Riverside Market Pizza, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Not that I try to go and check out all the chic places that open in South Florida, but one place always seem to come out of my friends mouths. The Riverside Market in Fort Lauderdale. I thought I knew where this place was, as I thought I remembered passing it once, but upon trying to navigate my way to find it off of Davie Road, it quickly became evident that I had no clue where The Riverside Market was.
This place is like an oasis, situated in between some old Florida style cottages, and a tennis court. For a moment, while driving around looking for parking (which is almost impossible to get), I felt like I was somewhere else. This didn't feel like Fort Lauderdale at all. After about 15 minutes of driving around these narrow tree lined streets, we finally found a spot. It took us about 3-5 minutes of walking through nats, mosquitos and some other unidentifiable insects, but we ultimately arrived at this completely inconspicuous establishment. I didn't even know they had pizza, let alone food at this point.
With our luck, we wandered into The Riverside Market during a home brewing competition. As you can imagine, the place was packed. Wall to wall people both inside and out front. My first impression was one of awe, that everyone seemed to get along and seem happy, even though the conditions inside were less than inviting. I understand that although Riverside was packed on this evening, it rarely has a slow night. So if you go, make sure you wear deodorant.
It took a while, and I seriously mean a while to walk towards the back and ask a server how things work here? I noticed there was food, and even saw a pizza pass by me, but since there are no signs or greeters, I felt very unknowledgeable on how it works. A nice blonde waitress explained we just grab our soda/beer and bring the bottles to the front when done, and pay. Yes, they actually trust their customers to just pay for their drinks. What a novel concept.
We grabbed a bottle of some incredible tasting Cherry Cola, which I previously tried at Tucci's Pizza in Boca Raton, and ordered a pizza. Although it was hard, we found a place at a small table with two younger girls sitting there. Most of the seating here is communal, so if you don't like to socialize you are at the wrong locale.
Our server eventually muscled her way through the crowd and found us, which I think was miraculous since we had no receipt and didn't tell her where we were sitting. The pizza looked pretty good, but slightly undercooked. As I lifted the first slice, the gooey cheese looked beautiful, but as I suspected, the bottom wasn't cooked through so it was a bit chewy. The cheese tasted great, and the sauce, which wasn't applied heavily tasted decent enough. The crust was very thin and didn't really taste fantastic or awful.
The Riverside Market is definitely a place I would return to. Hopefully next time I go, it will be on one of their slow nights, where only 95% of the place is packed. If you are a craft beer lover, who likes a no frills place to enjoy a brew with fellow craft lovers, this is a great spot for you.
The Riverside Market in Fort Lauderdale gets 5 out of 8 slices.