Monday, June 13, 2016

Spin! ~ Southlake, Texas

Spin! represents the latest fad sweeping America: Artisan Pizza meets Craft Beer. Something akin to Grimaldi's, but with more focus paid to locally made beers. In fact, we tried two such places while in West Virginia last week: Backyard Pizza and Raw Bar in Huntington and Pies and Pints in Charleston. It's the latter that is most like Spin! in that it's both a small(ish) chain, and that their menu offerings are similar.

Food: If you've read these pages long enough, you'll know that Mrs. RJG isn't the biggest pizza fan you'll encounter. But she likes these kind of pizzas. The Napoletana style, that we first spoke about long ago at the now closed Campania, just a few blocks away. For our two visits so far, we tried the Italian Sausage and Onion 12 inch pizza. It was just the right texture and crispiness, while the pizza sauce is slightly sweet, cheese appropriately gooey, and the ingredients a higher grade that what one would find at the laughable Pie Five for example (editorial: Pie Five is nothing more than Pizza Inn made in front of you, but on a smaller pie - seriously?). We also like to split a salad, and their Caesar is excellent, with cold crisp Romaine, shaved parmesan, garlic croutons, and an excellent smooth dressing, not thick and nasty like some Caesar's can be. Oh and they include hot pizza bread as well (as if you need more bread... but it is good!). We'll be certain to try other pizzas in the future. They also feature gelato, which we have yet to sample.

Drink: As alluded to earlier, Spin! does put a focus on craft beers. Now it's not the most robust selection (7 beers I think?), but at least they are mostly local, and since they are from Kansas City, they also have a couple of Boulevard's on tap. Though I would wish they'd bring along some more craft breweries with them that we can't get here otherwise. But I'm sure that's way too costly (and as reader Mervis correctly points out, they would need to get label approval from the TABC, which is not something one should expect from a pizza place!). Their Texas beer selection is somewhat typical of the area, and they probably should have at least one Shannon on tap to support Northeast Tarrant. They do have Grapevine's Lakefire on tap though. They also have weekly "pint nights" where they feature a local brewery.

Location: In the "suburbs" (lol) of Southlake Town Square. You'll find Spin on the north side of Southlake Blvd, east of the main square, next to Pei Wei. If memory serves this used to be Blue Mesa, one of the more miserable meals we ever had. It appears Spin! has exorcised those demons. It's a large space, with plenty of seating. Walk in, order at the counter, receive your "number block". And then from there it's full service. So they hand you a swiped credit card receipt, and you add the tip later. It's a unique approach, but I think it's a good concept really.

Notes: Spin! is a chain from Kansas City that is branching out into major metropolitan areas around the US in a decidedly slow growth strategy. Fortunately we were second on the map, and there are now a few locations in DFW. On our first visit, the manager noticed our pizza wasn't shaped correctly, and gave us a free one on the house. Wow! We didn't even notice honestly. Perhaps it's because we didn't bring a "free pizza" coupon. Whatever the case, an excellent gesture, and a good way to develop brand loyalty. Oh - and I do recommend you join their Spin club (rarely do we say this). It's free and phone number driven, so you don't have to carry anything with you. They actually offer serious coupons ($5 on our last visit!).

Rating: 4.0. Close to 4.5. Need more visits here to determine that.

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Spin Neapolitan Pizza Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am an absolute pizza freak but I am also very picky. I can't find any place around here that I actually enjoy. I have been spoiled by New York's pizza and nothing compares to it. I like it paper thin, crisp and topped with quality ingredients, none of which I find locally. Having read your review, I just may have to try Spin! Thanks, Leann

RJG said...

Thanks Leann! Though I should caution Spin! is certainly not a classic NYC joint in the sense of the multitude of "Ray's" and "Franks" one finds under the "El" in Queens. What do you think of Grimaldi's? I've never been to the original in Brooklyn (the line was always too long), but I like the one here in Grapevine.

TS said...

I'm a big fan of Pie Five Pizza. I like that it's fast and they use good ingredients. Spin and Pie Five are completely different -- one is fast and one is full service. Odd comparison. It's like comparing Pei Wei with Benihana.

RJG said...

Pie Five is Pizza Inn assembled in front of you. That was my point. Not an odd comparison when they call themselves "Artisan Pizza". When it simply is not that. To be clear, I don't dislike Pie Five, I just called them out for what they are. They serve a purpose in the same way Chipotle does for Mexican food. That's not artisan.

However, I have to take exception to your additional comment about Benihana against Pei Wei. A Japanese restaurant against the quick service of PF Changs (Chinese)? And Pei-Wei is exactly as advertised. It's the same food you get at PF Changs, with a limited menu, and served quicker.

