Food Review: American Pie Pizza Co.

My wife and I are like pizza serial killers. We started modestly in the immediate home area, devouring what we saw everyday. With each successful kill our confidence grew and we slowly expanded our range further, finally reaching Tampa. Our first stop was American Pie Pizza Company located at 9331 Adamo Drive Tampa, FL 33619

The Adamo location is one of the remaining five franchise restaurants (out of the eleven or so - some holes in press releases on their site) that sprouted up across central Florida starting in 2002. The chain seemed destined for greatness of at least Beef O'Brady's proportions. Locally, Orlando Sentinel's Scott Joseph championed the establishment in a 2006 review and he and his readers gave American Pie three Foodie Awards in 2006: Best Pizza - Reader's Choice, Best Pizza - Critic's Choice and Best Take Out.  John McCain (along with Joe Liberman and Mel Martinez - wow.) gave the franchise some national attention when he visited in 2008 while running for President. The chain was also voted "Best Pizza" in 2007 and 2008 in the AOL Citysearch Survey. They rocked it so hard, this pizza place in the mid-aughts.

Those heady days are gone now. Five American Pie Pizza Company restaurants remain. We did not realize it was anything more than a local establishment just outside of town when we visited. Entering into an empty restaurant, resplendent with decor found in the most ironic college student's dorm room, we floundered for a moment before the staff realized we were there. The Teenage Server (T.S.) seemed a little...new. Her heart was in right place though and/or my blood sugar was too low to care about incompetence.

Part of the ritual is to always order garlic knots first. T.S. informed us they were FREE because we sat down for a slice. We got four knots with thick, chunky sweet sauce. Appearing to be more homemade than other establishments, they were also about twice the size. They were crispy on the outside, soft and warm on the inside. The garlic was too light, but the sauce had a nice balance of spices accenting the overall sweetness.

We always order some variation of vegetarian pizza (read: wife does not eat meat), either the "vegetarian" option or by custom toppings. This choice seems to reduce the odds of a greasy pizza, but increases the chances of a soggy center. We went with the medium (16") Veggie (black olives, mushrooms, green peppers, onions and tomatoes) and waited for the results.

Another bonus of the night happened moments later when T.S. informed us she "ran out" of medium crust. So we got a large pizza (19") for the price of a medium! This snafu may have made T.S. the recipient of a minor berating from Polo Shirt Guy later (not a fan of management who does such things in view of customers).

While waiting for the pizza three other people came in to eat and the delivery guy was in and out at least twice. Our pizza arrived in a timely manner.

T.S. made some awkward attempts to serve us the first slices. I fought hunger pangs to keep from accidentally devouring her arm along with the pizza.

The pizza toppings were finely chopped and scattered evenly within an inch of the crust. The finer chop  married the topping's flavors with the sauce and helped avoid chunks falling off. The crust was crisp with no soggy middle, allowing for optimal folding and munching.

Overall, this was the best pizza we had tried so far in the greater Brandon area. Perhaps it is better the little chain stayed somewhat local in scope, it gives those five remaining towns some bragging rights.

Some Specials: 
  • $1 slice pizza Wednesday. 
  • If Rays get home run, you get free draft beer.
  • Thursday cheap beer and $2 slice night.
  • 2 Mile Tuesday - Run two miles with staff & fellow customers at 6:30pm (no discounts, but community creating fun!)

Random Notes
  • Another potentially great thing about American Pie Pizza Company is the plethora of other menu items. I'm looking forward to trying calzone.
  • Interview with Corey Balzer, Owner of American Pie Pizza Company by PMQ

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