Warner: Charlie Mac’s Pizzeria

Charlie Mac'sThe skinny: On a recent trip to a wedding in Vermont, we had planned to grab a pizza closer to the Green Mountain State border. But not too long into our road trip, our stomachs were growling, and we knew we weren’t going to be able to hold out for our original destination. A quick detour off Interstate 89 led us to Charlie Mac’s.

Located within a cute little downtown area, Charlie Mac’s offers a decent variety for such a small town. Pizzas are sold in the typical three sizes: small ($4.99), medium ($7.99) and large ($11.99). There are traditional toppings ($0.99/$1.99/$2.39), such as ham, spinach, garlic and banana peppers, as well as premium toppings ($1.49/$2.49/$2.89), such as ricotta, artichoke hearts and chicken.

Seventeen specialty pizzas are available here, including the Americana ($6.99/$11.19/$17.19), with extra pepperoni and extra cheese; the Mac Pizza ($9.99/$17.19/$21.19), which comes topped with Roma tomatoes, marinated chicken, caramelized onions and ricotta cheese; and the Greek ($7.99/$14.19/$18.19), which offers feta cheese, Roma tomatoes, kalamata olives, olive oil and oregano.

Review: After checking out the list of specialty pies, the final one caught our eye that day: a medium Chicken Pesto ($15.19). The pizza’s description was simple: basil pesto sauce, marinated chicken and fresh mozzarella.

We looked forward to that cheese, and upon first glance, there was no way to miss it. We knew we had fresh cheese to look forward to, but we were shocked by how generous our pizza maker was. Deidre loved the taste of it, but she thought the amount of it didn’t quite work with the lighter pesto pizza. The heavier cheese would have been better paired with perhaps a meat pizza. It’s a reminder that more isn’t always better, and with pizzas like this, balance should be the goal.

The pesto flavor was then more masked than Deidre thought it should have been. But later, we were curious if it was just a blander pesto. Though the flavor fell a bit short, Andrew appreciated the aroma of the pesto, which was great. He thought the issue may have come back to balance: a bit less cheese may have let the pesto shine more. The oil from the pesto was a bit pesky, too. The pizza itself was much too oily — some of it squirted out with almost every bite.

The chicken was broiled, and it was refreshing to get a break from the fried, breaded chicken that so many pizzerias use. The pieces were cut up small and distributed evenly, but Deidre found them to be a little dry.

The bottom crust was thin and Deidre thought it held up well despite its oily toppings. Andrew disagreed there, finding it a bit soggier than he would have preferred. Deidre ended up liking the end crust best. It had the tiniest crunch that she could only hear in her head, and each bite bit off nicely.

Grabbing pizza on road trips makes the cold pizza test a bit difficult. Our hotel room didn’t have a fridge, so the pizza wasn’t exactly cold … closer to room temperature. After a bit of settling, Andrew found the problematic oiliness wasn’t as much of an issue. And while the chicken had lost some flavor, the cheese was still creamy and delicious.

Rating: Deidre: 3.5 / Andrew: 3.5= 7/10 slices

Charlie Mac’s Pizzeria
17 E. Main St., Warner
456-2828, www.charliemacs.com

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