Ivana’s is a Mixed Bag

If you are looking for a hero or a plate of pasta for a reasonable price in a friendly shop, Ivana’s would be a solid choice. (Facebook)

If you are looking for a hero or a plate of pasta for a reasonable price in a friendly shop, Ivana’s would be a solid choice. (Facebook)


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By Dan Ziebarth

This review will be tough. Everything about Ivana’s as an establishment was great. The employees were friendly, the place was clean, and it is located perfectly on Arthur Avenue. However, I hated the pizza.

Ivana’s is a classic slice shop with a no-frills vibe. Located just south of 187th Street, the blue-and-white awning with “Ivana’s Pizzeria and Restaurant” lettering stands out. The place tends to be pretty busy and there are usually a few people standing outside or walking in to grab something to eat.

When you go in, you will see that the place is small but not cramped. On your left will be a counter to order with the typical display of pizza and garlic knots. On the right is seating, which is sparse, consisting of four simple booths.

The shop does not have a ton of options, but they serve the basics. Slices include cheese, veggie, sicilian, pepperoni, meat lovers and white. There is a pretty large selection of calzones, heroes and pasta to choose from too — and for a reasonable price — if that is your thing.

Everything sounds great so far, right? Whenever I stop by a shop, I am always expecting a good slice, which gave me high expectations for Ivana’s when I first stepped in. The problem with the slice was, quite honestly, everything. It was a little big and too doughy. The crust had no flavor and no crunch.

The consistency of the crust was closer to undercooked bread than a good pizza crust. This was especially disappointing since the crust overwhelmed the rest of the slice.

There was barely any sauce on the slice, which kept me from tasting any of it in contrast to the crust. There was not necessarily too much cheese, but with so little sauce, it felt like it was yet another part of the slice that did not work. The cheese was also a little burnt, which took away from the flavor and texture and left a dry quality to the slice that complimented the dry crust, I guess — but not in a good way. Dry, doughy crust, too little sauce and burnt, flavorless cheese is a slice gone wrong.

With all this said and done, I do not want to deter people from going to Ivana’s. There are a lot of other things on the menu that I have never tried, and there are many other great aspects to the shop.

A good location and friendly people make a difference no matter where you go. If you are looking for a hero or a plate of pasta for a reasonable price in a friendly shop, Ivana’s would be a solid choice.

Just do not order a slice.