Also it appears your only comment to this blog is of a negative nature. Do you have anything positive to contribute? If not, please move on elsewhere. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I am right there with you about Grimaldi's in Brooklyn. I would love to try it but it is impossible to get into that place! Since we have one locally, I figure I can eat there when I get back home! I honestly do think New Yorkers are right in the sense that the coffee and the pizza dough is unique because of their water. I can talk all day long about all the places I like to eat pizza in NYC. Locally? Not so much. I've tried Coal Vines, Mellow Mushroom, Armend's, etc. and places called "New York Pizza" which just makes me crazy because their pizza is anything but! For me, I find the crust is typically thick and chewy, not crisp at all which is fine. I know many people who love that aspect. Its just not what I like. Ifratelli's is about as close as it gets for me when it comes to ordering pizza out anywhere but I was also raised on Campisi's in Dallas and the two are associated in some respect. I find I am constantly disappointed and a life time in search of good pizza has worn me out. One day, I just gave up and rarely try new places any more which is exactly why I have not been to Pie Five or Spin. I promise to try Spin!

I am so glad I ran across your Blog. I love to hear about people and places that are near me. Reading about restaurants in other cities is interesting but I am much more interested in a new place I might actually go on a Friday or Saturday night. And since that is what you do, I enjoy your writing. Leann

RJG said...

Hi Leann - I think you'll get a kick then out of one of my older posts. Just read the first paragraph: http://regularjoesguide.blogspot.com/2010/03/2010-ne-tarrant-pizza-summary-pt-1.html

It seems we have some similar experiences here! :-)

Yes, the Campisi's / I Fratelli pizza is what I'd call "Dallas pizza" which you'll find even in some of the older Italian restaurants over there like Prego.

The New York Pizza places in NE Tarrant are almost all run by Albanians, Turks, Serbians, Croats, etc.. They do a good job, but it definitely isn't the NYC we know and love. Mrs RJG didn't care for Mellow Mushroom either ("just teenagers back there cooking") I like Coal Vines, but that's an entirely different thing, so I know what you mean.

I never did go to Lombardi's in NYC. And I had a consulting gig in Soho in 1998 and stayed in Chinatown! Shame on me - but it was always crowded and I was usually alone, so it wasn't comfortable. Have you tried it? I was wondering if that was more what Coal Vines was striving for.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your previous post. I had not read it but you were right, I loved it! I had no idea you have NYC roots! My husband and I are merely want-to-be transplants. We try to go to NYC each fall just to eat! At least you understand where I am coming from! Ironic that you too mentioned the water. There has to be something to that liquid elixir!

We tried Coal Vines twice. The pizza arrived and upon initial inspection, it was indeed thin! I was hopeful. But when I picked up this enormous slice, limp as a lizard, collapsing back onto the pan. Sadly, it didn't pass the crust test which was so disappointing, all before I ever even took a bite! Try as they might, I am right there with your Mom, it is just not the same!

I don't think I've told you this before but perhaps I have. If so, just disregard. One night my husband and I were having an early dinner at Sea Siam. We were sitting in the front. I believe that you and your wife were seated next to us by the windows. Sadly, I wasn't aware, nor had I read your blog at the time so I wasn't as aware as I should have been. What makes me suspect it was you, now that I have read the blog, is we visited with the couple and the man spoke about how he struggled to get a restaurant to make the food as spicy hot as he liked and that is why they loved Sea Siam. Doesn't that sound like something you would say? Many times since, I have thought how I'd like to stumble onto you and the Mrs. now that I read the blog. Small world huh?

I am eager to read your review of Simply Thai just to see what you thought. We always get Spicy Fried Rice and tend to stick with what we love. I tried the chicken in lettuce leaves last time. I should have stuck with the fried rice!
Leann

RJG said...

Hi Leann - it's most certainly possible that was us at Sea Siam. Though I actually had to have them tone down the heat eventually. I think Eddie was taking it as a personal challenge to put me in the hospital. LOL. He was putting full habanero's in there - that kind of thing. That's not what I was looking for. Anyway, they are back to perfect again, and it's super hot, but not killer. We are regular visitors to Sea Siam, so there's always a chance you'll find us there.

Your description of Coal Vines is spot on about the crust. That's why Mrs. RJG didn't like it much either. She's really picky about crusts. I have another pizza place for you to try... I should get a write-up today or tomorrow about it. We just tried it for the first time.

Our experience at Simply Thai didn't overwhelm us. I liked it more than my wife though. But I know what you mean - sometimes it's about getting the right dish. And I love spicy fried rice too. I think we need to visit again before writing, and I'll try that!

Going to NYC to eat is a good idea! We used to go quite a bit as work drove me there often. But I haven't been back since 2007, and Mrs. since about 2005 or so.

Mervis said...

Hi RJG. Glad you're back to writing!

Due to TABC laws this place could not bring in out of state beers on their own and sell them. Give them away maybe but in order to sell the brewery and the labels have to be approved.

Look forward to more reviews.

Mervis

RJG said...

Yes - you're exactly right about the TABC. I forgot about that rule. Sigh. Thanks again gor the comments!