Kinchley’s Pizzeria has more rules than Ramapo’s library. You can’t split orders, you can’t use credit cards, and drinks don’t come with free refills. Yet as many people as cram into the library during finals week can be found in the tightly-packed dining room of Kinchley’s every day. So what’s their secret to success, despite all the rules? Find the answer after the dramatic-pause jump.
Really awesome pizza. Every time I go to Kinchley’s I skip over almost the entire menu, flipping to the back where bar pie Valhalla awaits this crusty pizza Valkyrie. Us Vikings don’t like rules, but we tolerate them for the crispy delight that is Kinchley’s bar pies. Bar pies are a type of pizza which is often ordered in bars and taverns, and is known for being extremely thin, crispy, and not filling, it’s a perfect bar food as it won’t fill you up. We ordered three pies: the sausage, onion, and mushroom pie, the “Garbage” or, at other pizzerias, the “everything” pie, and a fra diavolo pie. Fra diavolo, or “Of the Devil”, is a spicy Italian sauce whose heat builds as one eats it. I also ordered an Egg Cream, a typically Jersey concoction of milk, seltzer water, and vanilla syrup. Huge and frothy, it came in a gigantic mug with an iced tea spoon and an extra-long straw. At 3.50, it was bigger than I expected and I was grateful for it.
Egg cream mug VS a normal beer pint. Also, photography VS no windows and very dark (in a good atmospheric way).
After taking our orders, our waitress slammed three metal pizza holders onto our table. These lift the pizza to about nose level, leaving you room on the table for your plates and drinks. Ever attentive, she was constantly circling the little restaurant, which is decorated rather like a basement of a ’70s bi-level house: wood paneling and model trains with tacky beer signs and checkerboard picnic tablecloths. It gives you the illusion of being home, even if you don’t live in a house like that. Between the decor and the service, it’s very comforting and puts you in a positive mood (even if the decor is comforting in a trashy way).
Soon our pizzas arrived–we’d ordered them staggered so that they would all be hot. First up were the garbage and sausage, onion, and mushroom pies. The garbage pie, unfortunately, was a bit too heavy on the thin crust at Kinchley’s. However, it had perfectly cooked vegetables. I am personally confounded by how they managed to get large amounts of vegetables, all with different cooking times, to cook at the same speed in a hot oven. A problem with this pie is that the anchovies you can have served with it are extremely salty and add pretty much nothing to the experience but the almost iodized flavor of generic salt. For those who remember Excessive Mastication lauding the anchovy topping of the pie at Nellie’s last semester, it would seem Kinchley’s uses a different supplier.
The sausage, onion, and mushroom pie was much more delicate and had the taste of homemade sausage without the intense anise flavor so often found in cheap Italian sausage. Because it was a much lighter load, the thin crust of the pizza did not get weighed down. In only a few minutes the fra diavolo pie landed at our table. This came with a delicate, sweet-spicy sauce whose heat built as you ate it–for those who are over twenty one, a beer is completely recommended. What really made this pie excellent was that the heat never got to insane levels and simply maintained a background buzz.
For dessert, we decided on espresso, which was listed as a special on the white board that night. At Kinchely’s they don’t use a fancy machine, just the simple old timey stove-top percolator method: this makes the metal espresso pot extremely hot, so handle with care! For three dollars and fifty cents you get about four cups, which is a great deal to share with friends as an extremely classy way to end a filling meal.
Kinchley’s is not without its flaws, but these flaws do not serve to ruin the place. Instead, they make it more quirky. From its weird rules to its salty garbage pies (order without anchovies!) and cheap, cheap espresso, Kinchley’s is a place pretty much built to have a cult following among Ramapo College students. I know I’m a member.