7663 Cox Ln.
West Chester, OH 45069
|Hours:||Mon – Thurs: 11 – 10 p.m.
Fri – Sat: 11 – 11 p.m.
Sun: 4 – 10 p.m.
|Price Range:||$13-$20 per entrée|
(Hours may vary by location. See the Dewey’s Site for other locations.)
Andrew E. DeWitt started Dewey’s pizza back in April of 1998 in Oakley, after moving back to Cincinnati with his girlfriend (now wife). Apparently they’ve been doing a good job, because Dewey’s now has locations in not just the Greater Cincinnati area, but in Kentucky, Dayton, Cleveland, Columbus and even St. Louis as well. Their philosophy from the beginning, as their website puts it, “was to have a hip, neighborhood pizza place with a great vibe that would have good music, good beer, and good pizza.”
Ever since having first tried Dewey’s roughly a year ago, it has become one of our dining staples, particularly when it comes to pizza cravings. It was one of those cravings (and a complete lack of motivation to cook) that drove us there tonight under the pretense of giving Dewey’s a full review.
Our Dewey’s of choice is the West Chester location, as it’s only a few minutes drive from our house. It’s quite brilliantly (or cruelly, if you’re watching your weight) situated in a nice little outlet next to a Graeter’s Ice Cream and a wine & spirits store called The Wine List. The entire complex encircles a little pavilion with tables, benches and a small fountain providing a pleasant outdoor seating area for pizza, ice cream or whatever. I’ve heard the entire complex is owned by the Graeter family, although I’m not sure if it’s true.
We’ve never been to any of the other Cincinnati locations (Oakley Square, Harper’s Point, Clifton, or Kenwood) although I am interested in checking out the original Oakley store. I can imagine however that the food quality should remain pretty consistent among each location. We’ll let you know once we’ve gotten to some of the other ones if they differed at all. If you don’t feel like driving all the way out to West Chester, you should be able to get a comparable experience at any of the locations.
We arrived at Dewey’s just after 6 p.m. and were seated immediately. There were a few other couples, and then there was one giant party of about 12 to 15 people in the center of the restaurant, half adults and half small children. The decor in the West Chester Dewey’s has a very modern feel to it, with a lot of wood and stainless steel being at the forefront. Large windows let those waiting to be seated peer into the kitchen at pizza’s being thrown, spun and baked. They apparently make their dough fresh daily, no giant frozen Frisbee to be found here.
Once you’re seated and seeing into the kitchen becomes a little difficult, there’s a flat screen TV on the wall to catch your attention, usually tuned to a sport or news channel. Each table has a small metal stand to hold your pizza, with the obligatory crushed red pepper and Parmesan shakers nestled underneath. Most of the tables are small, and most can seat up to four with the booths along the wall following suit. If you’re a big family, like the one that was dining next to us, they’ll rearrange things to accommodate.
Our waitress was with us a minute after being seated, and we asked for water while we glanced over the menus. We decided fairly quickly, I think Caroline knew what she wanted before we had gotten in the door, and as soon as our waitress noticed we’d set the menus down she was back to take our order.
Caroline decided to start with a side order of the current seasonal salad, the Strawberry Macadamia Nut Salad and I went with a side order of the Peppercorn Ranch salad. For our pizza we chose a 17″ (large) Tito Santana, the current seasonal pizza. Dewey’s has a pretty wide selection of specialty pizzas, in both red sauces and white sauces. They can do half-and-half of any of them, regardless of sauce type. They also have a wide range of ingredients to choose from to build your own pizza, although my personal recommendation if it’s your first time is to go half-and-half with two of the specialty pizzas. To round things off, we ordered a bottle of their Louis Martini Cabernet Sauvignon to enjoy with the meal.
It didn’t take more than five or six minutes for our salads and our wine to arrive, making for a bit of commotion at our table. Our waitress was there delivering the dishes, a waiter came with her to offer freshly cracked black pepper on top of them, and another waiter came bearing the wine, of which he poured a small taste before filling both our glasses.
The Peppercorn Ranch salad that I ordered was a Romaine salad with bacon, tomatoes, Parmesan and red onion drizzled in a, no surprise here, peppercorn ranch dressing. Overall I thought the salad was good, everything from the lettuce to the tomatoes tasted nice and fresh. The bacon was cooked just right, crunchy but not burnt, and the dressing for which the salad was named added a lot to it. Both the pepper and ranch flavors were well represented but for two flavors that can be unpleasant when overpowering they were nice and subtle. I think my only potential complaint would be I really would have liked more bacon on it.
As much as I liked my salad, Caroline’s Strawberry Macadamia Nut Salad was definitely a lot better. It was made up of mixed greens and Romaine, with bleu cheese, toasted macadamia nuts and strawberries in a raspberry poppy seed vinaigrette. I would say it’s easily my favorite salad from Dewey’s. The vinaigrette is excellent, and contributes to the sweet/tart balance created by the mix of strawberries and bleu cheese. They say the macadamia nuts are toasted, although I would almost call them candied, as they seemed coated with something that at first I thought might have been cocoa powder although I’m not really sure. I’m a little sad that this salad is only seasonal.
