There can never be too many pizza joints; this seems to be universal truth in our country. One can’t go wrong with bread plus cheese made fast and tasty and inexpensive for all to enjoy.
Albuquerque’s newest example, Richie B’s, started with a chance meeting between two guys, one an Albuquerque resident named Preston Smith and the other a New York-style pizzeria owner with a few locations around the country.
When they hit it off, Smith walked away with his chance to bring the East Coast eatery to the Duke City, opening the new spot in spring of this year.
As if the smell of browning cheese and crusty dough weren’t enough, the brick walls and the copious posters depicting subway stops, taxis and Times Square ought to put you in a New York state of mind. And then, from across the room, you might spot a slice the size of a small towel, drooping over its plate in just the right way.
Quickly now, scan the menu over the counter, and order to your pleasure, starting with a little nosh like Stuffed Cherry Peppers ($1.75 each). The vinegary bite is complemented by a bit of heat and the savory cheese filling. I could eat a whole bunch of these things if there weren’t a pizza or two on the way (and they’re a bit pricey if you get hooked).
The pizza menu is compact and to the point: pepperoni, veggie, cheese and the like. My favorite is the Supreme ($26.95, 18-inch), crust nearly overwhelmed with sausage and pepperoni and veggies galore. Ordered by the slice ($3.75), you might need a knife and fork for this monster — folding to eat is nearly a disaster.
On the other hand, the fold-to-eat method works perfectly for any of the lighter-topped pies such as Richie B’s spin on the Hawaiian formula: the Pepperoni & Pineapple ($21.95 18-inch, $3.50 slice) with no Canadian bacon in sight.
The extra bit of spice is perfect against the sweet pineapple, making this my new favorite way to eat “Hawaiian” pizza. The pizza sauce is good but not noteworthy; the doughy crust flavorful enough to save for dipping and snacking.
Richie B’s speciality is its Viper Sauce ($.25 as an add-on) used for dipping, drizzling and adding to everything on the order. New Mexicans with our chile-habituated tongues might find it to have a nice little bit of heat, rather than cause a complete taste-bud meltdown as it could in other regions of the country (the other current Richie B’s location is in Alabama).
It’s great for French fries, bits of pizza crust or dolloping over the huge Philly Cheesesteak ($8.95). Unfortunately, the Viper Sauce is necessary for one of the huge orders of onion rings that run a bit greasy. Instead, save some room for a crunchy Cannoli ($3.95) and its sweet ricotta filling.