Eddie's Pizza Truck
No fixed address; follow @EddiesPizzaNY on Twitter for daily location updates; 917-439-7522; eddiespizzany.com
Pizza style: Bar pies
Oven type: Cecilware electic ovens
The skinny: Eddie's of New Hyde Park brings its renowned bar pizza to Manhattan in a truck that cooks your pizza to order. Right now, however, the wait time is excessively long for pizzas that are more bar snack
Price: $7 for 10-inch plain "bar pies"; toppings $1.50 each
Can you take "bar pizza" out of the bar? That's the question facing Eddie's Pizza Truck as it makes its debut. The truck is affiliated with Eddie's of New Hyde Park, which bills itself as "Home of the Bar Pie."
Eddie's out on Long Island is beloved among a lot of folks who grew up in or around New Hyde Park. In fact, the woman behind me in line was talking about how she'd been eating it since she was a kid. But how much of that praise is nostalgia- or beer-google-induced? Is Eddie's — and bar pizza in general — good only in the context of drinking, when you just want something to soak up the alcohol?
But, first, what's a bar pie, you ask? As our man Ed Levine says, "It's usually very thin-crusted to (I'm guessing) leave plenty of room in the eater's stomach for beer. It's baked in a gas oven that may have replaced a coal oven if the bar is old enough. Bar pizza is made with decent, commercial, aged mozzarella and comes topped with canned mushrooms, standard pepperoni and, if you're lucky, house-made sausage."
The Eddie's Pizza Truck hit the streets last Thursday doing a free-pizza giveaway at noon as a promotion. Figuring that scene would be a madhouse, Slice waited until Friday to try the truck.
Here's what we encountered and what you can expect. I would be remiss not to issue this caveat: I assume they are still getting their sea legs (or should I say P legs?), so I'm hopeful they'll work service kinks out with time.
Wait Time in Line: Budget About 45 Seconds Per Person in Line
I got in line at 1:19 p.m. The line was about 25 people deep. Not a mob scene but still a pretty decent queue for a food truck. The line moved at a little less than a minute a person; I placed my order at 1:39 p.m. Not too bad.
Pizza Cook Time: About 30 Minutes (for Now?)
Once I placed my order and got my ticket, the cashier told me it would be a 15- to 20-minute wait while they cooked my pizza. Eddie's Pizza Truck cooks all pizza to order, which is different from most pizza trucks you've seen around NYC, which almost all specialize in Sicilian by-the-slice pies.
In reality, I got my two pizzas—a plain bar-size pie (10 inches) and an Eddie's Special bar pie (sausage, meatball, onions, pepperoni, peppers, and mushrooms)—around 2:12 p.m., a 31-minute wait. To be clear, that was wait time after ordering.
My total wait time was 53 minutes.
The takeaway (at this point, given that prep times may improve): You might as well be taking lunch at a sit-down restaurant at this point. This is not a quick grab-and-go lunch, folks.
The Pizza Itself
This is one of the thinnest pizzas I've ever eaten. The only pizza that comes close in my memory are the pies at Cafe Fiorello across from Lincoln Center.
If you are looking for "oven spring" or "hole structure" and/or a nice "crumb," this isn't the pizza truck for you. The crust is about as thin as a flour tortilla.
As far as flavor goes, there's not much to the crust itself. Here, the sauce, cheese, and toppings have to do all the work. On the plain bar pie, the sauce was thick, and the dominant notes were what Nick Solares has called "mixed Italian herb." The cheese is low-moisture part-skim mozzarella. There's a bit of saltiness to the whole affair, though that flavor was fighting it out with the excessive flour still coating the bottom of the slices.
The Eddie's Special was better, with most of the flavor coming from the sweet Italian sausage spiked with bits of fennel seasoning and from the meatballs. The other toppings were fairly standard, though — diced onions and green peppers and pepperoni that didn't have enough oven time to crisp up nicely.
Given its thinness, you'd think this pizza would be crisp. My pizzas were crisp at the outer edges but the tips were surprisingly floppy. You might attribute this to the boxing, but I had walked about two blocks to Madison Square Park to try a slice. I don't think it should have sogged out in that short a time. This is a pizza that needs to be eaten right away while hot.
Bottom Line: Is It Worth It?
So, can you take the bar pies out of the bar? If this were Colony Grill's bar pizza, maybe. But here, I wonder if some of the sway that Eddie's brick-and-mortar location holds over people is context-related. I'm sure the 50-minute wait would have been more palatable if the truck also sold beer to quaff while in line.
Like I said, they're still getting things together, I'm sure, and hopefully they can squeeze some minutes out of the process, but right now, I would either budget out your full hour for lunch (and who has that kind of time these days?) or wait until they get faster.