Dining Review: High Point Pizza

Pizzas, sandwiches hit spot

High Point Pizza’s “Loaded” pizza boasts pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, onions, olives and peppers on a thin, uncomplicated crust.

Photo by Mark Weber // Buy this photo

High Point Pizza’s “Loaded” pizza boasts pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, onions, olives and peppers on a thin, uncomplicated crust.

High Point Pizza is one of those places I’ve planned to go to for a long time. It’s even one of those places I thought I’d already visited, but memory is fallible. What I know is that now that I’ve been, I’ll go back. It’s a terrific little pizza joint that also makes mean sandwiches.

Fair warning: Take “little” seriously. We showed up with a party of seven at 5:30 p.m. on a Sunday and had to wait for a table (bellies don’t acknowledge daylight saving time, no more than dogs or babies do). There are a couple of two-tops and a handful of rectangular tables that seat four but accommodate more when pulled away from the window. We were able to squeeze around one, but it was tight. (While there’s ample outdoor seating, it was nippy.)

November 5, 2013 — High Point Pizza in East Memphis.

Photo by Mark Weber

November 5, 2013 — High Point Pizza in East Memphis.

That’s not really a complaint — a place is the size it is — but it’s about as close as I’ll get to one. That’s the worst thing I can say about High Point Pizza: I want more of it.

Pizza dough is made from scratch. The salad dressings are homemade. You can take wine without a corkage fee. I even liked the cannoli, though I don’t generally like cannoli.

The muffuletta is probably the best one I’ve eaten in Memphis and better than many I’ve ordered in New Orleans. Ham, mortadella and salami are generously layered inside the bread (baked by La Baguette), topped with melted cheese and a piquant olive salad. The bread was superb, though an oblong shape, not the rounds often cut into quarters that you find at many places. That’s no big deal, because you will almost certainly, no matter how hard you fight against it, eat at least half the sandwich. Further, the bread-to-filling ratio was right, something easy to miss on a muffuletta.

High Point Pizza’s Zeppole, little Italian doughnuts sprinkled with powered sugar and cinnamon served with a side of honey.

Photo by Mark Weber

High Point Pizza’s Zeppole, little Italian doughnuts sprinkled with powered sugar and cinnamon served with a side of honey.

The meatball sandwich is a close second, maybe even too close to call. Like the muffuletta, there’s no surprise here: It’s just a sandwich made like it should be made. The meatballs are big, tender and flavorful. The red sauce tastes long-simmered; the cheese, appropriately gooey and stringy.

If you’re not feeling up to Italian flavors, go Cuban. The pork is smoked by a local barbecue team, and the pickles are made in-house. It’s excellent.

The pizza with everything at High Point is called “Loaded,” and that’s fair. It’s topped with a variety of the usual suspects such as pepperoni, Italian sausage, mushrooms, onion, black and green olives, peppers and so on. The crust is thin and uncomplicated. There’s no tug to it, no snap, either. But it’s good, and the overall pie was delicious.

There are specials, and we were tempted by the Sicilian pizza, but I decided to go with a menu standard.

High Point Pizza’s Cuban sandwich is made with homemade pickles and smoked barbecue made by local Memphis in May barbecue team Pig O War.

Photo by Mark Weber

High Point Pizza’s Cuban sandwich is made with homemade pickles and smoked barbecue made by local Memphis in May barbecue team Pig O War.

A quick tour of the restaurant’s Facebook page shows that past specials have included a British West Indies pizza, one with pork and greens and numerous Italian meat varieties. I’d try any of them.

Before we get to the pasta, let’s talk salad. The dressings, as I said, are made at the restaurants. We sampled the fried chicken salad at dinner — meh. It was a bowl of iceberg lettuce (there might’ve been romaine hearts mixed in) topped with strips of fried chicken breast and a sprinkle of cheese. The antipasto salad was better, topped with plenty of salami, ham, olives and cheese.

My complaint with the salad is the only one I had with the pizza: Canned black olives. They’re waxy and largely flavorless. I picked them out of the salad and off the pizza. The green olives were a simple Spanish olive style, but I don’t mind those. The blue cheese and Italian dressings were both good.

The lasagna was great, two meals’ worth, especially if paired with the Italian spinach. The lasagna was beefy and rich with cheese and red sauce; the spinach was as good as it gets — on the dry side, with no visible scrambled eggs, not too garlicky, not drowning in butter or cream. It tasted like spinach.

The flavor of the spinach also came through in the spinach and cheese cannelloni, a generous serving of two cooked in a white sauce and served under a cap of melted cheese.

I ordered the cannoli for my daughter, a big fan, and told everyone it was for her. But after I tasted it and said something like “wow,” everyone had to have a taste, and the chocolate syrup, crumbs and mascarpone leavings were scraped from the bottom of the plate.

Still, if you’re going for dessert, I say bring on the zeppoles. Think tiny beignets, dusted with cinnamon and sugar, drizzled with a glaze and served with a little cup of honey for dipping.

They were wonderful, and I think the same about High Point Pizza.

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High Point Pizza

Food:

Service:

Atmosphere:

Address: 477 High Point Terrace.

Telephone: 901-452-3339.

Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday, Tuesday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday.

Reviewer’s choice: Muffuletta ($9); Cuban sandwich ($7); meatball sandwich ($7); loaded pizza ($13-$20); lasagna ($9); zeppoles ($3.50).

Alcohol: Beer in the bottle; no corkage fee for wine.

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