28 December 2007

Pasquale's Italian Restaurant

If you went to college, you probably subsisted off a diet of pizza, beer and meaningless sex. I got my baccalaureate degree from Otterbein College, and while I didn't experience nearly enough random coitus in the kitchens of the tan and cardinal sorority parties during the days of my studies, I definitely ate a ton of pizza.

As with most colleges, the majority of the pizza establishments specialize in bulk pizza deals or ridiculously cheap pizza specials. They have all of the usual chain culprits (Donato's, Papa John's and Dominos) that offer specials with cheap toppings or buy-one-get-one, or whatever tricks they have to resort to doing in order to get you to eat the tomato sauce and plastic cheese that they placed on cardboard crust for your dining pleasure.

(On a side note, I also put Classic Pizza into this category. Although their prices are basso profundo low, and despite the fact that in the past I have had trouble deciding which of the bartenders at the sports bar that I wanted to marry, I consider the pizza to be a step above Papa John's and Dominos, and on par with Donato's. If they still have the Otterbein special, though, it is hella cheap.)

Pasquale's Pizza, near State and College in Uptown Westerville, rises above the muck and mire of the cutthroat pizza competition in the area. Most likely because the other establishments target the college kids with their lowest common denominator approach to nutrition and area parents who'd prefer not to cook, Pasquale's pizza is hardly expensive. I got a 16-inch pizza with green peppers and mushrooms for less than $15. A large pizza should feed three (or two ravished people who can't say no to seconds). Unlike the places that aim for lowest cost, Pasquale's is also damned good pizza.

The crust is thin, with a great balance between crispy and chewy. It has a sprinkling of corn meal that gives it a rustic character. The sauce is traditional in style, with a hint of Italian spices poking out from the vibrant tomato base.

The toppings were decent, with the peppers cut finely rather than into strips. The mushrooms may have been canned and thus will get a slight downgrade from me.

The amount of cheese is perfect, and the pizza is actually light eating considering that it's pizza. I didn't get a chance to try the appetizers or pasta, but the menu suggests that they offer a variety of traditional Italian dishes alongside a small selection of sandwiches. Unfortunately, Pasquale's has no menu on the Web.

The staff is great. Everybody is always very friendly. We used to interview the owner and his family as the man on the street for stories like the repeal of prohibition in Westerville, and he was always happy to speak with me; by helping us strengthen our stories with better sources, he helped me out of a few jams in school, and his good will shouldn't go unrewarded. Plus they got a license to sell alcohol, so everybody involved wins!

That being said, the only other complaint I have with dining at Pasquale's is that there is a lot of families that eat there, meaning that the dinner hours are littered with little rugrats colored in varying degrees of annoying. This is a small concern for those ordering to go.

I have read a few internet reviews that criticize Pasquale's for being hard to find. The sign is clearly visible in the window from State Street, and the main enterance is located in an alley next to the sign. It can be seen from Graeter's, Uptown Strings, Sour Records and a number of other businesses by Pasquale's. Parking is easier to find at day than it is at night, but it is almost always free. Here's a big detailed map if it will help.

Check out my pictures and check out the pizza.


Pasquale's Pizza & Pasta House on Urbanspoon

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