Connie’s Pizza: Meatball Parm Hero – The Bite

THE BITE: Connie’s Pizza (3845 Nostrand Avenue) is one of the survivors of Sheepshead Bay. With Pathmark closed and a Subway shop located almost next door, it has to be.

Enticed by a large sign in the window offering $5 heros, I ventured in for lunch and ordered.

After a few minutes I was given my hero and the bill – $7 plus tax. Wait a minute, the sign says $5. I inquire and am told that the sign refers only to the “special heros” and I ordered the “standard.” I explain that I had no idea there was a “special hero” or that it required any “special” action on my part to get the advertised price. I asked why I wasn’t informed about the “standard” when I ordered and was told once again that if I wanted the “special price,” I had to ask for it specifically. After some more bickering back and forth, the price of my hero was finally reduced.

On my second visit months later, the “special” sign still hung in the window. I once again ordered a hero that was advertised. This time I purposely didn’t mention that I wanted the “special.” Again, there was no mention by the counter man of the special hero, nor of the standard. My order arrived and I was charged a price actually higher than the printed menu. The menu does have a caveat printed on it that “prices are subject to change without notice.” I guess I was the victim of inflation.

Now, that sign has been hanging in Connie’s window for more than a year. Once again, I venture in and order a hero. Once again, there’s no mention of the “special.” My hero arrived and I’m charged $5.75, (which is actually 50 cents less than what’s printed on the menu) for the meatball parmigiana hero. I ask about the sign and am given the line about having to ask for the “special.” I am also told for the first time that the special hero is smaller than the regular. Which makes me wonder aloud, if the hero is available in two sizes, special or not, why wasn’t I asked what size I wanted? After all, when I ordered a soda, I was asked if I wanted “fountain or bottle.”

What’s the deal with this sandwich for heaven’s sake?

I know, I’m only arguing about a couple of bucks – but, damn – why the bait and switch? Connie’s Pizza is beloved by many members of the community, but I wonder why if this is how they do business.

But what about the food, you say? There’s not much to say as The Bite only focuses on one dish and today’s dish was, indeed, nothing special. In the hero, I was given three average size meatballs, a small amount of mozzarella cheese and a smattering of sauce. The bread was an interesting choice as it was nicely golden and had a good chew, but none of the crustiness one usually finds in Italian bread. It held up nicely to the contents of the hero, but it wasn’t much of a fight.

The meatballs themselves were almost tasteless. They were extremely light and seemed to be comprised mostly of breadcrumbs and very shy of meat. Unfortunately, they fell apart when bitten or pressed together in the sandwich. The sauce had a strong flavor of sausage, which didn’t work with the meat. Frankly, I wish I ordered from Subway instead.

I hate picking apart a survivor, but it seems Connie’s is resting on its history and no longer delivering the goods. Reviews, from Facebook to Yelp, all seem to be trending the same way, with comments about how great Connie’s Pizza was in the past, but very few positive reviews from today.

C’mon Connies – we know you can do better. Let us know when you up your game, and we’ll be back in for another Bite.

Connie’s Pizzeria and Italian Restaurant, 3845 Nostrand Avenue (between Avenue Y and Avenue Z), (718) 646-9644.

The Bite is Sheepshead Bites’ weekly column where we explore the foodstuffs of Sheepshead Bay. Each week we check out a different offering from one of the many restaurants, delis, food carts, bakeries, butchers, fish mongers, or grocers in our neighborhood. If it’s edible, we’ll take a bite.

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