Wednesday, June 16, 2010

YNot Pizza, Ghent - Norfolk, VA

YNot Pizza interior
A vacancy on Colley Avenue worried a few residents. What would go in the space, please something with good food and no chains of any kind. Fortunately, the owner of YNOT Pizza in Virginia Beach, secured the spot and a steady stream of customers. I had dined at the Great Neck Road location a few times and once at the Kempsville YNOT and was elated to have a location so close. I walked up to YNOT for dinner with Chas and business was booming at a good level. The place was packed but we only waited five minutes for seating. Immediately, I saw the Five Cheese pizza and knew that was me. Chas opted for the Deluxe. Both of our 14 inch pies came out quickly and we were both extremely happy with the food and service. Chas is not a fan of the interior and describes it as 'chainish'. The previous occupants had built a large bar with dark wooden wall shelves and YNOT kept these components. It does not bother me, but I can see Chas' point. They could probably just add a few things to the shelves so they are not totally bare and it would help. You do have to look at it this way too though...why spend a ton of money renovating when you do not really have to. YNOT kept most of the seating layout the same, but did update upholstery and paint and add their infamous dessert counter. Their pizza making area is exposed, so you can watch them twirl the dough. Always wanted to try that but coordination is not usually one of my strengths. The said dessert counter is a wonderful display of cakes, cannoli, cookies and 12-14 types of gelato. You are free to ask for a taste of any or all of the gelato flavors. This dessert counter is sinful and has lots of evil (read good) options. The blond brownie called my name. I ordered a small of caramel and of cookies and cream gelato to taste and both were good. They serve the blondie warm, which is great, but I should have asked because it contains nuts and chocolate chips. I prefer my blondies all blond. Not any fault of YNOT, as I did not ask before I ordered and of course, it was not bad, I just prefer them sans nuts and chocolate chips.

My next visit was during lunch on a Saturday. Nikki, a good friend and I arrived around 1pm and were seated quickly. There were still quite a few diners, but it was not quite as it seems to be at night. YNOT has a daily pizza special, soup special and sandwich or pasta special. Nikki ordered the special stuffed meat lovers slice and a Caesar salad. OUr friend ordered two slices of the white pizza with spinach and tomato and I, of course, ordered my Five Cheese. I thought about getting a pasta because all of those look wonderful as they come out of the kitchen, but I was in a pizza mood. Again, my meal was great. Our friend enjoyed her white pizza, but Nikki's meal did not turn out as well. The croûtons on the salad were store bought (as in from a box) and this is a faux pas in her book because she typically makes her own croûtons and believes any decent restaurant should do the same. I have to agree. She thought the pizza was too bready and I reminded her that she did order the 'stuffed' version which means crust on both sides and she yielded her criticism because she should have realized that when she ordered the special. Stuffed usually means more dough. I saw a few friends. Its good to know locals are making their way to the new YNOT. The dessert counter appears in the distance again. The Knock Out cake and Stracciatella gelato struck my fancy this day. This cake is so good and full of chocolaty goodness that it does knock you out. Stracciatella tastes like white chocolate icing to me and I love it. I was a genious to pair this with the three layer chocolate cake with chocolate icing. Did I mention chocolate? It is not as overwhelming as it sounds. I used to only order the most chocolate dessert available but in recent years my tastes have turned more towards the caramel, peanut butter, butterscotch and cinnamon options. If something is too chocolate, I do not usually like it nowadays, but the Knock Out cake is not that way. Probably great for a chocolate fanatic, but not so much to put someone else off.

In between the Saturday lunch and the Laine and Alex adventure I am about to move onto, I have had a few dinners at YNOT...always the Five Cheese pizza and always good service. I had the carrot cake during one visit and the black and white cookie on another and both were excellent. Laine and I had toyed with driving over to YNOT during lunch, but the weekday time crunch we encounter when leaving the downtown area deters us at times. Chas was in town and agreed to pick us up and head over to YNOT. This makes a 'trip' much more doable in our lunch hour, or so we thought. We were seated quickly and placed our orders...Chas and I both had Stromboli,I the Four Cheese and Chas the Veggie.
YNot PIzza dish Veggie Stromboli

We shared ours and honestly, I have a hard time deciding which is better...the cheese was very similar to the my beloved pizza, but the vegetable was equally tasty and probably a tad more nutritious.

YNot PIzza dish Four Cheese StromboliThe Stromboli are an excellent size for lunch or a smaller meal and reasonable, with both priced at under $7. A small Five Cheese runs you $14.99 and it is worth every cent, but if you are trying to avoid leftovers, the Stromboli is a better option. I have yet to try one, but the Calzone look to be close in size to the Stromboli and are in the same price range. My only negative comment about YNOT to date is how long we had to wait for our is a lunch HOUR, as Laine and I have had to remind restaurateurs many times, and it over thirty minutes for our food to arrive. That meant we had to cram out meals down, get the check and get back to the office in the other twenty minutes since we took ten to get there initially. That puts a damper on the meal and I hate having to rush like that at lunch. I rush enough weekday mornings. I do not want to rush during my lunch hour too. It makes us think before going to lunch there again during the workday.

Overall, I am a big fan of YNOT. While dine-in lunch might be hard during the workweek for anyone outside of Ghent, I definitely have them on my rotating dinner list. They offer pick-up and delivery and you are also able to place your order online. Outdoor seating is available if you want some fresh air while you eat.

Two thumbs up!
YNot Pizza dish White Pizza
I have been a YNot fan since living off Shore Drive back in the 90's. I like the Ghent location just as well. The interior still needs a little work in my opinion too. There is evidence of the former bar that still hasn't been completely converted, but overall the interior is designed using warm, relaxing colors. I ordered 2 slices of white pizza and a soda. As Alex mentions, it took FOREVER to get our lunch. I'm blaming it on the Stromboli, because I'm pretty sure my pizza was already cooked and waiting. However, YNot does not skimp on portions or content. Everything was delicious!


YNOT is open daily for lunch and dinner and is located at 1517 Colley Avenue in Ghent.
YNot Pizza on Urbanspoon

Did you know that YNot will deliver Pizza or other Italian food to your office when you order online? Choose you city from the links below to find out more....
Delivery of Pizza in Virginia Beach
Delivery of Pizza in Chesapeake
Delivery of Pizza in Norfolk


Michele said...

I like their portion sizes too and the canoli is to die for!

Laine and Alex said...

Love cannoli! I ordered it many times from the beach location. Will have to see if Ghent's is up to par (I'm sure it is).

Anonymous said...

Actually the whole bar was stripped out and all the woodwork is new and custom built.

Anonymous said...

you can't really blame Ynot for the wait when it clearly states on the menu that calzones and strombolis take 20 minutes to cook, not counting the time it takes to prepare them in the first place.

Laine and Alex said...

Point taken about the cook time from "anonymous", but it really isn't about blame. It is about our reality. We have to get back to work and plan our outtings accordingly. This menu item was probably a better order choice for a weekend.