Thursday, December 8, 2011

Late Nite Pie

Despite the number of employees from this wonderful restaurant that I've known, and the number of stories I've heard about the hijinks they get up to in this delightful establishment, I decided to brave Late Nite Pie at 302 Tuam. As an employee of the pizza industry, I've long been interested in Houston pizzerias and when I first found employment at Pink's Pizza, I vowed I'd try ever pizza in Houston and decide for myself if we really did have the best pizza in Houston. A year into my employment and I'm finally ready to start. Late Nite Pie is open only from the hours of five at night to three in the morning, and I've never heard anything good about the working conditions there. That being said, when I went they were under new management and new ownership, so it's possible that they're a bit more reputable than in years past.

I'd like to start out by saying that this is the sketchiest place I've ever been into. They'd been open for about two hours by the time we got there, but I'm pretty sure we were the first order of the night. Half the restaurant was still completely dark, the lights off, chairs still on tables. The seats of all the booths were ripped, and I think about half their light bulbs were out.My impression of Late Nite Pie was that they were the place you went to when the bars kicked you out, but they actually are a bar as well. Besides us there were four or five other people, two of which were under the age of seven. Seriously? Who takes their six year old to a bar at seven o'clock on a Wednesday? I think one of them was the proprietors daughter, and she was unbelievably adorable. She had bangs that would make Zooey Deschanel jealous and a Hello Kitty jacket that did make me jealous. -5 for improper parenting but +5 for her awesome fashion sense.

I'll go ahead and skip to the best part of the restaurant. Like every place in the world that can't afford their own artwork, Late Nite Pie exhibits artists' work on their walls to give them exposure and the chance for you to buy their work. The picture beside our booth was a picture of: a tiger! Beautiful, majestic, fierce and usually hungry, tigers are my favorite animal. I like everything about tigers. How cuddly they are, how long their whiskers are, the size of their paws. I like their stripes and I like their noses. Last week, YouTube told me I could skip this ad in six seconds but I watched all two and a half minutes of it because there were tigers in it. I feel like Late Nite Pie knew I was coming, and invited Celeste Mist to post this wonderful color pencil drawing next to our booth just for me! I wrote her phone number down to post here for possible Christmas gift ideas for me from you, my adoring fans, but the more I think about it, the more I realize the Internets might be the one place in the world sketchier than Late Nite Pie. +3890 for the beautiful artwork. Another +7 for the painting I thought was of JFK at first glance but turned out to be James Dean.

I hate to get political here but my next points of interest have been interpreted exclusively from my position as an employee of the pizza industry. A thorough inspection of the Late Nite Pie menu left me wishing I'd gotten myself hired there, despite the horrible work hours and almost guaranteed sexual harassment I'd face as an employee there. For one thing, the specialty pizzas they have listed on their menu are clearly labelled "Absolutely no substitutions!". Look, I'm not saying it's difficult to put regular bacon on a pizza instead of Canadian bacon. I'm just saying, I'm a very important person. My thoughts are almost exclusively focused on things way more important than your pizza order, like who Selena Gomez could date that would make her seem way cooler or what color socks to wear tomorrow. There's nothing wrong from a customer service point of view in allowing substitutions, but it would make my job so much easier if we didn't. +8  Work wise, I also respected that they only sold cheese and pepperoni slices at Late Nite Pie. It's my job to load as many toppings (up to four) that you order on your slice of pizza, but I'd really rather not. I'd really much rather get back to my lovely daydream about Charlize Theron becoming my best friend (Sorry Melissa). +6 for lightening their worker's load.As well, they added a bit on their menu that says "Remember, waiters, bartenders, and drivers work for tips! Once again, I completely understand customers not tipping when they only receive counter service. Until I started getting tips as a kitchen workers I didn't even know that that was a thing. Who tips kitchen workers? But considering how much of my income as a college student comes from people understanding that we really aren't a well paid group of people, I certainly respect a person who'll lay down a buck or two as a thank you for service, and I definitely respect a company that will remind their customers that even the employees you usually tip anyway deserve a break every now and then.+11

Like I said, Late Nite Pie is definitely the most sketchy place I've ever been, and since turning 21, I've been to a whole bar, so I've seen some crazy places. But other than that and despite the disgusting stories I've heard from some of the cooks there, Late Nite Pie wasn't a bad place. You'll hear bad stories from any employee of any restaurant. The service was fine and the food tasty. Give it a try, and if you want to do lunch next week, email me at arbitrarycriticism@live.com.

Late Nite Pie on Urbanspoon

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