The Tavern Declares War on Limp Dick (Pizza)
You may have seen the TV commercials. Two comely young lasses sit at a bar and bemoan their frustration with limp dicks. Limp-dick pizza, that is. As in, pizza that is soggy and floppy and generally unappealing. They even sing a little ditty about their dissatisfaction with dicks or pizza or whatever the hell it is they're babbling about, only to be rescued by a strapping fellow with a pizza from the Tavern that's "firm and tasty."
This is the Tavern on West Gray, of course, that bastion of good times and aimless debauchery on the corner of West Gray and Waugh. You might expect the commercials to come on late at night, maybe between ads for ExtenZe and bankruptcy consulting, but no, they've been running during the day and in prime time during major sporting events. Clearly, the Tavern knows its market -- single young men horn dogging through Houston's honky tonks and nightspots.
Photo by J.C. Reid
Which makes the focus on pizza even more surprising. Bar pizza in Houston is notoriously bad, with Houston's gentlemen's clubs setting the pace with a standard menu of Totino's frozen pizza. The one exception is Kenneally's Irish Pub, which consistently vies for bragging rights as offering the best pizza in Houston. Fortunately, high-profile pizza joints like Grimaldi's and Russo's have joined the fray, arguably elevating the quality of pizza in town. So when a bar in Houston better known for Jäger shots makes a claim to great pizza while at the same time making fun of its competitor's "limp dick" pizza, that's a provocative statement.
I decided to check it out. I arrived one weekday afternoon during happy hour and asked for a menu. The pizza was featured front and center and promised a crisp crust, real mozzarella cheese, and a sauce made from vine-ripened tomatoes. Sounded promising. I ordered a small pepperoni (about $14). When the pizza came, it was, well, limp (pictured above). Which was surprising, obviously. Had they just not baked it long enough? The crust was spongy and admittedly thicker than most pizza crusts, but still far from the firm, erect crispness I expected.
The tastiness factor was also disappointing, with the sauce overly sweet and the cheese average. The slices of pepperoni were run-of-the-mill. All in all, a typical (bad) pizza you will get at most bars in Houston. Of course, after a long night of drinking and carousing at the Tavern, just about any pizza would be firm and tasty. I guess the Tavern is counting on the "beer goggles" effect to apply to its pizza too.
Get the Dining Newsletter
The week's top local food news and events, plus interviews with chefs and restaurant owners, dining tips, and a peek at our print review.