Aldo's Pizza Pies - Midtown

 Adjusting To The “New Normal”

Ever since coronavirus COVID-19 shut down Memphis and the rest of the world, it's been a pretty lonely existence for me. Without the pleasure of dining out or having a few drinks with friends, life has sucked for the most part. One of the places that I loved going to was Aldo's Pizza Pies on South Main Street for both great pizza and charming bartenders serving me drinks. With self-quarantine and "stay at home" orders put in place, the pizzeria and all my other favorite Downtown hangouts have been nothing more than memories (and as a consequence made some people happy, including a certain fat drama queen blogger). Having to adapt, I'm making the most of the situation by ordering a lot of take out and deliveries from nearby restaurants. One of them just happens to be another "Aldo's" in Midtown's Cooper-Young neighborhood that's one of my favorite go-to pizzerias (the other is Little Italy). I'll admit that while Aldo's in general is a favorite, I'm more likely eating a slice at the Downtown restaurant after drinking at the Silly Goose, Bardog Tavern (another "Aldo" establishment) or some other bar out of convenience. Fortunately, the "lockdown" has made me appreciate Aldo's other pizzeria that is literally closer to my heart.

Harissa Chicken Panini from Aldo's Pizza Pies

Although I could start off by obliviously talking about pizzas, one of the many things that I love about Aldo's is its sub sandwiches. I assumed they were on the menu at both of its locations but I was wrong. While the Downtown restaurant has subs, the Aldo's Midtown has subbed that out with something more traditional, the panini. As someone who lived in Italy for close to four years, I had a few paninis (but no sub sandwiches outside the Air Force base where I was stationed at) were quite yummy. From what I could remember, the paninis were thin sandwiches that were grilled and filled with cold cuts like salami or prosciutto that made for a light meal. Under this premise, I ordered my first panini from Aldo's on a Saturday afternoon where I was looking for some "chill food" to munch on while bingeing on Hulu (I would say "Netflix" but I rarely use the service). I got the Harissa Chicken Panini with the "soup of the day," a tomato and tortellini bisque. Knowing what I know of paninis, I assumed the sandwich would have slices of chicken breast with a lot of Fortina cheese and spinach as fillers. I didn't expect a huge cut of chicken being the main part of the panini. The sandwich itself was huge and far more than I expected. The chicken was tender and flavorful, with the Harissa aioli having hints of garlic and olives that were great with the cheese and spinach (by the way, Harissa sauce/aioli is known to be spicy but I didn't get a sense of that in the panini). The bread was thick yet chewy, having a fresh taste that didn't come out of a bag. In short, the panini was great and even better when dipping it in a tomato bisque.

UPDATE (November 5, 2022): Aldo's has brought the panini menu to its Downtown location. Although the one I had there wasn't quite as meaty as its Midtown counterpart, it's still a good sandwich to have.

The "soup of the day" was a delicious tomato and tortellini bisque that was utterly superb. Tasting a bit like a marinara sauce, the bisque was a perfect side dish for the panini, especially with tortellini pasta (which there was a lot of in the bisque) as an added bonus. Taken together, the Harissa Chicken Panini and the bisque made for a great lunch that was more than I expected.

The T-Rex from Aldo's Pizza Pies

Of course, I couldn't just write about sandwiches during a review about a pizzeria. While the sandwich menus differ between Aldo's two pizzerias, the pizza menu is pretty much the same. One of my favorite pizzas is the T-Rex, Aldo's version of a "meat lovers" pizza that has pepperoni and huge chunks of sausage and meatballs on a bed of mozzarella cheese and a thick crust that is as Italian as you can get. The T-Rex and most of Aldo's pizzas are a little pricier than most national chain restaurants, but they are worth it because of the quality that the Pizza Huts of the world can't match.

When I wrote my original review of Aldo's Pizza Pies, I couldn't give an assessment of its delivery service because I don't live in Downtown Memphis. However, as a resident of the Vollentine-Evergreen neighborhood that's "sandwiched" between Memphis' Midtown and North Memphis communities (it's definitely more "Midtown"), I took advantage of Aldo's delivery service amid the "lockdown" (which will improve slightly with Memphis mayor Jim Strickland's "Back to Business" plan for reopening the city). Despite the distance from Cooper-Young, I got my food in a timely manner that didn't compromise quality (in other words, the food was hot). Because of its devotion to customer service, delivery isn't always available in my neighborhood whenever Aldo's has numerous orders, giving preference to those closer to the restaurant (that's when I call Little Italy 😁). Despite that, I have no complaints and even enjoyed Aldo's curbside service that is just as convenient.

Given the changes in lifestyle that nearly all of us are being forced to make, I will make the most of it by taking advantage of the benefits that's out there. While having to engage in "social distancing" in bars with face masks will never be enjoyable, I know that whenever I want to chill at home, I have nearby restaurants and bars that I can readily go to when I'm hungry. If this is the "new normal" in life, I'm ready for it.


Aldo's Pizza Pies Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Post a Comment