Phantom Gourmet: Bob & Timmy’s In Providence
PROVIDENCE – In a city like Providence, pizza is serious business. And on Federal Hill, the folks at Bob & Timmy’s have perfected the art of the GRILLED pizza for over two decades.
What makes grilled pizza so good?
“Grilled pizza, when you first bite into it is definitely not what you expect,” said owner Rick Remeika. “It’s not a run-of-the-mill pizza like you normally hear pizza. With ours you have a homemade dough. We don’t cook over a gas grill; we use real charcoal so the flavor of that is cooked into the pizza. Our texture is normally a little bit soft and a little bit crunchy at the same time.”
Remeika and his partner Jose Sanchez started working at Bob & Timmy’s 14 years ago. Then they bought the business back in 2007, and ever since, they’ve worked extra hard to make sure every last item on the menu stays exactly the way the regulars remember it.
“The pizza is really defined by the consistency and the quality that we’ve come to adhere for our standard over the years,” Remeika said. “We buy big 18-pound wheels of cheese and we cut them and we shred them to our own consistency. We’re making dough fresh in house every day. We make our own sauce, so really we pay attention to every single detail, and because we’ve been doing it for so long it’s more like second nature to us – where this is how we do things this is how we’re raised to do things; we don’t know any other way.”
Making this pie is painstaking, but each and every step is necessary.
“We soak it [the dough] in olive oil so it doesn’t stick and burn to the grill. We cook one side of the dough that’s facing the charcoal and then when that’s nice and brown and crispy we flip the whole pizza over and that actually becomes the top side of your pizza.
“While the bottom is cooking we apply all of our fresh cheeses, our homemade sauce, and our ingredients to the top side, and then by the time the bottom is done, both sides are cooked and covered and the pizza’s ready to go.”
The kitchen has been known to get a little hectic, because the grill itself can only hold three pizzas at a time. But Jose stays cool under pressure.
“José being the master that he is, he can do five. But that’s not anything anybody else in the kitchen will attempt,” said Remeika.
And whether he’s cooking the acclaimed Spinach and Mushroom pie or the flavor-packed Chicken Alfredo, he does it with pride.
“José is an amazing chef, but he takes it personally. Jose would rather you tell him that his clothes don’t match or his hair looks funny then speak ill of his food. He wants everybody to love it. He wants it to taste like he loves it, so nothing comes of that kitchen that wouldn’t meet his approval. He is as passionate about his food as you would hope somebody in this business would be.”
So the Margheritas are always magnificent and the pepperoni pizzas are perfect. But if you want a little bit of everything on your pizza, they do that too.
“Our Everything involves a sweet Italian sausage, fresh pepperoni, meatballs, mushrooms, onions, black olives, green peppers and we sauté them all together so that it’s not individual flavors; it’s more of a new flavor created by all the toppings that have been blended together,” explained Remeika. “When you bite into it everything comes into your mouth and melts together at the same time, so you get a little bit of everything in each individual bite of that pizza.”
Besides pizzas, Bob & Timmy’s also specializes in Italian fare. So there’s cheesy chicken parm, crispy calamari and lobster scampi all cooked to order. The so-called “Hill Special” is so special that it’s become a permanent fixture on the menu, featuring grilled chicken, sun dried tomatoes and wild mushrooms over ziti, smothered in a creamy, cheesy sauce.
“It’s a take on an Alfredo sauce, but it’s a smoked Gouda cream sauce so it’s a little heavier of a dish because it’s cheesy and creamy, but it’s some of the best stuff you’ve ever had.”
Certainly the staff here thinks this is some of the best food ever- and the customers seem to agree. That’s because Rick and Jose put their heart into every dish.
“That’s really what separates us from a lot of places. Nothing we make comes out of a can. We prefer to slice our own mushrooms. We make our own sauce from scratch. The dough has to be perfect every day and not bought in and brought in. This is the only way we know, but thankfully for us, it’s the right way.”
Bob & Timmy’s is on Providence’s Federal Hill at 32 Spruce Street, or online at bobandtimmys.com.
Watch Phantom Gourmet on Saturdays and Sundays at 10:30 and 11 a.m. on myTV38.
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