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Sunday, March 23, 2014

Angelo’s on 8th: Not quite the same as before, but the pizza and chili are still worthy.

Angelo’s Pizza, first my favorite ‘hole-in-the-wall’ joint for pizza and grinders [see blog post], then with a new location the place to go to for a Cincinnati chili fix [see blog post], has mutated once more.

Gone are the dingy little pizza place on Grand Ave. in West Des Moines, and the 'fast-food feel' chili slinger joint on E. 14th across from the Capitol Complex. Angelo’s gathered all its eggs in one basket and took over the old Jimmy’s 'this, that, and the other thing' location on Eighth St. in West Des Moines this past November, rebranding as Angelo's on 8th.

On my very first visit I revisited the Cheese Frenchee, a sandwich Angelo’s first offered at their E. 14th location [see blog post]. Crispy and creamy, the flavor and texture were most familiar and comforting.

However, the sandwich was less optimal on a subsequent visit – they had swapped out the crushed corn flakes with corn flake crumbs. I wished I had taken a picture then, but nighttime lighting at the new digs doesn’t equate well for decent food porn. Also I wasn’t in the mood. A side of beans, pictured above left, were pretty ordinary. A far cry from the extraordinary beans I used to enjoy at the E. 14th location [see blog post].

Onion rings were a matter of personal preference. The rings I’ve enjoyed in the past were coated in a smooth, ring hugging batter that browned well in the deep fryer. What I’ve had at the new digs sport an anemic, puffy coating that just doesn't appeal to me. However my evening-time dining companion enjoyed them on several visits, so to each his own.

I am happy to report that Angelo’s core components – pizza and Cincinnati chili – are still up to par.

A 5-Way – that’s a bowl of Cincinnati chili atop spaghetti and garnished with beans, onions, and copious amounts of shredded cheddar – is just as delicious as ever. And for eight bucks, a full order will fill you up good.

Having enjoyed both Angelo’s pizza and their grinder sandwich in the past, I was surprised it took me so long to order up their Italian Grinder pizza. The crust is as just as crispy and browned as I expected. Ground Italian sausage and banana peppers are balanced to complement the pizza sauce and mozzarella, not overpower it.

Its good but I’d much rather order either Angelo’s grinder sandwich, or my favorite pizza build that Angelo’s has to offer, the spicy Razor Blade. A couple more visits to Angelo’s on 8th are in order to see if these too have passed the test of time.

Angelo's on 8th on Urbanspoon

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