Local: Best Slice of Cheese Pizza in OKC (Round 1)
About a month ago while I was working out at Prevail Strength & Fitness, owner Sean Shearon approached me. "Hey, Emily," he said. "I have a great idea." I thought this "great idea" was going to be something gym-related, like a crazy new crawl or an insane twist on a squat, but I was pleasantly surprised when Sean's scheme turned out to involve food—and pizza, no less.
The premise was simple: choose five places in the city that offer pizza by-the-slice and rate the slices on a variety of factors, including cheese-to-sauce ratio, crispiness of crust and price. We chose cheese pizza so there'd be a control in the experiment (and, of course, it's the classic vegetarian option).
The stakes were high (not really). The work was grueling (it wasn’t). It was time to eat a whole bunch of pizza.
Sean and I both did some informal polls on Facebook and Instagram, and the favorites seemed to be Empire Slice House, Sauced on Paseo and The Hall's Pizza Kitchen (Hall's is closed on Sundays, so we're saving it for Round 2 on August 31). Wheelhouse Pizza Kitchen was also a popular pick (full blog post here), and Sean had heard good things about both Falcone's Pizzeria and Papa Angelo's, the latter of which is located just west in Bethany.
With our destinations set, we added a few more folks to the mix and set out to discover OKC's best slice of cheese pizza.
Please note that Wheelhouse Pizza Kitchen is permanently closed as of December 2018.
First up was Wheelhouse Pizza Kitchen; it's the youngest restaurant of the five on this list, but it already has quite a positive reputation amongst OKC foodies. I'd been there once before and had really liked it. I never order just cheese pizza because I love to pile on the veggies, so I was excited to channel my third-grade self and kick it all day with plain ol' cheese.
The Wheelhouse slice delivered for sure. The crust was floppy-yet-crunchy (a very rare feat), the kitchen-to-table time was on point (only took three minutes) and the price was pretty nice at $3.79. The overwhelming opinion of the group was that the cheese—brick cheese, romano and mozzarella—tasted great but that it overpowered the sauce. I personally couldn't really even taste the sauce. It was a good slice, no doubt, but would it turn out to be the best?
WHEELHOUSE PIZZA KITCHEN - SCORE
All slices were scored on a 1-7 scale, with 1 being "poor" and 7 being "the jam."
Crust - 5
Cheese - 6
Sauce - 4
Time - 6
Price - 5
TOTAL - 26/35
It had been ages since I'd been to a Falcone's, and I'd never in fact visited this location. I feel like they maybe have the rep of serving greasy, late-night pizza, but Sean told us he'd tried it again recently and that he was pleasantly surprised. That's all the convincing we needed.
Falcone's uses whole milk mozzarella in their cheese pizza, which costs $3.49 a slice (30 cents cheaper than Wheelhouse, for those paying attention). I was certainly pleased with this slice, as the sauce had a strong presence and a great flavor. Downfalls were that the crust needed to be crispier, and the cheese was fairly greasy. The kitchen-to-table time was also a bit lengthy (like 12-15 minutes), but I don't fault them too much for that; we arrived around 3:30pm, and they were fresh out of grab-and-go cheese slices.
FALCONE'S - SCORE
Crust - 4
Cheese - 5
Sauce - 6
Time - 4
Price - 5
TOTAL - 24/35
Papa Angelo's was the outlier, as nobody in our group had ever been there before. A couple of people on Sean's Facebook suggested it, though, so we thought we'd give it a try.
Slices are only served from 11am to 2pm, which we didn't know, so we ordered one large pizza and split it up amongst the eight of us ($2.75 per slice, the cheapest by far). Again, they needed to make up a fresh pizza for us (no big deal), and the wait time was about 10 minutes.
I thought the sauce tasted pretty good, but the pizza was about equal parts cheese-to-grease, and the crust was super floppy—so much so that, when holding the slice up vertically, the cheese would slowly ooze right off. Sean put it best: "This is great 2am pizza."
PAPA ANGELO'S - SCORE
Crust - 2
Cheese - 2
Sauce - 3
Time - 5
Price - 7
TOTAL - 19/35
Everyone in the group knows and loves Empire Slice House, and I think we all thought deep-down that Empire would be the day's victor. We went next door to their slice-only carry-out shop, Easy E, and sat down for what we assumed was the inevitable.
I'll be up-front when I say that Empire does have my favorite slice of pizza in the city, but it's not the plain cheese—it's the MCA, a white pie topped with marinated mozzarella, ricotta and asiago cheeses (further reading here).
It took five minutes for the slices to come out, and they cost $3.75 each (4 cents cheaper than Wheelhouse, the most expensive slice so far). After venturing into the unknown in Bethany, we were all thrilled to be face-deep in a collective cheesy favorite. It definitely wasn't too greasy and it tasted fabulous. Some people's slices, though, had more cheese and/or sauce than others, and the inconsistency across the board docked this slice a couple points; consensus, too, was that the crust could be crispier. After performing the tallies, Empire was in the lead, one point ahead of Wheelhouse.
EASY E SLICE SHOP - SCORE
Crust - 5
Cheese - 5
Sauce - 5
Time - 6
Price - 6
TOTAL - 27/35
SAUCED ON PASEO
Final destination: Sauced. Let me preface something, too—I'm not a masochist, so no, this wasn't my fifth slice of pizza in three hours. Ed and I had split slices everywhere and had a few bites of each, just enough to make a fair assessment (admittedly, I did eat more at some places than at others).
As it would turn out, we'd saved the best for last. Sauced is one of my favorites in the city, a tried-and-true go-to for carryout on a weekend night. There were a couple of Sauced virgins in the group, and after talking it up they were certainly excited to see what all the fuss was about.
The decision was unanimous, even amonst the Empire die-hards—Sauced was the winner! The cornmeal-like crust was incredibly crispy, and the cheese-to-sauce ratio was spot on. The grease was kept to a minimum, and both the kitchen-to-table time (5 minutes) and the price ($3.50) were favorable. It was well-done but not burnt, saucy but not soggy. It was glorious.
SAUCED ON PASEO - SCORE
Crust - 6
Cheese - 7
Sauce - 7
Time - 6
Price - 6
TOTAL - 32/35
So what do you think of the results? Do the scores pass muster, or did we totally miss the mark? Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
This certainly wasn't an exhaustive effort (there's only so much time in the day for pizza guzzling, after all), so we'll be heading back out on August 31 to try five additional pizza places in the city. Stay tuned for the results of Round 2 and a face-off with the Round 1 winner, Sauced!
One final note: the scores on this page are the result of my personal tallies and might vary slightly from the scores presented in Danielle's video above.