One of the most exciting times in America’s history was during its Westward expansion when young, unattached men of the time followed the advice of newspaper magnate Horace Greeley and went West in search of opportunity and adventure.
Able-bodied young men forged a path through the wilderness to conquer the untamed West and build another pillar in the manifest destiny inspired foundation upon which America now stands.
We felt that sense of adventure when we trekked Westward in search of Amadeo’s Pizza And Subs, a pizzeria heretofore unbeknown to us until we read the comments of “a voice crying out of the wilderness” on the now defunct Albuquerque Tribune’s Food City
Responding to a call to all pizza hounds, that voice respectfully dissented from popularly preferred pizzerias and cast his lot behind Amadeo’s, a restaurant almost as far West as you can go in Albuquerque and not at all easy to find.
Nestled within the confines of a nondescript shopping center, Amadeo’s is named for its founder Amadeo Garcia (a fellow Air Force retiree) and is run by his affable son Carl and vivacious daughter Cathy Vall (I really should have photographed her, too). It’s been around since 1987, but many of us residents north of I-40 who rarely venture south of that interstate divide have never heard of it–our loss.
Note: A second Amadeo’s restaurant is located at 3109 South Coors, S.W. and is managed by Amadeo’s other scions Mark and Annette. Carl confided that a third restaurant–in the Taylor Ranch area–is a possibility in the future.
Amadeo’s Pizza and Subs absolutely blew us away during our inaugural visit, reminding me in some ways of the wonderful pizzas of my transitional period between youth and adultery (a malapropism my comedian friends use; I know it’s adulthood) in Massachusetts. A second and soon to be subsequent visits proved our first impression was spot on. Amadeo’s serves some of the very best pizza in New Mexico!
Amadeo’s isn’t much for esthetics and on the day of our inaugural visit, it certainly wasn’t the unmistakable aroma of great pizza that ensnared us because sewage back-up problems relegated the restaurant to an odoriferous state. During our subsequent visit, we were treated to the intoxicating aroma of garlic and the olfactory-memory triggering bouquet of baking dough.
A green (maybe even Boston Celtic green) and white checkerboard tiled floor and green booths seemed so contrary to the stereotypical green and red of many self-proclaimed New York style pizzerias (which Amadeo’s is not). A noisy gaming arcade with shoot-em-up sounds emanating from tinny speakers competed with music piped in overhead from equally tinny sounding speakers.
Framed posters of works by Van Gogh and Monet didn’t upscale the ambience, but it’s obvious from the plaques and trophies on the wall that Amadeo’s is an altruistic enterprise which supports the city’s youth.
Amadeo’s menu includes pizzas, submarines, strombolis, salads and spaghetti. Several specialty pizzas (veggie, fire-eater, Hawaii and meaty) are also available in sizes that extend to “The Stomper,” a 20-inch monster cut into 16 slices and the “Mega Stomper,” even bigger at 26-inches. The usual assortment of toppings is also available.
The designer pizza of our inaugural visit was a circular masterpiece comprised of Canadian bacon, green chile, garlic and black olives on a crusty canvas slathered by a lively and tangy tomato sauce.
The thin, buttery crust is perfect for folding ala New York style. The ingredients are top-notch, especially the roasted garlic cloves and slightly caramelized red onions which gave the pizza a memorable taste (and aftertaste).
Rarely have we ranted as much about the garlic on any pizza. The green chile isn’t particularly piquant, but it, too, lends a nice, complementary flavor to an outstanding pie. It’s a neon green color and is spread generously on each slice. By the way, if you judge pizza crust by the char around its edges, this one has the right amount to appease any pizza afficionado.
Amadeo’s makes its dough fresh from scratch daily and prepares each pizza by hand, a painstaking process that results in a better product. They use only 100% mozzarella cheese and make their sauce from scratch in the store. Quality shows!
The true test of an outstanding pizza is whether or not it retains its great tastes after sitting in the refrigerator for a few hours. Amadeo’s pizza does! It’s as great cold as it is just out of the oven.
Amadeo’s submarines are good enough for you to stray from the pizza on occasion. The tuna sub, in particular, packs fresh tuna, red onions, lettuce, dill pickle chunks and surprise, surprise…a bit of egg salad, too. It is a fresh and moist sub and the egg salad complement is a real treat.
Like the young men of Greeley’s time, we’ll gladly brave the unknown in search of our fortune–in this case being a memorable pizza from an otherwise forgettable pizzeria.
Amadeo’s Pizza And Subs
809 89th Street
LATEST VISIT: 28 July 2007
# OF VISITS: 3
BEST BET: The Stomper with garlic, onions, Canadian bacon, green chile and black olives