18340 Yorba Linda Blvd. Suite # 104
Yorba Linda, CA 92886
Shhh! If you listen very carefully you can hear a pizza war being waged in North OC. Okay, maybe I am exaggerating a little bit. After writing my review of Tony's Little Italy, I got an email from my friend Erven about PHAT Pizza in Yorba Linda. As you can tell from my review of Tony's, I really enjoyed their stuffed pizza. Erven told me he liked PHAT pizza better. So we headed to the, "land of gracious living", to give PHAT Pizza a try.
When we entered PHAT Pizza, I was amazed that there was not any Chicago paraphernalia all over the place. Most restaurants from a specific region always have sports posters and pennants all over the restaurant to try to legitimize the food they are serving. Not the case here.
Another glaring difference I noticed between this place and their neighbor in Placentia is the lack of customers. When we went to Tony's for a mid week lunch, the place had a steady stream of customers. At PHAT Pizza, we arrived to an empty restaurant at 5pm on Sunday. In fact, the whole shopping center at the corner of Imperial and Yorba Linda Boulevard was pretty dead. Chronic Tacos, and almost all the other businesses were closed at this early hour.
Owner Rance Ruiz confirmed to us that this shopping center location is a real challenge to his, and others businesses. Access in and out of the shopping center limits traffic to the center. It is for this reason that Rance told us they will be moving to a new place in Costa Mesa soon. This will help make Chicago stuffed pizza less centralized in north OC, and cut down driving times for fans of Windy City style pizza.
After eating at Tony's I now know the protocol with stuffed pizzas. They take a long time to make, about fifty minutes. So instead of hanging around a shopping center with no open businesses, we called our order in ahead of time. Rance had just pulled our pizzas out of the oven when we arrived. Perfect timing. So we paid for the pies and headed to Erven's house to eat. This is how they turned out.
There was going to be eight of us eating pizza, so two pizzas were going to have to be ordered. We went with the Carnivore Pizza and a House Special pizza. Both of these large pizzas had eight slices, but theses are not your run of the mill slices from Pizza Hut. These have some girth behind them. Even with the eight of us we still had leftovers.
First off the House Special Pizza. This one included sausage, green pepper, onions and mushrooms. A few more vegetables than I usually like, but I knew I had to order for the group, not just for me. The first thing I noticed about this pizza were the tomatoes on top. Bigger hunks of tomato on this pizza than the one at Tony's. The toppings on this were a little too mellow for me. The sausage really got lost here.
The Carnivore pizza is way more my style. Pepperoni, sausage, and Canadian bacon went on this behemoth of a pizza. This one still had the hunks of tomato on top of the pizza, but their sweetness was balanced out by the saltiness of the meats here. I definitely preferred this pizza to the house special pizza. Each slice was very flavorful and was full of meatiness.
I liked the pizzas at PHAT, but I think I have to give the edge of this pizza war to Tony's. What did it for me was the crust. The crust here at PHAT lacked the buttery flavor of the ones at Tony's, and could not stand on its own. Also, the cheese seemed to be a little more prominent at Tony's as well.
I think PHAT Pizza will do just fine in their new home in Costa Mesa. A little distance from Tony's will quell the comparisons between the two pizza joints. The distance will also introduce more of OC to this true stuffed pizza. Rance is a great guy, that seems to be passionate about his pizzas, and it shows in the end product. We will definitely come to the new place in Costa Mesa.
Out of five $ signs, (because the city of Yorba Linda is identified as being the richest city in the US, with a median household income of $121,000, more than any other city), five being best to zero being worst, PHAT Pizza gets 3 $ signs.
For more information on PHAT Pizza, click here: http://www.phat-pizza.com/#