The west side of Olney Avenue seems to have been void of eating options for quite some time. They opened the first neighborhood grocery store in years, possibly decades, just this past summer. There are two Chinese restaurants, New China America and Asia America (Eastern North Pacific Ocean America closed down), which are perfectly suitable if you are either extremely intoxicated or have a staunch craving for deep-fried, low-grade meaty goodness, but not for much else. A Dunkin Donuts and the candy bar rack at Rite Aid aside, there have never been a whole lot of eating options outside the cafeterias at LaSalle.
The one thing that was perhaps most sorely missing was a good local pizza restaurant. As it turns out, I was not the only one who yearned for this void, perhaps the worst of all voids, to be filled.
The Point began construction some time in either September or October, and I remember looking upon the empty space visible through the window with dreams of bumbling in at 3 o'clock in the morning to an array of outrageous-looking and even more outrageously delicious pizza concoctions (without neglect to the old favorites, of course), completely unsure as how I was going to decide between them all. I hoped for a hefty crowd of kids just like me, wanting nothing more in the world than a slice of pizza from this exact place at this exact time, forming a long but rewarding line to wait in as the smell penetrated the thick coating of cigarette smoke that would undoubtedly restrict my sense of smell from all other things. If you go to Temple or UPenn this kind of musing might seem silly because you have a place just like this on your campus, and for that, you are a bastard, because The Point failed to deliver every single aspect of this fantasy.
I think by now it has become suspicious to people because no one ever seems to have set foot inside, and so it isn't unreasonable to think that it failed to live up to the hype, if there ever was any at all. I gave it a chance just the other week when I tried to order a Panini, which sounded awesome on the menu: Chicken, apple slices, honey mustard, swiss cheese, and “rustic bread.” However, it came to me with nothing but chicken and, for some strange reason, provolone cheese. I felt pretty burned by this, but to be fair it wasn't half bad. I thought I had maybe made a mistake, sort of like trying to teach your cat to shake and roll over, reasoning that The Point advertises itself as a pizza place, not a Panini one.
And so that brings us to yesterday, which, as anticipated, was excruciating as I had gone twenty four hours with no sleep yet again. This was exacerbated by how obscenely unproductive I had been. I walked into the cafeteria between naps, took a look at the dinner menu, and exited immediately. The only suitable thing being served was pizza, and if I was going to settle for that, I wanted quality beyond what Blue and Gold Cafeteria had to offer. I turned to The Point. It’s on the same block and the slices are cheap. I remembered this from the last time I was in there. It seemed like a reasonable thing to do.
As I walked in this time I took note of the interior a bit more. It was, as expected, completely empty. The walls are a weird orange cream-sickle color that would seem much more aesthetically pleasing if it were a shade or two darker. Painted over this in awful white bubble letters, was "Killer Wings!”, "Hot Paninis!", and "Serious Pizza!". As I read this, I got a little embarrassed for The Point. I don't know what serious pizza tastes like, but I don't know if I would really want it if such a thing exists. It might as well have said “responsible pizza!” or “mature pizza!”, and what I mean is that something about it totally destroys my incentive to shovel 6 or 7+ slices in my mouth at time.
I noticed that the special for the day was bruschetta pizza. Presumably this meant it was covered in diced tomatoes and basil or some other seasoning, which I was game for. I inquired as to whether or not they had slices of this, and no cigar. I asked about some of the other pizzas advertised on the menu. All they had at the moment was cheese, and fuck if they were going make anything else that would probably end up in the trash before they closed. I settled for two slices of cheese, asking for them to go, so I could soothe my miserable exhaustion with pizza in the privacy of my room. Unfortunately, they brought it out on a plate, and when I brought this to their attention, they angrily replied that there were no to-go boxes. I guess they were agitated, which was understandable. Lots of dicks probably came in when they first opened and expected the things on the menu to actually be available for ordering, and demanded more Styrofoam boxes and paper bags than they had stocked.
So, to get to what is important here, I set the shortcomings of The Point’s integrity to the side and begrudgingly sat down in the corner to eat the pizza. It wasn’t terrible, but not anything I'm going to be particularly drawn to in the future. The crust and dough were good; not too thin, flaky... crunchy. They scored some points there. However, the sauce way overpowered the cheese, something I typically prefer to be the other way around. It was hard to tell if it tasted too strongly of tomato paste or they had gone overboard with the seasoning, but there was definitely a bit too much of something. Perhaps some additional toppings would have neutralized this, but as I mentioned earlier, that didn't seem to be in the cards.
So, while there was a lot to criticize about their integrity, the pizza was not totally terrible. But it wasn't really good either. In fact, on this basis you should probably never go. Furthermore, if you are hungry I don't know what on earth you would be coming to West Olney Avenue and LaSalle University for. Avoid. Go towards Center City.