by Eric Ginsburg
Opening a pizza place next door to another one, especially one that has done steady business for years, is a pretty bold proposition. Even if that existing competitor serves overpriced and subpar food, a new contender needs to raise the bar.
And that’s exactly what Slices on Tate Street has done.
To most residents of Greensboro, the opening of a new pizza joint on the college-dominated strip didn’t even register as a blip on the radar. Understandably we wrote it off as part of the larger generic culture of much of the block, defined in recent years by East Coast Wings and the addition of Chipotle. Big whup, we figured, more throwaway pizza for the masses.
I first walked into Slices on the recommendation of my friend Bianca, who argued that the homemade bread made by “a true Italian” was unmatched in the Gate City and claimed that Slices offered the best sandwich in town. Forever a skeptic, I considered her assertion to be a challenge.
But as I stood at the counter, large black-and-white photos of food occupying the entire wall behind me and the smell of dough encircling me, I was powerless to resist the mac & cheese pizza before me.
There it was in all its golden glory, the elbows bumping into each other and glued to the slice with cheese. Pizza may technically be Italian, but what could be more American than the two meals combined, the ultimate power couple, unless someone misguidedly threw in a hot dog?
It’s a dynamic duo that can be found in the frozen food aisle at grocery stores, a tragic mistake I am sorry to say I’ve made more than once and almost instantly regretted. A few friends pointed out that Cici’s Pizza offers its own take on the mac & cheese ’za, a claim I am proud that I can’t speak to and refuse to verify, especially because Slices’ version is all I could ask for.
Not overly cheesy, it’s the perfect gluten/carb overload.
There are other specialty slices here as well, and every day after 6 p.m. the joint lets two of them go for a pittance: $4. Hello, college dinner.
There are, of course, more regular offerings as well, but with two pasta pizzas and even a Nutella-and-marshmallow dessert pizza, why bother? Slices sells a few interesting desserts too, including an overly tough Nutella roll buried in powdered sugar and a deliciously chewy Italian zeppoli coated in a mix of cinnamon, banana goo and powdered sugar.
But while I’m not convinced that Slices sells the best sandwich in town, a second trip proved that my friend was right about the place’s prime competitive advantage. The subs are no joke, and make Slices a standout not just among the din of collegiate fare, but for the city.
The key when ordering a sub — I recommend the one with Italian sausage, peppers and onions that comes with a touch of red sauce — is to select the homemade bread. It will take longer, watching the dough slipping into the oven, then cooling on the counter, and then being filled with selected ingredients, but it is undoubtedly worth the wait.
There are very few things that can distract me from executing the duties of this job, but the sizable hot sub with mouth-watering Italian sausage and fresh bread proved to be a formidable opponent, leaving my notepad bare and stomach loaded. That’s probably the way it should be, with the food speaking for itself.
Visit Slices Pizza Co. at 401 Tate St. (GSO) or call 336.378.1932.