Somewhat Hidden Big Al’s Serves A Cheesy Slice
I don’t know about anyone else, but I didn’t know a Thames St. existed in the Financial District. Sure enough, it does, and on it you’ll find Big Al’s Chicago-Style Pizza (btw. Broadway & Trinity Pl.). Lunch’er Paul had recommended its regular slice so I decided to go check it out on one of those day’s where I couldn’t decide what lunch appealed to me. It’s one of only a couple of businesses on the street that only exists for two blocks. According to its menu, Big Al’s has been around for 30 years and a steady stream of people came in and out while I was there during prime lunch time. The weird thing is, that they don’t really seem to focus on the deep dish pizza that you think of as Chicago-style, although they do list a pie with a “special crisp and fluffy crust.” I guess there’s always Pizzeria Uno at the South Street Seaport for that.
Big Al’s is sort of a subterranean pizza shop, although not quite like The Grotto. It’s fairly sizable by some standards, with plenty of counter and stool space. I’m only an occasional pizza eater, but I still haven’t quite recovered from Mardi Gras Pizza closing on Maiden Lane. It was apparently trying to be the FiDi’s Two Boots with its Cajun twist, but they made a fine slice and also featured Mexican food, which I never tried.
Enough of that walk down memory lane and back to Big Al’s. They already had a cheese pizza hot out of the oven, so I didn’t even have to wait for a reheat. The slice ($2.50) was fairly hefty and greasy, thanks to the liberal application of cheese. It was a regular NY slice, though, without a thick crust.
Let’s start with what I liked about this slice, and that was the crust. It was crispy but held up well to the cheese and grease. About that cheese – I am generally not a fan of plain pies with a ton of cheese on top, and this one was heavy on it. So, if you are a cheese lover you might want to check this slice out. Also, I could hardly taste the sauce, but it may have been that I wasn’t paying attention.
My new go-to cheese slice remains It’s A Pizza, where I can also get Uzbek specialties if I need a greasy meat-filled pastry to go with my greasy pizza. And when I walked by recently, there was a sign up saying they dropped the price of a cheese slice to $2. This, sadly counts as cheap in the FiDi where we are lacking in a 99 cent pizza place that isn’t Papa John’s.
THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)
- They’ve been there for 30 years so they must be doing something right.
- They don’t skimp on the cheese.
- I like pretending I’m going to a secret pizza place on a street no one knows exists.
THE — (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
- What’s up with the Chicago style in the name when there’s no deep dish in sight?
- Too much cheese, too much grease.
- I don’t know where the hell Thames St. is and I’m too lazy to look at a map.
Big Al’s Chicago Style Pizza, 9 Thames St., (212) 964-3269 or 3270