Slice

Providence, RI: Nice Slice Pizzeria

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[Photos: Andrew Janjigian]

Nice Slice Pizzeria

267 Thayer St., Providence, RI (map); 401-453-6423; niceslice.com
Pizza style: Thin crust
Oven type: Electric
Notes: Open 11:00 am — 2 am
Price: 18" pizzas, $18.00-$19.00. Slices, $2.25-$3.25

Recently, I found myself in Providence with an empty stomach and an hour to spare on a sunny Saturday afternoon, so naturally I decided to see what I could find in the way of a good slice. I made my way up and over College Hill to Thayer Street, the main shopping-and-eating-drag on the far side of RISD and Brown, to check out Nice Slice Pizzeria.

Nice Slice is a hipster-slash-hippie slice joint, with RISD-alum Shepard Fairey's Andre the Giant posters plastered on its walls and a substantial portion of their menu friendly to a vegan clientele.

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The dough at Nice Slice is made with a mixture of whole wheat and white flours. While the whole wheat flour in the dough gives the crust a wholesome appearance, its texture didn't seem to suffer much for its presence. The slices were ultra-thin from edge to tip, and crackly-crisp on their undercarriages, while still retaining a respectable amount of flop. The pies are cooked in a stock-standard deck oven with reasonably high heat, retaining a bit of moisture in their interiors, alongside a healthy char down below. The end crust, which was not much thicker than the remainder of the slice, was a little tough and dry, probably because it was so thin.

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The sauce on the cheese slice was tangy, herbaceous, and a touch sweet—a nice foil for the 50-50 mixture of aged mozzarella and mild cheddar that was applied in generous dabs. I'm generally a sauce-under-the-cheese sort of guy. However, on occasion I like the effect inverting this formula produces. The cheese gets insulated by the sauce, leaving it soft and pliable, while the sauce concentrates in the oven, intensifying in flavor and drying out a bit. In all, it was a satisfying, and yes, nice, slice.

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The white slice was also decent, with pillowy mounds of ricotta imbedded in the same mozzarella-cheddar mixture, alongside soft, nicely-charred sweet orange peppers and a few portobello slices. A drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of black pepper lent nice background notes to the slice, though the effect was subtle. I enjoyed this slice as well, though it was a bit too mild for my tastes (a little fresh garlic or chopped scallions would have been just the ticket.)

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Overall, I found Nice Slice to be a good choice for a quick slice on College Hill. The slices are solid, the space hip and welcoming, and the staff is friendly. (The manager and head pizzaiolo, Neil Meleo, even told me that the best pizza in the area wasn't his own, but rather a place in nearby Bristol called Sam's that I've added to my to-do list.)

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