Manchester: Ollie’s Food & Spirits

Ollie'sThe skinny: Ollie’s is the definition of an old-school, family-style restaurant. We’ve driven by this Pinardville institution hundreds of times, yet when we were looking for a new pizza place near our home, we were surprised to learn the eatery also served our favorite meal.

Admittedly, the pizza selection isn’t huge, but Ollie’s has more than enough options to satisfy your pizza craving.

Pizzas here come in two sizes, and start at $6.25 for a small and $10.45 for a large. Adding a topping brings the small to $6.95 and the large to $10.45; additional toppings are $1 each for small and large. The topping selection is pretty basic, and fairly old school — nothing fancy here.

Ollie’s has a handful of specialty pies keeping with the old-school theme. There’s the standard Hawaiian with ham and pineapple ($9.45, $14.45), as well as the Chicken Alfredo ($9.95, $14.95), with Alfredo sauce, chicken and cheese if you’re not up for a typical red sauce pizza. You can also try the Ollie’s Special ($9.95, $15.45), which piles on the most toppings: pepperoni, sausage, onions, peppers, mushrooms, olives and hamburger.

Calzones, which start at $6.95 for a plain pizza calzone, add a few more options, like the Steak and Cheese Calzone ($8.95) and the Chicken Parm Calzone ($9.95).

Review: We ordered a large hamburger pizza ($11.45) on a recent weeknight. Until the pizza was on our table, we still weren’t sure what style pie we would have. As soon as it was served, we immediately recognized the Greek influence.

Typical with Greek pizzas, however, was the lack of tomato sauce. Deidre could taste hints of it, but wanted more.

We could tell right off the bat that the cheese was different from many of the other Greek pizzas we’ve had. It looked closer to that of Italian-style pies. And with the first bite, we could tell it tasted better than other Greek pizzas, as well. It wasn’t thick and heavy, and it melted very well. Everyone loves a little bit of ooey-gooeyness in their slices, and these did not disappoint.

What we’ve found in many of the older establishments throughout the state is a similarity with toppings: The quantity tends to be small. Because of this, we probably had a bite of the hamburger every third bite or so. The pieces themselves were also small. Deidre thought the broiled beef was slightly overdone, but blended with all the parts of the pizza, it worked better. Andrew’s big gripe was that the hamburger was pretty bland. Good hamburger needs a lot more than just ground beef, and this, unfortunately tasted like simple ground beef.

As we picked up each slice of pizza, it was evident how well the crust was holding up. The bottom was solid with a bit of a cracker-like crunch, and it offered a nice contrast to the cheesy top. And Deidre thought the end crust provided a crunch that she enjoys at the end of each slice, but it was borderline dry. A good Greek crust will have a bit of its own flavor, and Andrew was disappointed this had none.

With no real stand-out flavors, this pizza didn’t hold up well for the cold pizza test. The cheese was the one part that still shined, and Andrew was still disappointed by the lack of flavor from the hamburger and wasn’t able to taste much of the sauce.

Rating: Deidre: 3 / Andrew: 3 = 6 /10 slices

Ollie’s Food & Spirits
761 Mast Road, Manchester

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