Sandy • What makes a good pizza?
You probably have opinions about the amounts of cheese, toppings and sauce.
I’m generally not too picky about most of those, but the foundation matters — a lot. If the dough is too thick, rigid or burnt, I’ll scrape the toppings off or ditch the outer crust.
At Slackwater Pub & Pizzeria in Sandy, however, I couldn’t get enough of the honey-sweetened dough, developed at its original location in Ogden. With the pizzas, the crust is light and airy, bubbling in spots. With the calzones, it ranges from a thin cover over the filling to a thick, soft outer braid, perfect for dipping.
I felt the same about almost everything I sampled at Slackwater, although there were items that suffered from minor missteps — or major problems — including some issues with service.
We started with the You’ll Be Stuffed Sticks ($9), dough packed with mozzarella, asiago, parmesan and ricotta. The appetizer arrived with cheese oozing up between slices and a cup of marinara. Although the outside was golden brown in spots, inside the dough was undercooked, not that we minded much.
The Check Your Garlic Breath ($9.75) came with three bulbs of roasted garlic, gorgonzola cream cheese topped with pico de gallo and herbed crostini. A companion loved the overall combination, particularly how the bite from the gorgonzola cream cheese enhanced the flavor of the garlic. I, however, would have liked the pico served separately.
I enjoyed the flavor of the “Seinfeld”-inspired Mulligatawny Soup ($2.75 cup, $4.50 bowl), a yellow curry cream soup with chicken, Granny Smith apples, carrots, celery and onions. I just wish the vegetables had been tender instead of mushy.
Slackwater offers a number of salads in half and full sizes. We tried the Santa Fe ($9.50), a Southwestern-style with too much spinach and not enough black bean-corn salsa, pico de gallo, cilantro and lime. It was still really good, especially the avocado-tomatillo dressing.
The meatball ($10.75) and Bubba Ho-tep ($9.75) sandwiches, served on Stone Ground Bakery hoagies, were surprise hits. The moist, slightly spicy sausage and beef meatballs paired beautifully with a sweet, garlicky marinara, although the sub verged on the dry side until we added more of the tomato sauce.
The Bubba Ho-tep featured a tender, roasted pulled pork with crispy edges that made my mouth water. The sweet heat of the barbecue sauce, however, overpowered the maple citrus slaw.
Sandwiches come with a choice of chips, soup or house salad (for $2.50 extra). I tried the house salad with two dressings from other offerings: the Thai Coco ($6.25 half, $9.75 full) and the apple bacon vinaigrette from the spinach salad ($9.75). I disliked the pungent Thai Coco dressing, but the hickory-smoked notes in the vinaigrette tasted much better, although a little sweet.
But, ah, the pizza.
Slackwater’s offerings range from traditional cheese and meat lovers to more adventurous and unusual combinations. General manager Blake Hirschi said his staff considers pizza a blank canvas for different cultural ideas and concepts — even unusual ones. “We kind of love to push people’s palates a little bit."
Build your own ($11.50), selecting a base — marinara, spicy marinara or garlic-infused oil — and toppings ($1 standard, $2 premium). A gluten-free crust is available, too. They’re all sized at 11 inches to encourage sharing.
There are specialty pizzas, too. The Indian-inspired tikka masala ($13.25) tastes exactly like its namesake, with a creamy, mild masala sauce and spiced chicken that paired well with the red onions, cilantro and cheese. And rice on pizza wasn’t strange at all!
The Iron Horse ($12.25) stood out for its herbed sausage and sweet roasted bell peppers with pepperoni and tangy red onions.
Our favorite, by far, was the Gyro Trip ($14.25). It’s not a pizza I would normally order, but I’m obsessed with the refreshingly bright peppered lemon sauce and creamy, dill-infused tzatziki with shaved lamb, diced cucumbers and red onions. I just wish it included a little more of the gyro meat.
We also liked the Cardiac Arrest ($12.25) as a meat-filled calzone. Slackwater will turn any pizza into a calzone with ricotta — and a side of marinara — for an additional $1.50.
A friend who loves extremely spicy food warned against Tastes Like Burning ($11.75). The heat from the spicy marinara, chipotles and jalapeños overwhelmed the rest of the ingredients — and his taste buds. And I found the Pua’a Luau ($11.50) calzone — a version of the ever-contentious Hawaiian pizza — disappointing. The dough was soggy, only some of my pineapple appeared grilled, and the peppered bacon was scant.
None of our servers offered dessert — we had to ask — and it’s not listed on the menu or website. So it wasn’t really a surprise that the 2nd Ward Delight ($7.50) didn’t match what our server had described. The cheesecake mousse with chocolate sauce and buttery graham cracker crust tasted good, although I found it a bit too rich.
I also didn’t realize that Slackwater serves brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays, because it’s not advertised on the website. I learned about it through social media — too late for this review.
The restaurant — and the servers — seem wholly focused on its pizzas and substantial craft beer menu, which includes dozens of local offerings. I felt more than once that our service lacked because we didn’t order enough alcohol. Our servers were inattentive, not to mention slow to bring our food.
I’d definitely recommend Slackwater’s pizza and sandwiches, and I’ll go back again. But I’d much rather place a carry-out order and enjoy my pizza at home.
Slackwater Pub & Pizzeria • ★★★ (out of ★★★★) Adventurous and unusual artisan pizzas, sandwiches and salads — including plenty of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options. The Sandy location — the original is in Ogden — also features dozens of craft beers, soon-to-open patio with cornhole, small stage for live music and walls adorned with local artwork for sale.
Food • ★★★
Mood • ★★★
Service • ★★
Noise • 3 bells out of 4
Location • 10290 State St., Sandy; 801-930-5147
Online • slackwaterpizzeria.com
Hours • 11 a.m. - 10 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m. - 11 p.m. Friday-Saturday; 10 a.m. - 9 p.m. Sunday. Brunch is 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Sunday.
Children’s menu • Yes
Prices • $$
Liquor • Yes
Reservations • Use Yelp for seven or fewer people, call for large parties
Takeout • Yes
Wheelchair access • Yes
Outdoor dining • Yes
On-site parking • Yes
Credit cards • Yes