The wine was… o.k. It was a little tannic or bitter for our taste (I know, it’s a red, but still) for the time being we chalked it up to just not pairing well with the salads. Just as we finished our salads, the waitress came to deliver our pizza. Hungry as we were, we waited only long enough to snap a few obligatory pictures and then dug in. It wasn’t until we were a slice in each that we noticed it seemed a little smaller than the 17″ pizzas we had ordered in the past. The restaurant was filling up quickly with customers, and the children from the large party were running around screaming at this point, so we decided we would ask the waitress next time she came around and not bother her right then.
The Tito Santana (pictured at the top of the post) is a taco pizza. Taco sauce stands in for pizza sauce, with taco meat laying the foundation for a mix of chihuahua and cheddar cheeses, red onions and corn chips. After the pizza comes out of the oven, it’s topped with shredded lettuce, a chipotle ranch sauce and diced tomatoes (although Caroline always asks them to go light on the tomatoes). Much like the strawberry macadamia salad I’m sad that this is only a seasonal pizza.
The taco sauce and taco meat go wonderfully with the chihuahua/cheddar cheese mix. The chihuahua cheese is different enough that you notice something on there is special, but subtle enough mixed with the cheddar that it’s hard to put your finger on it. Incidentally, for those not geographically inclined, chihuahua cheese is cheese from Chihuahua, Mexico – not cheese from chihuahua milk or anything (I’m not even sure that would be possible). Anyway, the tomatoes being added after the bake adds a nice coolness to most bites with a good crunch added by the corn chips. Previously, I would never have thought corn chips on pizza sounded appetizing but I have to admit they fit really well. The highlight in my opinion is the chipotle ranch sauce. I have no idea if it’s a Dewey’s recipe or if they buy it pre-made, but combined with everything else on the pizza it is fantastic. It’s sweet and peppery with just the tiniest bit of spiciness, and I’m fairly sure it’s what makes me find the Tito so addictive.
The pizza may have improved the wine marginally, but not enough to really change either of our opinions that it was mediocre. By the time we had gotten down to half the pizza left (2 slices each) we still hadn’t been approached by the waitress again. Before long though a different waitress stopped by to ask if everything was alright.
We requested a box for the last 4 slices, and then asked if what we had was the 17″. She said it was, and then asked if we still had room for dessert. It wouldn’t be a full review without trying dessert, now would it? So we agreed. I didn’t want to argue with her about the pizza size, seeing as how she worked there and should know her stuff and if more than one person said it was the right size who was I to disagree. Although I still wasn’t quite convinced.
Dewey’s doesn’t have a standard dessert menu, all of their desserts are brought in from places in the area, and apparently change relatively frequently. Considering their commitment to keeping everything else up to a certain standard, it makes sense that they wouldn’t try and stretch themselves thin doing desserts too. She said they currently had in a lime cheesecake, and an opera creme torte. I chose the cheesecake, and Caroline took the torte.
A few minutes later our original waitress came back with the boxed pizza and our two desserts. We finished the last of the wine before digging in, which was wise because the combination of bitter red wine and tart limey cheesecake was not pleasant. I thought my cheesecake was o.k., but nothing special. The lime flavor to it was on the verge of overpowering and, while it wasn’t bad, I don’t think I would order it again.
The opera creme torte was better, but still nothing too special. It was chocolate-y and pretty light and fluffy as far as tortes go, with a wedge of white chocolate on top. I would maybe order it again. Caroline agreed that it was decent but nothing special, and actually thought it was a tad too rich. I wound up finishing the last of it for her.
Personally, with a Graeter’s right next door, I wouldn’t bother with Dewey’s desserts. If you’re at one of the other locations, then maybe (although I hear the Oakley store is right next to Agglemesis). I just don’t see the rationale in paying for an o.k. dessert there, when I can have something much better for a comparable price next door.
The final bill after tip ran in the $70 range ($25 for the wine bottle and $18 for the pizza + salads and desserts) which is more than we usually spend at Dewey’s. In the end I could have done without the wine and desserts, so for a normal dinner it would have been closer to $30. Down to $20 without the salads. It sounds expensive, but the 17″ is quite a bit of pizza, so I think you get your money’s worth.
[Update] We had Dewey’s again tonight (take out this time) and ordered a 17″ like usual. Like we thought, the 17″ has a total of 12 slices as opposed to the 8 slices we got when we dined in and is visibly bigger. We took a picture so people can compare with the one we had at the restaurant and don’t just have to take my word for it. We’ll still go back, and it’s not like I would ever go back to the restaurant and complain, it’s just I would have appreciated it had they admitted the mistake at the time. I’m not one to send food back or anything either, I would have just asked they gave us the medium price instead of the 17″ price, but whatever.
Verdict: You Should Go
The atmosphere is great, and the pizzas are wonderful. If you’ve only ever had chain pizzas (Pizza Hut, Domino’s etc.) than you will be doing yourself a great service by trying some of Dewey’s specialty pizzas. You may want to skip dessert though, especially if there’s something else good nearby (Graeter’s, Agglemesis, etc.) since the desserts at Dewey’s aren’t made by Dewey’s and were only mediocre.