By Wes Brown, Charles Matranga
Price: $22, 14-inch pizza
While the Miami Dolphins were “Tanking for Tua” on Monday Night Football, the SharkBite pizza crew paid a visit to Proud Larry’s on the square. Unlike the American Football Conference, competition on the Square is fierce, especially when it comes to pizza. But just like the Dolphins, Proud Larry’s didn’t rise to the level of its competitors.
The sheer volume of cheese and sauce on this pizza tanked the constitution score. The cheese had a delicious, almost buttery taste and pulled apart from the slice with rubber band-like elasticity. The puddle of sauce was so deep we had to break out the snorkel just to take a bite. Both the cheese and sauce tasted fine individually, but like our moms say about Halloween candy, too much of it will spoil your dinner. If you’re eating Proud Larry’s pizza before a night on the Square, Sharkbite recommends bringing a change of clothes. Otherwise, you’ll be dropping your “going out shirt” off at Rainbow Cleaners with the rest of the no-napkin squad.
Eating a bad pepperoni is like the day before you catch a cold: you know something is off, but it’s almost impossible to describe. Something was off about Proud Larry’s pepperoni, but luckily, we can describe it for you. The pepperoni was soggy, flavorless, and buried under a layer of cheese so thick our buddy added it on Snapchat.
The high point of Proud Larry’s pizza was the crust. The crust had just enough crunch to keep us on our toes, and was perfectly charred to give it an audible crisp. To people who enjoy a well-crafted crust, dumping a hot mess of cheese, pepperoni, and sauce atop a masterpiece is simply disrespectful.
Last week, our top contributor jason told us that some places shine with other toppings. And in all fairness, Proud Larry’s “Fat Larry” pizza was leaps and bounds better than the half pepperoni/half cheese we ordered. Each slice piled on every savory meat known to man while maintaining perfect constitution. It also had a more manageable amount of cheese and sauce. If you’re at Proud Larry’s listening to WATSON or your other favorite local band, SharkBite would recommend going for a specialty pizza.
Being a pizza critic isn’t as easy as people think. Sometimes it requires bravery. After eating a lifetime supply of mozzarella at Proud Larry’s, our stomachs churned. But somehow, for our devoted followers, we summoned the courage to trek out to Southern Craft Stove + Top.
Immediately after walking through the door we had mixed first impressions of the atmosphere. It felt like the depiction of what the future would look like from the 70’s movies. It was bright, clean, and all the decor was the same silver/white color. However, this L.A. chic vibe collided head-on with what appeared to be dozens of jackalope antlers on the wall. Understandably, we had no clue what to expect from Southern Craft’s pizza.
For recreational pizza consumers, the dough of a pizza goes unnoticed. Like the offensive line on a football team, most people only notice when it’s bad. But SharkBite knows that you can’t have a successful offense without a good offensive line, and you can’t have a good pizza with bad crust. We’ve noticed a trend in our review spreadsheet. Our highest-rated pizzas all have great dough. Southern Craft was no exception. It was thin (but not your traditional “thin crust”) and perfectly cooked. The crust had such an explosive crunch, Ole Miss should consider selling it in the stadium for fans to “make some noise” on 3rd downs.
The cheese was practically caramelized, and it expertly balanced the mozarella stringiness without sacrificing constitution points. The sauce had good flavor but there was definitely a limited amount. When peeking under the hood of each slice, it was apparent that sauce had been there, but there was barely enough there to taste. SharkBite is either having a draining effect on Oxford’s pizza ingredient supply or our perception was skewed by the tsunami of sauce we swam through the night before at Proud Larry’s.
After having what may have been the most underwhelming pepperoni of the year at Proud Larry’s, we were looking forward to Southern Craft. Our ambitions were severely misplaced. This pepperoni was purely decorative. It had decent flavor, but was razor-thin and had negative crisp.
Ultimately, Southern Craft’s pizza is light, crispy, and brings great flavor. This pizza perfectly qualifies as, to borrow a term coined by Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy, “football pizza.” It’s nothing fancy and super easy to eat. There’s nothing better than a high-quality pizza on a brisk Saturday afternoon to distract you from the fact that Ole Miss won’t make a bowl game this year. Southern Craft may seem a bit out of the way by Oxford standards but it’s definitely worth the visit.