A slice. A coke. What the heck else do you need?

Friday nights in the Malcolm house meant ordering a large cheese pie from Tony’s Pizzeria, which was a 20-second walk from our front stoop. To honor pizza in all its glory, welcome to Pizza Friday! here at Gastronaut. We’ll celebrate a different Houston pizzeria each week, rating its basic cheese slice on the pizzaaaaa! scale (the more As the better).

This week: Romano’s Pizza Italian Restaurant

HERE’S WHAT I LOVE ABOUT ROMANO’S PIZZA ITALIAN RESTAURANT:

  1. The name. It’s not Romano’s or Romano’s Pizza. It’s not Romano’s Italian Pizza (seems repetitive but you never know) or Romano’s Italian Restaurant. Romano’s Pizza Italian Restaurant tells you it has pizza, but also Italian food in a restaurant setting. This is all important. It’s like a gift to the SEO gods. Whoever thought of this idea knew their stuff.
  2. The light. It’s like walking into a cave. The entrance is bright and spacious thanks to some tall windows. Then it slowly gets darker until, if you’re at the back table, you might need a candle. This is a very New York Italian Pizza Restaurant thing, as if the owners bought too few light bulbs and, instead of claiming a lack of awareness, figured they could say “it’s ambience.” And you agree.
  3. The “Italian” paraphernalia. Most pizza places try to remind us they’re Italian by producing framed pictures of Italy or maybe hanging some map (circa 1993) of the old country. Romano’s has a large painted Italian flag. Above the flag: “ITALIA.” Show it proudly. There’s also a sign above the cash register that says “Place-a-da-order-here-ah.” They don’t hold back, apparently.
  4. The non-Italian paraphernalia. There’s an old New York bumper sticker near the “da-order” sign telling us where to listen to the Mets on the radio. In pizzerias across the East, owners unironically slap bumper stickers on registers, walls, and counters. I am very anti-Mets, but I’m very pro that bumper sticker.
  5. The way the guys stand. When I ordered my pizza two guys just stood behind the line with their arms crossed. They didn’t move the entire time. I nearly cried tears of joy.
  6. The slice. I think we have a new leader in the clubhouse.

Slice rating: pizzaaaaaaa!

Great cheese-to-tomato ratio, and nice flavor on the cheese. Tall, not too wide, and not big enough that it limps to a mess. A good crust, though not as crispy as I’d like. Still, this is nearly perfect. Even got a small taste of oregano close to the crust, and that’s one of the best things about eating pizza. Would eat again and again.

Want to recommend a pizza place to Timothy? Send him an email at tmalcolm@houstoniamag.com.

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Romano's Pizza

$ Deli, Italian, Pizza 1528 W. Gray St.

When the nostalgic craving for a good, old-fashioned slice of cheese pizza hits, we trot off to Romano's on West Gray. It's not just the pizza that's evocati...