I had heard a lot about Venezia’s Pizzeria before we ever went there. It had a reputation for excellent pizza. Xavvi actually raved about it more than once. Still, I had never made the time to check it out so when we heard they had great wings also it was the perfect opportunity for me to see what the big deal was.
When I pulled into the strip mall parking lot that houses the Venezia’s it was packed. Venezia’s is right by a LA Fitness or Bally’s or Pure Fitness or who the hell cares. But we go for wings right after I get out of work on Thursday’s and everyone else getting out of work was heading to the gym. This probably should have made me contemplate my priorities but I was too focused on finding somewhere to park.
I finally found a spot towards the back of the parking lot (walking to the building from there counts as exercise right?) and made my way over to the unassuming location in the center of the strip mall.
When I stepped inside the first thing I noticed was how much larger the place seemed on the inside than it did from the outside. Xavvi was already waiting for me inside. We quickly looked over the menu and decided to go for some wings and a slice of pizza each. We got a dozen of the hot wings and six sweet red chili flavor, which was being advertised as new. We ordered two sodas as well. No beer at this location – we should have checked this more closely before we picked which Venezia’s to go to.
While we were getting our drinks we noticed their wall of fame. On this wall they showcase the groups of two who conquered what I believe was the 24” Party size pizza. I would double check but Venezia’s website seems to be down right now and I am too lazy to call. Lay off me, this is a wing blog. Regardless, it was a LOT of pizza for two people to eat. We were here for the wings though so the challenge would have to wait for another day.
Our food order came up fairly quickly after we ordered. The pizza looked excellent. It was a thin, New York-style pizza that looked simply amazing. The wings looked perfectly cooked if a little light on the sauce. Everything smelled great as well.
We sat down and immediately dove into the wings like a starved Tyrannosaurus (I really just wanted to make a dinosaur reference). The wings were cooked great. Had that nice crispy texture on the outside and good juicy chicken inside. They were a little on the small side but not too bad. The Hot flavor was somewhat underwhelming. It wasn’t bad but it just wasn’t distinct in any way. The Sweet Red Chili flavor was definitely distinct though. I got the impression that there was a lot more time and care put into developing the new flavor than when they originally introduced the Hot wings.
Now, you can’t go to Venezia’s and not talk about the pizza. You just can’t. The pizza was excellent. Perfectly cooked pizza and quality ingredients make this a can’t miss pizza place. Don’t put it off as long as I did because you will be missing out.
I actually wrote this review quite awhile after we had originally gone to Venezia’s. One benefit of procrastinating so long is that I can look back at my Venezia’s experience and have form an opinion after getting some distance. Looking back now I would say the wings were definitely above average for a pizza place but they don’t really stand out. If they had some sort of pizza and wing combo going on I might go for that otherwise I would just stick with the pizza. I still crave the pizza almost every day.
Well, that is it for the wing and food portion of the blog. If Venezia’s is all you’re here for, you can stop reading now. That was not the end of the night though and, as is our way, I wanted to include the whole experience.
Venezia’s is not too far from downtown Tempe so we decided to make a night of it down on Mill. First stop was Taste of Tops which is the bar they opened up next to the semi-famous Tempe liquor store Tops Liquors.
Taste of Tops is a tiny little box just next to the liquor store. I think all they serve is beer and wine. Beer is what we were looking for after our beer-less wing spot though. We ordered some beers and hung out on some of the couches until a spot at the bar opened up.
There were two bartenders working and they both could give you some excellent beer recommendations. One of them was a hardcore beer snob but if you could get past the pretentiousness he really knew his shit. I asked him what he thought was the best beer and he pointed me in the direction of a Lost Abbey brewery beer called the Angel’s Share.
Apparently this beer isn’t available all the time and is sort of hard to get so we lucked out that they were offering it. I’m always up for something of an adventure when it comes to beer so I went for it. The thing cost me $12 though. That is steep for a beer but isn’t as bad as it sounds when you realize it is it is 12.5% alcohol. They is at least the equivalent of two shitty beers. The taste was sort of indescribable. I had certainly never had anything like it. I didn’t really like it as much as I would hope for the price tag but it was an experience in itself so I am glad I got it. Plus it made me aware of Lost Abbey beers and led me to discover my current favorite beer, Lost Abbey’s Judgement Day.
Next on the lineup was a stop at Robbie Fox. This is sort of a classic Irish pub in downtown Tempe. You are probably rolling your eyes at that statement but they actually imported a 130 year old bar back that was originally in a bar in Dublin. That has to earn them some style points at least. We had a few beers at this place seated in front of that bar back they are so proud of. I seem to remember not being a big fan of some of the clientele there but I was quite a few beers in at this point so it isn’t crystal clear.
Our last stop of the night was at Rula Bula at the far end of Mill Avenue. Rula Bula has a cool outside bar in the back that we sat at. We enjoyed a few more beers and discussed whether Arnold Schwarzenegger was a good actor. Xavvi and I were trying to make the point that in the right role Arnold is genius and irreplacable, like in Predator or Terminator. In addition, he is inadvertently hilarious at all times. Other customers at the bar disagreed but what the hell do they know. The bartender told us with 100% certainty that he would lose in a fight to Arnold. I concur.
We finished off the night talking to the middle-aged bar singer who came out to take a break. Xavvi explained to her that we were scientists who were developing a new fuel out of algae or some shit. This is all a little fuzzy looking back. Xavvi also told her that at least we weren’t doing something pathetic like running a wing blog…
This post was written by Tyler