A few weeks ago, I posted “Our Search for the Perfect Pizza” and received a lot of feedback here and on Twitter about where to get the best pizza in Fort Wayne. I was bombarded with recommendations for 800 Degrees. This weekend, Jon and I had an opportunity to go with our friends Will and Mary.
A caveat: we usually steer clear of restaurants located in strip malls- there’s just something “off” about them in most cases (Taj Mahal being the only true exception we’ve found), so I was less than impressed when we pulled up.
Once inside, I was surprised by how extremely casual the ambiance is. Okay, yes, it is a pizza place, so I am not sure what I expected, but we were coming from a wedding and I felt out of place. We were greeted immediately by a kind gentleman, who I assumed was the owner. He explained the ordering process to us, which I found unnecessarily complex- choose a seat, review the menu, order at the counter when you are ready and then the food is brought out to you. Okay, so perhaps it’s not that complex, but it just seemed like a lot of unneeded steps. I like to relax when I dine out. I don’t want to have to keep getting up every time I need a drink refill.
The menu was pretty extensive. All 3 salads looked great and we had a difficult time deciding which pizza to order. We finally decided on the Mista salad: baby greens, toasted pine nuts, tomato, carrots, cucumber, red onions, shaved fennel, rice wine vinaigrette, parmesan cheese- and the signature 800 Degree pizza: tomato sauce, mozzarella, ricotta, house-made hot sausage, fire roasted peppers, Italian parsley, and chili oil. Both were moderately priced. Mary and Will ordered the Bruschetta and the Salsiccia Pizza: tomato sauce, mozzarella, house made italian sausage, garlic, rosemary, and olive oil. All pizzas are 11 inches and serve approximately 2 people. If you’d like to see the entire menu, click HERE.
Our food was prepared quickly and we soon found ourselves out of room at our 4-top table, making things a bit awkward. I was less than impressed with the Bruschetta, which was made with pizza crusts piled high with all of the toppings. It looked like a mess- so much so that I couldn’t bring myself to try it, though Mary and Will insisted that it was good. Our Mista salad was lovely. It offered the perfect combination of fixings (I love pine nuts and fennel), lightly drizzled with an oil & vinegar based dressing.
When the pizza arrived, both looked delicious. The crust was thinner than I anticipated, which actually earns it some points- the thinner the crust the better. Unfortunately, it was not crispy nor crunchy, but rather a bit soggy, making it impossible to pick up and eat. The flavors of our pizza were intense, though teetered on the spicy side for me. I kept having to eat bites of my salad after each bite of pizza.
Overall, the pizza and the entire experience gets an “okay” rating from us. And while I appreciate locally owned restaurants and want to support them, unfortunately, that’s probably not enough to draw us that far north again. I think we will stick with the pizza places closer to our neighborhood.