"We deliver Quality, Service & Price" reads the slogan on the flier. "Homemade Fresh Baked Daily" and "Best of the Best in the Neighborhood" are found between menu items on the same sheet.

It's an advertisement, it's a menu, and according to it, Sicilia Pizza makes the very manna from heaven spoken of in the Big Book.

Stuff like that brings out the natural skeptic in me, so I give them a call. I order a pesto-based California, a Southwest BBQ and a Super Deluxe. I also get an order of lasagne and some cheesecake, which the thickly accented fellow on the other end affirms when I ask him, is indeed homemade.

I'll see for myself, I grunt to the dog who sits patiently by me as I order.

If this stuff is homemade, this is what the guys at all the food factories are striving for in their pre-fabbed creations. The food at Sicilia Pizza is about the most packaged-tasting "homemade" food I've ever had. It's so close I have to wonder how they do it.

Take the crust on the pies. All the pies looked the same. Extremely uniform. It's like the gluten was never developed. It's not chewy, it's not toothy at all.

Then the toppings. Chintzy. That's all. Little bits of this and that. Especially meats.

The pesto on the California was salty and very garlicky. In fact, a helpful order-taker may recommend the Super Deluxe to you if you want something spicy, but actually the California is moreso.

I can't tell you why I'm so cranky. It's like there's this magnet inside of me that is inexplicably drawn to every boastful, "best" place in town that really isn't. If Sicilia Pizza were boasting and it was really fantastic, I'd be saying so.

I wanted to like the BBQ pizza. I actually did like the sauce. But where was the chicken? It had a sort of essence of chicken drizzled over it, but. . . . Same with the Super Deluxe, which was neither super nor deluxe, but it was very salty.

Sicilia pizza serves several "gourmet" varieties such as a Greek, a Hawaiian and a Meat Lovers. They're all the usual standards, though, judging from my experience, they definitely put their own twist on things.

Sicilia Pizza serves cheesecake. And again, I must say, if this is homemade, it's the most uniform in taste, appearance and consistency I have ever encountered in a homemade cheesecake. It wasn't bad; in fact it was a relief after those salty pizzas.

So I wasn't in love with this pizza place. That's OK; I can count on my favorites around town when I want a good pie. If Sicilia pizza is your favorite, pardon me, go on and continue to love it knowing I'm a cranky eater. But if you value quality, and you've never tried this, proceed with caution, and perhaps you'll do well to stick to your reliable pie-makers, as well.

Prices for pies, calzones and stromboli vary with size. Sub sandwiches $4.99, dessert $1.99, salad $2.50 and $4.99, spaghetti and lasagne $4.99 and $7.99.


Sicilia Pizza

** 1/2 (out of five)

Hours: Monday-Thursday 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11 a.m.-midnight, Sunday 1-10 p.m.

Location: 221 E. 300 South

Phone: 961-7077

Payment: major credit cards, checks with guarantee card only

Reservations: none needed

Other services: takeout, delivery


E-MAIL: stephanie@desnews.com