Friday, March 7, 2014

Tavern Pie Confidential: The Boar's Nest

Where They're Located:
1000 N State IL Rt 29

Athens, IL 62613

Call 'Em:
(217) 636-8630

The Pizza:  Bacon, Black Olive & Jalapeno

The Crust:  Thin

The Dish: 
Not a lot to dish as my order for tonight was carry out.  The Boar's Nest is a busy spot on Friday nights during Lent.  You can get some of the best walleye, buffalo and catfish to gnosh during the holy days at The Nest... so rolling up at 7:00 PM is going to be a tough time to find a table or booth.  Incidentally... The Nest has some of the best slaw I've ever tasted.  I would love for them to do a bbq slaw dog or slaw brat in the summer time.  Oh, the possibilities.  For Nest newbies there is seating in the main dining area that includes tables and booths and also seating in the bar which has stools, high top tables and regular tables.  Most weekends you'll find live music in the bar area.  Music helps digestion.

How'd It Eat?
A couple of things about this pizza off the bat... The crust appeared thinner than it has in the past and that is a good thing.  I enjoy a tasty, crispy crust.  I prefer it to be crunchy and not doughy.  Secondly, my pie was party cut.  Good lord I love a party cut pizza.  For those who don't know what this means, party cut means
the pie is cut into squares and not slices.  You can get more squares than slices, hence "party cut."
Anyway, I was messing around chipping ice off the sides of the inside of my basement freezer and I was a little slow in picking up this pie. So of course by the time I got it home it was no longer hot.  So I cranked up the broiler to put a quick melt on it... problem solved..
I've eaten several pies from Boar's Nest...  They are consistently good pizzas with an ample amount of mozzarella and toppings with a nice balanced sauce.  This one falls into that classification.

You can't go wrong with a pizza from the Boar's Nest.  The atmosphere is excellent and the pie is some of the best you'll find in Menard County.  Not a pizza fan?  Check out the horseshoe....  or the tenderloin.

SPP Rating:  8.8

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

III Tomassos Thin Crust Pizza

Springfield's newest Italian restaurant has set up shop on the southwest edge of town near Scheel's Sporting Goods center.  III Tomassos is the place and it bolsters an already strong presence of Italian eateries in the Springfield area.    I chose this spot for lunch on my birthday with my family from a recommendation from Springfield Pizza Project contributor Jeremy Zumwalt.

Where They're Located:
1130 Legacy Pointe Drive
Springfield, IL

Call 'Em:
(217) 546-8990

The Pizza:  Tomassos Veggie

The Crust:  Thin

The Dish: 
Today was my birthday, and we decided to get out and have lunch since my trusty assistant was going for an
 archery session later in the evening when we would normally have supper.  We walked into III Tomassos about 1:00 in the afternoon on a weekday and were seated immediately.  There was a nice crowd in for lunch but still plenty of tables to seat more.  The atmosphere was light and airy with windows along the length of the front of the building that allowed plenty of natural sunlight in the dining area.  The wait-staff was friendly, accommodating and helpful throughout the meal.  Without doubt some of the best service I've received in this town.  Not to go off on a tangent but a quality staff has a huge impact on the perception of a restaurant's quality and more restaurants should work harder to get the kind of help we had today at III Tomassos.  This place also featured a full bar as I enjoyed a fine craft IPA on draft while waiting for my pie and a cool crisp Peroni draft once the pizza arrived.

How'd It Eat?
We didn't wait long for our meals to be delivered.  In the interim between ordering and being served our
entrees, III Tomassos provides bread with butter or a spicy marinara sauce.  The bread is similar to  ciabatta as it has a crispy outer texture with a light inner filled with irregular size wholes and a slight sourdough flavor.  It was perfect for dipping in the hot Tomasso sauce while my pizza was baking and oh by the way, it is delicious!
The pizza arrived shortly after I had sopped up the remaining marinara on the last piece of bread and I was primed and ready to eat.  I went with the small veggie pie which featured fresh tomato, spinach, artichokes, mushrooms, onions, peppers, kalamata olives and sweet cherry peppers.  Those on top of a nice layer of fresh mozzarella, a light tomato sauce and a tremendous thin pizza crust worked very well.  First and foremost, kudos on the crust.  This is not your usual Central Illinois thin crust as it is just a tad thinner and crunchier than what you normally find in this area.  That crunchy texture is a big part of what made this pizza click.  Added to this solid base is top quality mozzarella and fresh toppings that worked so well together. There is no shortage of toppings and what I would consider is a perfect amount of mozzi on this pie.  The sauce was excellent as well as it was very light, without the strong acidity or sweetness that defines most sauces.  It tastes very fresh and allows for the enjoyment of the numerous toppings without overwhelming them.  
Altogether this is a high quality pizza, certainly one of the best in town.  While we highly recommend the pie, don't overlook the rest of III Tomassos menu.

SPP Ranking:  9.3