This post has been updated.
Sometimes I do random internet searches for places to eat around Louisville. Back in the fall, I stumbled across Bonnie & Clyde’s Pizza Parlor in PRP on a Top 10 list — I’d never heard of it, yet it has been around nearly five decades.
Well, I made the trek out wide, wide Dixie Highway recently and found the place, which apparently is renowned for its crispy crust. Destination reached, I noted that for a place that’s been open for nearly 50 years, it sure looks like a place that’s been open for 60.
Heck, if there were no cars out front, one might even mistake it for an abandoned restaurant — that is, until the alluring smell of pizza baking hit you as soon as you opened your car door.
Inside, it sort of feels like a bingo parlor from the 1970s, with long tables lined up in rows, dark green carpet, and lots of wood and dark red accents.
Painted signs instruct you to “Order Pizza Here” and “Pick Up Pizza Here,” and next to the kitchen and order station is a small bar with rows and rows of bottled beers on display in lieu of a menu.
On one wall is a banner that reads, “Proudly serving for 46 years!”
A sign on the front door warns you that Bonnie & Clyde’s is strictly cash only. Moreover, there is no ATM on site, even though there certainly is space.
As my lunch companion Cynthia pointed out, maybe since it’s worked for nearly half a century, what’s the point in changing now?
Anyway, paper menus on the counter offer up the many pizza toppings and the sizes of the pies, along with a list of hoagie sandwiches, a couple of salads and the offerings of deep dish pizzas (“The Italian Pie”) baked for 45 minutes in cast iron pans. The open kitchen reveals two huge, and very old, ovens, and there seemed to always be someone making more and more dough.
We each ordered a mini-size pizza with different toppings. The mini is basically a one-person pizza, and there is also a single (which apparently is for one to two), double and family size, the latter being a huge 18-inch pie. Toppings include things like spiced pepperoni, house-made Italian sausage, polish sausage, Canadian bacon, white mushrooms (when in season) and even Alaska salmon.
Interestingly, extra toppings aren’t wildly expensive. Some pizza places will charge you $2 or more for an added topping on a large pie, and at least $1 per on smaller pizzas, but at Bonnie & Clyde’s, extra toppings start at a reasonable 40 cents for a mini and top out at $1.40 on the family-sized.
Cynthia also ordered a bottled IBC root beer for the meal, while I got a fountain Coke, even full well knowing, by way of a note at the bottom of the menu, that there are no free drink refills at Bonnie & Clyde’s.
One of the quirky and fun aspects of the place is that when you order your food for dine-in (we saw a lot of carry-out orders move out of the kitchen while there), you are given a huge playing card. When your food comes up, your card number and suit — in our case, the seven of clubs — is called out over an intercom.
As we waited, and be prepared to wait a little while as they build your pie, a group of five walked in and began to order. Notified that it was a cash-only establishment, a perturbed man who looked to be in his 60s insisted that his party “go someplace else.” One wonders how often that happens.
Anyway, our card number was called, and I picked up our food at the appropriate window. I also asked how much refills were, figuring maybe 50 cents would be the answer. The cashier said, “$1.65,” which is full price. OK, then.
(Note: A quick Google search confirmed my knowledge from working in a restaurant years ago that a customer would typically have to get four or five refills in order to break even on the cost of the soda, so the no-refills policy baffled me.)
Cynthia had ordered a basic pepperoni and sausage pizza, while I went for Italian sausage, salami and “hot jalapeno peppers.” The pizzas were maybe 8 inches in diameter and cut into six small pieces, and served with pepperoncini.
The sausage wasn’t sublime, but it was savory and mild, flavorful but not overpowering as some Italian sausage can be. I didn’t get the punch in the mouth that over-the-top doses of fennel can sometimes provide. I didn’t get the sense the jalapenos were necessarily especially hot, yet by the time I got down to the last two pieces, with the help of the pepperoncini, the cumulative effect raised a nice simmer on my palate.
The salami was nicely sharp and salty, but the crust was really the star of the show. It was crispy, but not cracker thin — an outer layer of the crust was nicely browned, and it cracked away like a cracker, but there was just enough body inside to keep the pizza intact and easy to eat.
Top it off with a gooey, four-cheese blend and a nicely tangy sauce, and you’ve got a pretty tasty pie.
In fact, we enjoyed it to the point that we considered getting a pie to go, just to have later that evening. We didn’t, but that’s a sign that the stuff grabbed our taste buds. And for two pizzas and drinks — and one regrettable, full-priced refill — we still got out for less than $20.
Bonnie & Clyde’s Pizza Parlor, located at 7611 Dixie Hwy., is open 11 a.m.-midnight seven days a week.
Correction: This post has been updated to correct the neighborhood (thanks to one of our readers).