Pizzeria Uno is just about the perfect restaurant to have in the new Towson Commons; the staff is very conscious of its obligation to feed you and get you out of there and into one of the eight movie theaters. "Your order should be ready at 7:35," our perky waitress told us. (She was pretty closeit was 7:41 by my watch) This is part of the same chain as the restaurant in Harborplace, but I found myself feeling friendlier toward this Pizzaria Uno. I don't remember much about the one at the harbor except that I liked the pizza and hated the crowds. Dinner here was serene in comparison. I like the looks of this place, too, from the black and white tile floors to the enormous ferns growing in the windows to the handsome light fixtures. It has style, and it has good pizza.
The rest of our meal (besides the pizza) was a little dicey. No complaints about the cream of broccoli soup ($2.25) -- the kitchen produces a creamy, not too thick soup without overcooking the broccoli. But the house salad ($2.25) with a good red wine dressing was hurt by the addition of a large pile of grated yellow and white cheeses. (It did mention cheese on the menu, but I was thinking more along the lines of a little Parmesan.) Nachos ($4.95), oddly enough, had lots of chili but not enough Cheddar by a long shot. And none of the promised salsa.
Now that I think of it, maybe Pizzaria Uno had run out of salsa. The fajitas ($9.95) seemed a little flat with no salsa and no guacamole, although the chicken, peppers and onions had been properly grilled, and we did get tomato, lettuce, cheese and sour cream.
Stuffed shells ($7.95) were packed with a flavorful mixture of spinach and ricotta, but most of the pasta was hidden under a blanket of red sauce.
Back to the pizza. It comes in individual (for one) or large (which serves two or three). If you're married to the concept of thin-crusted pizza, you may not like these. But I love the flaky thick crust, with its almost buttery flavor. It stood up well to the chunky tomato sauce, cheese and sausage of the "Chicago's Famous" ($4.95) we ordered. Naturally there are all sorts of variations, from "Veggie" to "Steak and Cheese." (You can also ++ get thin-crusted pizzas here if you have to have them.)
Kids will enjoy Pizzaria Uno, and you'll enjoy the prices of the kids' meals. Of course, if they're like most kids they'll want to order an adult pizza instead. If you do manage to save money on their main courses, you'll spend it all on Pizzaria Uno's elaborate ice cream desserts, like the "Brownie Bowl" ($3.25) featuring a brownie, ice cream, hot fudge, whipped cream -- the works. But even then the check won't give you a heart attack.
Where: Towson Commons, 1 W. Pennsylvania Ave.
Hours: Open Sundays to Thursdays 11 a.m. to 12 midnight, Fridays and Saturdays 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Credit cards: Major credit cards.
Features: Deep-dish pizza.
Non-smoking section? Yes.
Call: (410) 825-8667.