The Big Cheese

When I was a kid, I went out to eat all the time. My parents owned a liquor store in Cranston, Rhode Island and it was a family business for sure. Everyday after school, my dad would pick me up from school and take me to the store, where my mom was working. I would hang out there all day until it closed. My dad had his office in an apartment above the store so I could either hang out there or the store itself. It actually was an awesome lifestyle because I was with both parents all the time!

So, my dad would often take me and my siblings out to dinner since we didn’t have much capacity to cook. We would rotate through our favorite restaurants in Cranston, one of them being a pizza restaurant called The Big Cheese. The Big Cheese had the best pizza and we went there or got take-out from there at least once a week. I remembered how homey it was– it definitely was a family restaurant and a neighborhood gem.

Well, when I first met my husband, I was on a mission to introduce him to the best pizza spots in Rhode Island. The first place I took him to was The Big Cheese and needless to say he fell in love. We went there a handful of times. . . but then I became vegan and low-gluten. The Big Cheese fell off the radar for a good few years. However, this past Saturday, I told my husband to pick any restaurant to go to for our date night. Now that I am eating gluten and dairy in moderation, The Big Cheese was his top pick. I was so excited to return for some of the best pizza in Rhode Island!

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The interior of The Big Cheese makes you feel like you’re in a lodge or log cabin, making for a very cozy, casual setting. The menu features all kinds of Italian favorites, from pasta dishes to sandwiches to various parmagianas to of course, pizza. From what I can tell, everything is homemade, including their tomato sauce and signature salad dressing.

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To start, I ordered a small Greek salad, which was a simple garden salad topped with feta, olives and their amazing herby oil and vinegar dressing for which they are famous for. The small, by the way, is huge and I only could eat half! The veggies were so fresh and for such a simple salad, my taste buds were delighted. My husband remembered how fresh and delicious their salads were that he got one too (except his was topped with tuna salad!).

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For our pizza, we ordered a classic cheese pizza on whole wheat crust. I love how it is a round pizza, but cut into squares!

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Hands-down, The Big Cheese serves one of the top ten pizzas in Rhode Island. First, the crust is so perfect– it is chewy, but still maintains a nice crispiness. The whole wheat is so tasty too.  It isn’t too thick, but it is substantial enough to hold toppings without flopping. The sauce. . . oh the sauce! It is amazing! Homemade, tangy and sweet– it is awesome. The cheese is sprinkled on in ample amounts and quite honestly, all of the components together make for one killer slice! I had no trouble eating three pieces and honestly could have eaten more!

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My husband was so happy with his food (he had a salad with tuna salad on top, a side of veal parm and shared the pizza with me) that he ordered an extra tuna sub to go to enjoy at home.  Not only was the food incredible, but so was the service.  You definitely get the vibe that it is a family-owned restaurant and the waitstaff really gives you a lot of attention.  Our waitress was great, always quick to refill my husband’s diet Coke before he asked.  All in all, The Big Cheese is where it’s at, and it has been for years!

Do you have a favorite pizza place?  What is it and why do you love it so much?

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