frank’s later in the evening, with the thinking that I need to get back here. And while I was on my way home, if the situation presented itself, I know I’d be back again soon. Literally, less than 24 hours later… And the rest is well…
My expectations had been raised after hearing about their pizza, from a couple peoples’ opinions that I respect immensely. And it’s all about your own opinion, your own beliefs, experience, and all that good stuff. But I can’t help but admit that I had high hopes.
If we’re using Olympic terms, the technical scores may be a bit low, or the qualification times may be enough to make the next round but I don’t know. There are some deductions and maybe some penalties. There may need to be a redo.
What does this all mean? I’ll get to the point. I wanted to love it but I can’t say that. I want to love every pizza and every experience, but it’s not always going be that way. While it’s easy to find positives (and there are), the faults do stand out.
I got three slices, and how perfect was this selection. I might have stopped by right after the lunch rush since a lot of slices were bunched together, and the pickings were minimal. No problem at all, I still got a cheese slice, a meat lover’s, and the Mediterranean, which looked like it just came out of the oven.
I’ll get my critiques out of the way first. The cheese, and meat lover’s looked much better displayed on trays beforehand than how they looked after they were heated. Maybe my eyes were deceiving me but the plain cheese looked like it shrank.
You can also see that they reheated these slices a little too long. You can see the burnt parts, especially in the meat lover’s, that the crust actually fell apart where it was charred. Now there’s good charring and then there’s this. It wouldn’t have mattered though, as neither slice did much for me. The cheese felt flat and something just didn’t taste right. Maybe there wasn’t enough? Maybe it was out there too long. I don’t know.
The meat lover’s is not one I would ordinary try anyways, but I figured why not. This one I could only take one or two bites of before I had enough. It was burnt and it was a little too hearty for me, but that’s more of a personal opinion as well. I like more of a….
And this brings me to the Mediterranean. This was the gem, or the crown jewel if you will, of the slices. Maybe the fact that it just came out hot and fresh had a lot to do with it. The toppings were exquisite and the pesto was tremendous. I think I got some magnificent olive oil too. All the toppings complemented each other perfectly. It’ll make me want come back. All this on top of a white pizza, is masterful.
And I will. I think this place is capable of so much. It wouldn’t be around so long if it hadn’t, even with changing times and tastes.
That’s the most in depth I’ve been about pizza in some time. I usually look for all the positives and situations related to everything outside of the food itself, as well. And I still did here. The staff is great, it’s very old school and very authentic in terms of service and appealing to a loyal clientele that serves a part of Baltimore you don’t always hear about, or think to go to.
All I know is that it won’t be another few years until I’m back. If time allows, we shall do this again soon. I know I say that a lot, but we shall do this again soon.
For more on Frank’s, here is their menu, and their storied history.
Enjoy the Olympics, the opening ceremonies, and all the good that comes from that. I know I will.
And Peace Be With You.