In Microtones, our newsletter-first column.
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It has been said that sex is like pizza: “Even if it’s done badly, it’s still good.” But anyone who has ever eaten at Urban Slice, the grab-and-go pizzeria located in Union South, has watched that already problematic adage collapse. If the sex/pizza comparison holds up, then Urban Slice is perhaps the culinary equivalent of the dude in “Cat Person,” Kristen Roupenian’s buzzed-about New Yorker short story from a few months back: “…he moved her through a series of positions with brusque efficiency, flipping her over, pushing her around…” Brusque efficiency. That sums the offerings at Urban Slice up nicely, and maybe even does them more favors than they deserve.
Last weekend before heading to a movie at Union South’s Marquee theater, I ordered up the “meat lovers” daily special. I love meat and thought to myself, “Hey, even if it’s not great, at least I’ll get a (un)healthy dose of some sausage and pepperoni.” What I got was what you see before you—a slice that is less for meat “lovers” than meat “acknowledgers.” When I asked for hot sauce, the cashier filled a whole cup up with the stuff and passed that over, which explains why it’s kinda globbed out across the slice like that. I passed back the remaining 9/10 of hot sauce for whatever poor sap was next in line.
I get no pleasure from this sort of negativity, but the badness of the doughy slabs of blah being passed off as “pizza” at Urban Slice simply boggles the mind. This pizza denies one even the base satisfaction of a cheap, greasy, unfussy slice. It is to Falbo Bros. (a sort of large deep fryer with a door on Park Street) what Falbo Bros. is to Salvatore’s. Urban Slice’s crust has the unpleasant density of particle board and the texture of the cheese is best compared to a puddle of half-dried Elmer’s glue. One could choke down entire square yards of Urban Slice’s cheese without encountering the simple joy of beautifully heat-blistered mozzarella. Is this even mozzarella? Have the folks at Urban Slice heard of mozzarella? When this place “redefined pizza,” did that definition involve even the most rudimentary concept of sauce?
It’s been this way since Union South opened almost seven years ago. At no point has anyone in the chain of command had even a passing interest in the quality of the product, or else they would have surely changed something in their process. Will my comments here change anything? Seeing as how the establishment’s negative reviews on Yelp go back for years (“Urban slice is the Stephen Baldwin of campus run restaurants“) I’m doubtful that the management is interested in constructive criticism. The Wisconsin Union’s public relations manager did make a solid go of giving a shit by responding to that same “review” over on Trip Advisor back in 2016.
You know what’s the worst thing of all? I know for a fact that I’m gonna get suckered back in at some point. I have a sliver of hope, like an idiot, that Urban Slice may one day sort it all out and improve its pizza to the point where I don’t have to trick myself into eating it.
New this week:
Madison-based artist Rodney Lambright II discussed his comic strips, The Beatniks and Something About A Flower, with Reid Kurkerewicz.
A Madison thing we’re listening to: Drummer and electronic musician Joshua Jenquin explores texture and mood on Death Overboard’s self-titled EP.
On the podcast: We’re revisiting our 2015 conversation with the volatile Madison band Christian Dior.
This week’s Madison calendar: The Wisconsin Iranian Film Festival at Union South Marquee, Nick Cave at UW-Whitewater Young Auditorium, Machine Head at the Majestic, Guy & Madeline On A Park Bench at Vilas Hall and more!
Elsewhere on the Madison internet: Cap Times writers Lindsay Christians and Rob Thomas discuss Valentine’s Day Oreos, heart-shaped pizza and “goth” on the latest episode of The Corner Table podcast. Joel McNally revealed “The Shocking Truth about Madison.” Bandcamp paid a visit to WSUM. Chants made a guest mix for WNUR. Fire Heads stopped down to play a few songs on WORT’s Who Cooks For You.