Where Can I Get A Slice at 2 a.m.?

I know some readers were with me on Saturday night and were able to hear my raw, un-edited, and passionate (not so sober) rant about the need for late night pizza in downtown Raleigh. I wish I had that recorded so I’m now bumping an HD camcorder up on the toys-to-buy list. I’ve mentioned this before but every time the topic comes up I usually start ranting. I believe that pizza is a market that has not been fully tapped.

Moonlight Pizza and Mellow Mushroom are great but the type of place I’m talking about will specialize in staying open all the time and slaps the pizza in front of you the moment you order it. I can imagine this hole in the wall pizzeria, with huge ovens and counters taking up most of the space. The people running it are so busy that they come off as being angry at the world; if you’ve ever ordered a cheese steak in Philly, you know what I mean. There are very few tables, but lots of standing room. The line forms out the door and people wait even in cold weather or rain for a slice. You are not supposed to be comfortable, you just get a slice and find some space on a high table, bench, curb, car, anywhere and enjoy. Walk and eat if in a hurry, the pizza is travel friendly.

The cut and dry version of what I am proposing is a by the slice pizza place, open for lunch, dinner, and especially for late night strugglers trying to close the night out. Right now I’m asking for Friday and Saturday nights but if it was every night, I’d buy stock. A place like this could easily set up shop in City Market. I can just imagine a bunch of people at lunchtime or 3am sitting on the street, benches, standing around with slices in hand.

I am patiently waiting for this to open and of course you’ll see it right here on RalCon. Too bad I do not make pizza and am a horrible cook or I’d open it myself.

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14 Comments

  1. I’m with you, pizza at 2 a.m. is imperative for downtown Raleigh. Certainly Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello and Michaelangelo would be disappointed in our fair city. There is this great late-night by-the-slice pizza place in downtown Savannah, where $2 buys you a slice … every customer gets a cup of water and a mint. It’s a complete dive, but at 2 a.m. it hits the spot.

  2. i know its a bit outside of what we like to consider ‘downtown’, but try i love ny on hillsborough st, or a bit further down is pizza america (though they tend to be slower) both are open late. neither are exactly what you are seeking, but perhaps a substitute in the meanwhile?

  3. Hillsborough street for sure offers up plenty of pizza options and I’ve been out there late at night. That was awhile ago though. They could satisfy my late night cravings but getting there is the issue.

  4. If I had a pile of money I’d start a pizza by the slice place in downtown and make a fortune! It is SUCH an untapped market.

  5. ^ Most of that fortune will probably be my paycheck.

    Kidding aside, the business model behind a by-the-slice place is almost the exact same as, for example, a hot dog stand. However, a hot dog stand does not have to pay much fixed costs to run the business. While the nightlife traffic has gone up over the years, maybe Raleigh is still not at that point where B&M shops want to stay open to get in on that traffic.

  6. Oddly enough Greensboro beat out the Capital in the late-night pizza biz. It is a great Italian pizza place that still serves after the bars are closed, or as they are closing. Granted they get a lot of business from out-of-towner’s who cruise Elm St. from Kernersville, and since you can’t cruise Fayetteville St. I guess it does not draw in that type of crowd, which is good! But I still think the late night crowd from Glenwood and surrounding districts would come downtown and give a lil pizza place enough business. Thanks for the post.

  7. There was hope that Martin Street Deli and Pizza would have accomplished this but alas, that project never made it much further than a sign on the storefront.

  8. I’m thinking along the lines of NY style pizza, but I’d be fine with anything decent. Even if your only options are cheese or pepperoni, at 3am few would fuss. Of course their lunch and dinner menu would have to be more substantial, but they could have the simplest menu for late night, in a central location and it would work.

    The hotdog vendors would then unionize and protest, but that can be taken care of quite easily.

    Bottom line, quoting Turtle from Entourage, “Why is it so hard to get a good slice in [Raleigh]?”

  9. While you mention City Market, which is a good idea, another good place for this would be on Hillsborough between Glenwood and Boylan. You got Snoopy’s and Char-Grill there….a pizza by the slice place would make that block a mecca for fast cheap late-night food.

    If I recall, some new buildings are planned in that area I think.

  10. ^ooh, I like. Good suggestion. City Market is pedestrian friendly, that was the thinking behind my suggestion. If it was near the Glenwood/Hillsborough intersection, that gets a lot of late night traffic already, it would be get lots of exposure.

  11. Gumbercules makes a good point. Why can’t you get a non-Taco Bell taco anywhere either? Imagine a taco in one hand, a slice in the other… heaven at 2:30 am.

  12. If the Roast Grill was open at 2am the Sabrett’s hot dog guy outside of Buckhead would go out of business ;-)

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