Theo's Neighborhood Pizza
4024 Canal Street, 4218 Magazine Street
summary: good pizza with vegan crust, multitude of veg toppings available, casual comfortable atmosphere
rating: four of five fleurs
When I popped into the Canal Street location of Theo's Neighborhood Pizza for a menu, I really wasn't expecting anything special. Imagine my surprise when I saw a "new" option dubbed the Vegan-ator! I knew that I'd be dining at Theo's in the near future. That future became present on Wednesday evening at their Magazine Street location, a block off Napoleon and lucky for me just a short walk from my house. Have I mentioned I love living Uptown?
I was expecting table service, but what I found was something in between table and counter: you order at the small raised bar in the back, and then your pie is brought to you... eventually. As is explained on the menu, each pizza is baked for approximately 30 minutes. Meaning you will wait at least that long for your meal. So basically, if you're going to Theo's, bring someone you enjoy talking to. But hey, freshly baked pizza straight from the oven - who's going to complain about that?
So we ordered our Vegan-ator, got our Bootsy Collins table marker, and settled in to observe the scene. What we saw: girls' nites out, families having together time, office mates grabing a bite after work, and overall a steady but never crowded flow in the close but comfortable space.
The table markers themselves deserve comment: each is a colorful image of a notable character. As you can see, ours ROCKED. After posting this pic on FB, I received a number of entertaining comments, including the following: "Oh hell to the yeah! Sh*t! Goddamn! Get off your ass and jam!" and "I went to the Theo's in midcity and my table marker was a Magnum PI collage. Hawt! ;)" Clearly I am not the only person who appreciates this bit of flair.
But what you're really wondering about is the food, right? Well. Personally, I feel that the Vegan-ator lives up to its name. What was delivered to our table, fresh from the oven and piping hot, was a pie covered with heaps of fresh tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes (properly rehydrated for once, thank you), yellow squash, mushrooms, jalapeños, red onion, whole roasted garlic cloves, pineapple (!), and what must have been an entire jar's worth of whole kalamata olives. Given that I'm picky about certain ingredients, I could have lived without a few of these. But I was impressed that such effort went into making a lovely all-vegetable presentation.
Now as for the eating. The sauce is just what I look for: straightforward tomato. No messing around, and just enough of it. The crust is, frankly, my least favorite kind, so thin it's nearly like a cracker. But that's a personal preference. And even so, I enjoyed eating it, AND it's confirmed vegan, so really I'm not complaining. Overall I was very pleased with the Vegan-ator experience, but next time I may go custom. Given their list of over twenty veggies there are a LOT of mix-and-match possibilities, particularly with two sauce options available (traditional tomato or just straight olive oil).
We asked one of the very nice and laid back servers whether, if we brought in our own vegan cheese, it could be added to our pizza. We received an enthusiastic "Yeah, sure!" in response! Honestly I wasn't missing cheese at all and I don't think this pizza needs it, but it *is* good to know.
One final note for those of you keeping it vegan and wheat free: while Theo's does offer a gluten-free crust for an extra $4 (small pizza only), it is NOT vegan. *sadface*
Theo's, you've won a place in my directory and in my heart. Let's talk about getting a few more vegan options on the menu, eh? A sandwich maybe, or, hey, a salad? I'll be back again, and I'll be bringing friends. After all, I'll need someone to talk to while my pizza's in the oven.