Have any you pizza experts tried the pizza at Napoli Pizza on the corner of Monroe and Eastway in Charlotte? I really like their pizza, but I'm not a big pizza eater and was wondering how they stack up for pizza experts.
Some background on why I ask: I came to the US at 10 from Taiwan and the first pizza I had was at this food court place in the old Eastridge Mall in Gastonia, and that was the "best" pizza in my mind and my benchmark for comparison. I don't know if that pizza was actually really good, or just what I thought was good because it was my first pizza. But maybe I did get lucky the first time and found the real thing in Gastonia, because I remember the owner "Tony" said he was Italian, spoke with an Italian accent, and hand tossed the dough, which in Gastonia in 1979 had to be pretty unusual. My parents owned the Chinese place next door, so for about two years I got a sausage slice after school a few times a week. The pizza was thin and big, with a crusty, chewy edge. Tony used a sauce from a can, and this sausage that looked like rabbit pellets, which he spread in a single layer on top of the mozzarella, covering the whole pie with almost no space in between.
We moved to Charlotte and I never found pizza like that again, with that type of sausage (except at the old Godfathers Pizza, but the crust was different), and I've looked too. I've had thin crust pizza since, and places that said they were New York style, but they all use either marble-sized balls of sausage, or sliced up Italian sausage.
But then I found Napoli, and it's about as close to the pizza of my childhood as I've ever found -- same rabbit-pellet sausage, maybe a little too much cheese because I get just a couple of slices instead of a whole pie, which means he starts with a cheese slice, adds the sausage layer, and then more cheese on top, before heating. But it's close, and the crust is almost as thin and chewy like I remembered, with a chewy bready edge.
So here's what I'm wondering for any pizza experts who have tried Napoli's or know the type of pizza I'm describing:
1) What kind of pizza is that? New York, New Jersey? Rhode Island? I did read somewhere these guys are from Naples and they also own Almafi's, which I've never tried.
2) Is the rabbit pellet sausage authentic, or kind of like finding Chicken Chow Mein on an old-school Chinese-American restaurant?
3) Is Napoli's pizza pretty decent for you connoisseurs, or is it average and I just think it's good because it's like what I had as a kid?
Major extra points if anybody knows the Tony's pizza I'm talking about from Eastridge Mall in Gastonia and what happened to him.