As we have mentioned earlier, the block of Cardinal Blvd. between 4th and 3rd street, which used to house Masterson’s and its parking lot, has recently been converted to Cardinal Towne, which contains housing for University of Louisville students and several restaurants.
I headed over to Papalino’s NY Pizzeria with a friend yesterday evening to check out the new location. Papalino’s opened their first location last year on Baxter Avenue; a ballsy move considering they had to compete with a plethora of other Highlands pizza spots, such as Wick’s, Impellizzeri’s, Spinelli’s, and Bearno’s. However, their delicious pies and unbelievably large slices (a whole quarter of a pizza, for only $3.25!) resulted in success and popularity. On a personal note, it became my favorite place to get a late-night pizza fix.
Thus, I was incredibly excited to hear of the new location opening just down the street from my Old Louisville apartment. The first thing that struck me was the size of the place; the area looks tiny from the outside, but extends far back into the building. Additionally, upon ordering, I found that - unless the Baxter Avenue location has changed its prices in the week since I’ve been there - the food at the Cardinal Towne location costs just a bit more: $3.25 per slice vs. $3.50 (bread sticks are also a dollar more). Toppings are also a tad pricier: at the new location, they are $0.75 for normal fare and $1.00 for artisan toppings.
Whole pizzas are also available, starting at $15.00 for plain cheese with additional toppings costing $2.50, or $3.00 for artisan toppings. Specialty pizzas range in price from $22.00 to $24.00.
The pizza tasted just as good as I expected. They don’t skimp on the toppings: my quarter-pizza came piled with garlicky spinach and tender artichoke hearts. True to traditional New York-style pizza, the thin crust and large size made the slice ideal for folding in half and eating almost sandwich-style. Absolutely delicious; the crisp crust and soft cheese strike a harmonious balance, notably absent of that strange orange grease that often oozes from lesser pizzas.
I found only two faults: the first is that the new location does not yet serve beer, an essential addition to any pizza meal; this, however, is forgivable as they have just opened. We were assured that beer will be coming soon. Secondly, my friend found to his chagrin halfway through his meal that parmesan cheese had made it onto his bread sticks despite his request that it be omitted. We assumed that this was just an honest mistake, but due to some peoples' dietary restrictions, it is important for dining establishments to take greater care when it comes special requests.
Despite this, overall impressions were favorable, and I am sure I will be back many times to partake of this wonderful pizza.
Photo: Allan Day