By Wes Brown, Charles Matranga
Before we get into this week’s reviews, make sure you are following us on social media @SharkBiteOxford! Next week you will have an opportunity to win some free pizza from your favorite pizza place, but to win you have to be following us on Instagram! With that said, enjoy the reviews.
Price: $17 large 16-inch pizza
Like the New York Yankees, McDonald’s French fries, and the University of Alabama, there are some things you either love or you hate. Similarly, Oxonians seem to either love or hate Pizza Den. There has been no in-between. SharkBite went into Pizza Den the only way we know how: starving to death and ready for whatever was put on our table.
Without a GPS, Pizza Den is almost impossible to find. This place is so off the beaten path, and it blends in with the accountants and medical professionals around it so well, that you would need a local navigator to find it. We walked in the restaurant and, if there had been any ambient music playing, the record would have scratched. We somehow felt like a couple of “city slickers” who stumbled into the wrong saloon. The restaurant was frozen in time, and the customers looked as if they had been going to Pizza Den every Tuesday night since Nixon was President. Having a dedicated customer base means one thing: a unique pizza. That is exactly what we got.
The dough was incredibly dense, but still perfectly crispy, almost like a non-sweet pastry. A truly mind-blowing experience. Atop this nearly perfect dough was a plentiful amount of delicious melted cheese. This cheese looked incredible on the pizza, but the taste is what really caught our attention. It had a buttery taste, and almost melted in our mouths.
The second most memorable thing about this pizza was the pepperoni. Above-average pepperoni is something you can’t exactly explain, but you can taste. Eaten with the rest of the ingredients, Pizza Den’s pepperoni had a sharp spiciness to it that perfectly contrasted with the subdued sweetness of the cheese. What really impressed us is that these pepperonis could have been a stand-alone menu item.
According to the fans of SharkBite, Pizza Den is hit or miss. Some nights it’s fantastic, other nights it is sub-par. In this game of Italian delicacy roulette, SharkBite won. We can’t guarantee that your experience will be as delicious, but it is definitely worth a try.
6 ‘N Tubbs
Price: $16 large 16-inch pizza
At the beginning of our pizza adventure, we held an Instagram poll asking our followers who they think has the best pizza in Oxford. We set our schedule based on how many votes each restaurant got. 6 ‘N Tubbs got the most votes, so we were eager to try them out until we walked in the door. To quote a member of our SharkBite entourage, “When we walked in it reminded me of an old frat house. Then I saw the owner and knew this was a mom-and-pop shop.”
We were met by the owner, a man with a pizza stained shirt and a smile. When we introduced ourselves he looked down, shook his head, and said, “Oh, I know who you are.” We nervously responded, “I don’t know if that’s good or bad” to which he replied, “It is what it is.”
The crust was cooked to perfection. The edge of the crust was so crispy that the crunch could be measured on the Richter magnitude scale. The oven did something to the cheese that we love: it created small burned bubbles of cheese in the middle of the pie. These extra charred bits of cheese tasted great surrounded by the soft chewiness of the melted cheese around it.
The pepperoni half of the pizza was absolutely loaded down with pepperoni slices. Surprisingly, the dough didn’t give way to the truckload of meat on top of it, so the constitution score stayed high. The pepperonis themselves had a great taste, but could have used a little bit more of a crisp to put them over a ‘9’ for us. Overall, we were very pleased with our experience. Thank you to everyone who recommended it.
We got the royal treatment at 6 ‘N Tubbs. The owner insisted that we try his original recipe specialty dessert appropriately named, “The Dessert” and his specialty appetizer, “Poppers.” We had an overwhelming amount of suggestions from friends to try the Poppers appetizer. One Instagram fan told us that the Poppers had become her comfort food since moving to Oxford. Upon taking our first bite, it was clear why. While your SharkBite food critics may never eat pizza again, we have a feeling we will definitely be going back to get The Dessert and the Poppers again to comfort us during final exams.