By Wes Brown, Charles Matranga
Price: large for $16
After we walked through the door of Soulshine and introduced ourselves, the manager said: “We’ve been expecting you.” This was particularly worrisome considering that in the spring we made some scathing comments about their Buffalo wings. As we came to terms with the possibility that this might be our final moments on Earth, we quickly realized that as far as last meals go, you can’t get much better than Soulshine.
Based on the Gallup pizza poll we took at the beginning of the semester, we predicted that Soulshine’s pizza would be a memorable experience. The poll proved true, but for reasons more than just their pizza. This time we were accompanied by a guest star, Mitch Davis, a Memphis native who has his own sports podcast and radio show.
Soulshine’s pizza has the taste of a mom and pop shop meal. You can tell they take extra time and care when making their pizza. Normally when restaurants start churning out pizza on a larger scale, they sacrifice quality for speed. At Soulshine that was clearly not the case, and we appreciated that. The cheese was complex, as if a room full of flavors were having a shouting match with one another upon every bite. The sauce was either subtle or simply out(soul)shined by the cheese. The pepperoni brought out every play in the book. It was crispy, yet tender; light, but hearty; and understated, yet robust. (Writing that sentence made us realize why our friends no longer like to go out to eat with us.)
The manager recommended we try their version of BBQ Pizza, called “the Mississippian.” This pizza’s base was BBQ sauce, and it was topped with perfectly melted cheese and savory BBQ chicken. As a Memphis native, Mitch knows his BBQ, and he said it might be the best pizza he has ever eaten. He then proceeded to rate it 8.6/10. This is honestly a pro-rating. Giving a pizza 10/10 merely because it’s the best pizza YOU have ever eaten is a classic rookie mistake. Unless you have eaten every pizza on the planet, always assume there is room for improvement.
For the moment, Soulshine is the runner-up for the best pizza in Oxford and is yet another high-caliber pizza joint located near the Square. Also, make sure you check out Mitch’s work on Facebook and wherever you get your podcasts @TheMitchDavisShow.
Price: medium for $11
After gaining an unexpected following on social media, and after our experience at Soulshine, we assumed that most pizza places in Oxford had at least heard about us. Lost Pizza gave us a reality check. We had to explain to the manager what we were doing and then he basically said, “Oh that sounds fun, so how are y’all experts?” We didn’t have a response, but honestly, it’s refreshing for someone other than our law professors to think we are utterly unqualified for a given task.
We got our classic half pepperoni/ half cheese, but we chose thin crust since we were given the option when we placed our order. The lowest point of this review came from the complete lack of crisp upon our first bite, a rare absence on a thin crust pizza. Our disappointment was the adult equivalent of getting a brand-new toy on Christmas only to realize the batteries aren’t included. Luckily, the satisfying crunch and succulent garlic flavor of the crust helped make up for it.
The sauce to cheese ratio was perfectly balanced (as all things should be), and both had great consistency. This pizza certainly used quality ingredients but compared to the cheese at Old Venice and the sauce at St. Leo, we really couldn’t give them a much higher rating. Who could’ve guessed that two Italian pizzerias would set the bar sky-high during our three-month pizza-reviewing escapade? The highest rating definitely goes to the pepperoni, which like Soulshine had a delicious smoked spiciness to it.
We also ordered a specialty pizza called “The Hot Chick.” The Hot Chick pizza used ranch instead of marinara sauce, and was topped with juicy, grilled chicken and Buffalo sauce. If you’ve been following SharkBite since the beginning, you might remember that we gave high praise to Lost Pizza’s ranch. If you can’t decide between Buffalo wings and pizza, SharkBite recommends The Hot Chick.
Remember to check back next Friday for the release of our final two pizza reviews and follow us on social media for more updates regarding our review plans for next semester!
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