One of the true pizza favorites of the Jacksonville community is today’s restaurant review. We made the trek down to Riverside to see if Carmine’s Pie House lived up to the hype. Carmine’s Pie House offers a wide variety of Pizza options as well as plenty of tasty non-pizza options.
Editors note: Carmine’s is close to my office so I run by there for lunch from time to time. Their New York slices, available individually, are pretty large and have a bunch of fun toppings available. I like a quick lunch and Carmine’s has me covered there as well. The internal décor is perfect for King Street. Because I usually go there for lunch I don’t pay too much attention to the beer, but Carmine’s has plenty. Carmine’s is also sister restaurant to Lola’s Burrito Joint.
Address: 2677 Forbes St, Jacksonville, FL 32204
Food: We started things off with the Sweet Pot-Long, crispy, golden orange pieces of sweet potato happiness covered with caramel syrup and powdered sugar. These sweet potato fries were delicious. Caramel syrup was something I’ve never had on sweet potato fries. Let me tell you, it was wonderful. The dish came with a good amount of fries and they were fried up just right. If you have a sweet tooth like me you’ll love them. I decided to split a pizza with a friend and also split the chorizo Mac n cheese. Here’s the menu description for the Chorizo Mac n Cheese($14.47)- It’s a fiesta in ya’ mouth…Butter, garlic, chunks of chorizo, roasted red peppers, fresh herbs and white cheese sauce with “da shells”. Whoever wrote these food descriptions should have been a food writer. They wrote zany and entertaining descriptions that actually pretty accurately describe the dishes. Carmine’s take their mac and cheese very very seriously. Name another restaurant in Jax that offers 7 different varieties of mac n cheese on their menu, I dare ya! You can’t because there isn’t one. Carmine’s are folks after our own hearts. Not only do they offer variety of mac n cheese but their chorizo mac was ridiculously good. The chorizo had good flavor (although it could have used a little spice). The cheese however was the reason this dish was so good. The dish had generous amount of liquid cheese that were so creamy and amazing! They used big shells instead of noodles which with this particular blend of cheese was perfect. $14.47 seemed a bit pricey to me for some mac n cheese with chorizo but when I saw the ridiculous amount of it they brought out the price seemed really fair. I can’t wait to go back and try all the other varieties they offer. Pulled pork BBQ, broccoli, and lobster mac all sound divine.
Carmine’s is well known in Jax for the quality of their Chicago style deep dish pizzas. So we decided as far as pizza goes that we’d be trying a deep dish pizza. They also offer New York style pizza by the slice every day and they have a great weekday pizza by the slice lunch special- 2 slices for $4.99. We tried the Dillinger pizza- sliced Chicago beef, sautéed onions, green peppers, horse radish sauce, motz and cheddar. They only offer one size for this type of pizza. The pizza came sliced into 4 big deep dish slices. Two slices will feed one person with a moderate appetite. The pizza was delicious. It tasted a bit like a philly cheesesteak stuffed into pizza dough. There were heaps of cheese in this thing, so much so that you had to hack off all the strings of cheese as they followed the pizza server utensil off the tray to your plate. The meat was good. You could taste the onions and peppers. They added nicely to the flavor and complemented the flavor of the meat nicely.
Service: The service overall at Carmine’s was pretty good. They actually have a note on the menu that states, “All of our staff are full time. If service was good, be generous. If it wasn’t don’t tip and let the management know!” There were six of us dining on this trip and it seemed like the servers basically worked together as a team. We had two servers we saw consistently that filled our drinks and took used plates away. Our servers were almost obsessive about making sure your drinks are always filled. That’s very good. They genuinely seemed interested in meeting our needs. That’s also good. The guys we were dining with shared with me that the last time they all came to Carmine’s Pie House everyone received their meal except one guy. Everyone began eating and eventually when his food still hadn’t come they asked the server if his food was coming. The server then realized that his pizza hadn’t been made. It then took another 25 minutes or so before his pizza arrived. He didn’t appreciate that everyone else was pretty much done by the time he finished eating. The guys I was with on this occasion all joked that they hoped that didn’t happen again. Well, our food got delivered and we all started eating…..except one guy. Would you believe that almost exactly the same scenario happened again??? So after about 10 minutes of our one friend sitting there watching us eat he asked the waiter and they realized his salad been made. In probably another 7 minutes or so he got his salad. So, our one complaint in the service department is Carmine’s needs to work on the way they go about making sure that a table gets all of the items they ordered.
If you’re looking for authentic Chicago Style deep dish pizza in Jacksonville Florida Carmine’s Pie House in Riverside is one place you can find it done really well. If you creamy delicious macaroni and cheese Carmine’s also has you covered and with plenty of options to choose from.
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