Thin-crusted, Columbus-style pizzas and Italian-American favorites are the stars on a mostly well-executed menu in this slickly renovated, classic pizza shop
Vick's Gourmet Pizza might be a Reynoldsburg institution, but it isn't particularly well known outside its hometown. The pizzeria is extremely accommodating, has an interesting background drenched in history, and it offers good, scratch-cooked food. It deserves a wider audience.
Some quick facts: Vick's is a family-owned restaurant that's been baking pizzas for about six decades. For the past few years, its ovens have been located in the space that previously housed Reynoldsburg's longest-running business: Connell Hardware, which called it quits in 2013 after selling hammers and nails for 141 years.
Before moving to the Connell spot, Vick's was nearby, but a tiny to-go-oriented operation. To walk into Vick's nowadays is to enter a roomy, bustling and beloved local pizza joint with one foot firmly planted in the past but most everything else situated in the present.
Vintage brick walls, old photographs, corrugated aluminum segments and pinball and claw machines seamlessly merge with polished wood, TVs, padded yellow booths and a modern bar with the expected bric-a-brac and chalkboard specials. There's also a pleasant patio out back and a small area near the front counter that functions as a beer-and-wine carryout.
About a dozen beers are on tap; about half of them were brewed in Ohio. I'm more drawn to the cuts-above little wine list, which offers inexpensive bottles of Italian reds that are practically crying out to accompany Vick's cuisine. Chief among these are the Farnese Fantini Montepulciano D'Abruzzo ($21) and the Monte Degli Angeli pinot noir ($27) and sangiovese ($22).
Those beverage tabs will be even more enticing if you show up on a Wednesday, when wine bottle prices are slashed in half. Vick's actually offers several daily deals, and smart shoppers can enjoy a Wednesday daily double of bargains by ordering wine plus a large “specialty” pizza, which will be $3 off.
The eatery's main calling card is generously topped, classic Columbus-style pies with crunchy edges and thin-yet-sturdy, lightly sweetened crusts sliced into rectangles. Vick's nails my three-item barometer for old-school local pizzerias with its big and lusty clumps of garlicky house sausage; grease-spouting but crisp, zippy and delicious pepperoni disks; and judiciously positioned banana peppers. House standards of brown-spotted, good-quality mozzarella and provolone atop a rich, oregano-kissed long-cooked house sauce seal the deal ($18.15 for a large).
Among the many specialty pizzas available — these pre-selected combos are regularly priced at $18.95 for a large (so $15.95 on Wednesdays) — is the seriously spicy Buffalo Chicken, with plenty of grilled tender meat. The hearty Bacon Cheeseburger will get the job done nicely, as well.
Vick's standout Italian Sub ($6.25), loaded with seared capicola and salami, is among the best and best-priced in the area. Ditto for the excellent Meatball Sub ($6.25), with flavorful house meatballs that are chopped into manageable pieces for easy consumption. Both hefty sandwiches arrive on puffy-yet-crusty baked hoagie rolls fortified with broiled provolone on each half.
When I asked if the Lasagna ($9.50) is house made, one of the friendly, personable servers announced, “Everything here is homemade.” I then jokingly shot her a “gotcha” look and pointed to the wine bottle on my table. Her deadpan response: “They're stomping grapes in the kitchen right now.”
After ripping into a giant slab of that lasagna, I can testify that Vick's version — served with soft, very garlicky breadsticks and an OK salad (request the sweet house vinaigrette) — definitely tastes house made. It's an Italian-American comfort bomb with gobs of gooey cheese livened by a nice amount of ricotta, enough herb-scented sauce to put those breadsticks to good use, and enough seasoned ground beef and soft noodles to soothe you into a better day.