I traveled to three championed pizza places in Lincoln in search of the best slice.
At each of the restaurants, I asked for the wackiest or most unique item of the bunch.
Yia Yia’s, 1423 O St.
This restaurant in the heart of downtown Lincoln offered me the Polynesian as its prize slice. All on an individual slice, the Polynesian’s base is marinara and barbecue sauce. Next come black olives, bacon and pepperoni. On top sat cranberries, jalapeños and pineapple. The slice was coated in provolone and cream cheese.
The BBQ sauce and the marinara went surprisingly well together. The combo, along with the cream cheese, made for a tangy flavor. Instead of a bitter BBQ, the sauce was sweet. Usually, I despise black olives. However, the sweetness of the slice made the olives work.
The cream cheese, while a novelty on the menu, is really only a background flavor. But the three-way combo of marinara, BBQ sauce and cream cheese will turn some people off. There’s a lot of sauce. The crust is flat enough that it becomes noticeable how packed the sauces are. But the toppings are numerous enough to even out the heavy middle.
The pineapple is really just for show. The color is bland enough to suspect it came from a can. It only adds a little to the taste. I practically forgot there were cranberries until I saw one on the last bite. The fruit is fun, but the sweetness is already prevalent in the sauces.
The jalapeños do make the slice a tiny bit spicy. Here, the black olives win again as an agent of neutrality between the sweet sauces and the spicy toppings.
The crazy set of ingredients really only boils down to a battle between sweet and spicy. Sweetness wins, but only by a hair.
Boss’ Chicken and Pizza, 1000 Saunders Ave.
This underrated drive-through stop dared me to try the sauerkraut supreme pizza. I bit.
The moderately thick crust was topped with green and black olives, sauerkraut, onions, sausage, pepperoni and mozzarella cheese. Although not listed on the menu, I suspect there was marinara sauce as well.
I’ll be honest, I expected the worst. I don’t like sauerkraut. But the marinara sauce came to the rescue and moderated the taste. The turnoff was the amount of olives. This pizza isn’t for olive haters, and honestly it could really use more sauerkraut.
The pizza is a lot like what you would see in a bar. Surprisingly, the meat needs a more prominent presence. The sausage was lacking, which probably disappoints meat-loving customers.
The drive-through’s hospitality is outstanding. Although I asked for water, they told me “to put whatever” I wanted in my drink cup. Even though I didn’t ask for it, the manager gave me a sample of the fried chicken. (Although this is a pizza review, I recommend the chicken too). But the sauerkraut pizza needs more pepperoni and sausage.
In the end, sauerkraut and meat was outshone by the olives. Although the balance is off, this bar-type pizza is nothing to scoff at.
MoMo Pizzeria and Ristorante, 7701 Pioneers Blvd.
The new restaurant, which the Daily Nebraskan reviewed in September 2014, knows its pizza. They offer one size - 12 inches - but numerous pies. I asked for the pie of the week, which was a meatball pizza. The thin-style crust was coated in red sauce. Garlic confit, which is whole-roasted cloves, joined onions and sliced homemade meatballs. Pesto sauce was drizzled over melted provolone cheese and shredded white cheddar cheese.
The pesto sauce rules this pizza, but its presence allows for a very oily pie. Those goons who dab their pizza to absorb oils before eating the slice would probably turn this pizza down.
However, the sauce and the oils combine very well. The crust is barely present. Unlike so many flatbread pizzas, this pizza isn’t dry. The spices are vibrant with the garlic taking the top prize.
The meatballs - the namesake of this pie - are bland compared to the rocking combo of spices. Although they’re welcome sources of protein, the pie really could go without them because the cheese and pesto are definitely sufficient. The crust had a slightly burnt taste. Unlike way too many pies, the crust is short enough that the bites aren’t totally bread.
This one was close, but Yia Yia’s provided the best slice of pizza. The variation just in one single slice was delicious. But MoMo is a very close second.