Friday, October 28, 2011

Papa Gino's

Feeling lazy after a relatively long day in college on Tuesday, I decided to look online for information on places to eat in Limerick. I came across The Definitive Limerick Restaurant and Takeaway Thread on As I scrolled down through the thread, Papa Gino’s caught my eye, thanks to the description “[the] best pizza in limerick by far”.

A quick google revealed a Facebook page with some more information, including the fact that it had been run by a man called Gino for the past 21 years. A user review on described Gino as charismatic, saying “the experience was fantastic”. Seeing an opportunity to complete my blogging assignment and satisfy my hunger at the same time, I decided to pay Gino’s a visit. Armed with my GPS and a 20 euro note, I headed out.

20 minutes later, after a brief accidental detour around some of the city’s one-way streets, I arrived in Denmark Street. I spotted the shop and immediately understood why they hadn’t uploaded a photo to their Facebook page. Have a look for yourself:

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It doesn’t have the most inviting exterior, and looking through the window there was nobody visible inside at all. Adding to that, the interior didn’t look like it had changed since the place opened 21 years ago. When I opened the door, a little bell rang. I spotted Gino rising from a chair in the back of the kitchen, where he had been watching Italian language TV. He approached with a warm smile and asked me what I’d like. I looked up to scan the menu behind him. This is what greeted me:

After a few seconds trying to understand the worst looking menu I’ve ever seen, I gave up and ordered a “supreme” in the “10 euro” size. Gino was very friendly, asking me if I was sure I didn’t want the small size. His accent was a strange mixture of thick Italian and thick Limerick city. 10 minutes later and my pizza was ready, I decided to eat it there so I could take a couple of photos. It tasted good, but I wasn’t blown away. Todays pizzas are loaded with sugar, salt and oil. Gino obviously hasn’t followed this unhealthy trend, opting instead for a purer recipe with generous toppings and a dusting of black pepper and chilli. The toppings were tasty and the cheese was nice, but the overall taste was subtle and quite different to your typical pizza.

I didn’t manage to make it through the whole pizza, so I asked Gino for a box to take it home with me. He joked that he was right to suggest the small pizza size, and told me in colourful detail about my options for reheating the leftovers.

Overall I found the visit to be enjoyable. The bad first impressions soon turned into quirky incidental elements, which only added to the charm of the experience.

Peter Coyne (11060123)

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