New River Pizza, 706 S. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-618-7000, or click here.
Remember what pizza was like before people starting putting coal in their ovens and charring paper-thin crusts? That pie you remember still exists down in the Rio Vista neighborhood at New River Pizza, where the dough is thick, the mushrooms come from a can, and the garlic knots are buttery remembrances. In an era when pizza gets piled on with truffles and broccolini, there's something comforting about a place that puts salami under its "premium" toppings section. The place looks old-school too — order and then take your slice to the counter that runs under the windows, just like you used to do. My calzone came with canned mushrooms, slices of Italian sausage reminiscent of gyro meat, and a layer of mozzarella so thick that it oozed out and created a cheese force field on the paper plate. "Traci's favorite" salad is a veritable salad bar of ingredients, covered in toasted, garlicky croutons and crunchy sunflower seeds. Although the pizza is a terrific throwback to those old pies, stay away from the veggie lasagna, a runny, flavorless pan of mostly noodles. Instead, try the meatball sub, which comes toasted, covered in a blanket of cheese and sauce, and filled with well-seasoned meatballs.