Every neighborhood ought to have a good, casual pizza place, and for those living in and about Midtown, you just hit the jackpot. Aldo’s Pizza Pies is located on South Cooper in the building that once held the fabled Two Way Lounge. The space has been gussied up considerably, but it still has the simple neighborhood joint vibe. I have yet to enjoy the rooftop deck; on one visit it was being used for a private event (note to self: next birthday?) and on others, it was just too hot outside. But now that it’s fall, I plan to make it a priority. The interior space is cool and welcoming, if a little bit noisy. There is a bar in the front dining area, but the back room is a bit more spacious, and large TV screens show sports channels. The walls are lined with painted pizza peels, which add a unique and colorful decorative touch. Each table has a fixed, raised platform to hold the pizza trays that doubles as a handy paper towel holder, a very convenient little innovation.
Aldo’s first opened downtown on Main Street in 2012, and the Midtown restaurant in May of this year. Namesake Aldo Dean also owns Bardog Tavern and Slider Inn. There is a full bar, with local beer on tap, particularly from Memphis Made Brewing, located next door. Delivery will be offered, but they haven’t confirmed when it will start in Midtown.
Aldo’s offers a few appetizers and salads, and if you are hungry enough, I recommend the perfect pre-pizza bite of garlic knots, baked twists of pizza dough sprinkled with Parmigiano and served with marinara for dipping. But save room for the pizza, because it is worth it.
The crust is the perfect base for some delicious sauce and creative toppings. The most basic option is the Vodka Pie, just a vodka cream sauce lightly flavored with tomato and a generous portion of mozzarella cheese. I can’t complain about this, but I might recommend using the sauce as a base for a build-your-own pie with a few more ingredients. But straight off the menu, the traditionalist will love Mr. T Rex, a classic meaty pizza with tomato sauce, mozzarella, sausage, pepperoni and meatballs.
Push the boat out a little more and try The Other Side, which comes slathered with poblano cream and topped with fontina cheese, grilled chicken, spinach and tomatoes. I’ve always been a fan of white pizza, and Aldo’s version is particularly good, with garlic and oil, ricotta, fontina, mozzarella and Parmigiano. On my next visit (and there will be a next), I want to try the Memphis topped with Central Barbecue.
So many pies to try …
The pizzas come in a 12-inch size that is reasonable for two people and an 18-inch size that feeds a group, but I can assure you that leftovers are not a bad thing. There are take-out boxes conveniently stacked along one wall.
Aldo’s also has a short menu of sandwiches, and I could not resist the Figgy Piggy Panini, layered with pear, prosciutto, Brie, fig jam, stone-ground mustard and arugula. I am a sucker for sweet fruit/salty meat combos, and this ticks all the boxes, served warm and melty with properly crispy bread in a perfect ratio to the fillings. Two people splitting a sandwich and a 12-inch pie with some slices to take home is a perfect meal.
Aldo’s is what it is. Not fancy, not groundbreaking. Just a really good neighborhood pizza joint that’s quick, easy, comfortable and thoroughly enjoyable.
Aldo’s is located at 752 S. Cooper and 100 S. Main St., Ste. 101, Memphis. The downtown location is open Sunday through Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Thursday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 12 a.m. The Midtown location is open Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Learn more at aldospizzapies.com.