Photo | Shane Rice
The Spiffy Fox Pizza and Pub
1455 Monroe St
Mobile, AL 36604
It was a date night of sorts. Semi-unplanned, but at the very least we were going to leave the house in the middle of the week without a baby in tow. It’s a rarity, usually occurring only when a grandmother is in town or Henry plans his own mini-vacation to the Free State of Jones.
Tonight’s excursion was made possible by teenage heartthrob Lucas, who swept in for the save only to find his baby brother resting peacefully, unaware we were ever gone. I’d already agreed to pay my eldest for his help, which means I shelled out cash for him to sit in his own house and play video games for a couple hours. A small price to pay for peace of mind, knowing the youngest was in the good care of the eldest.
The excitement of an evening can often be found in the spontaneity. This was no different. I was ready to take Katie to the Spiffy Fox Pizza and Pub. You probably refer to this as the former La Pizzeria in the Leinkauf area. Not being from here, this building means nothing to her, but for me, it holds many wonderful memories.
I’d already paid my first visit earlier that week with Rob. We stopped in for a couple of salads over lunch. Rob was happy enough with his chicken Caesar ($9) and its dressing he took another home with him for his lovely wife. I thought my Monday’s shrimp remoulade ($6) – chilled Gulf shrimp salad with housemade remoulade over spinach and arugula – was excellent.
If it sounds like we were on our best behavior, think again. Two guys enjoying salads and unsweetened tea for lunch isn’t our normal routine. We tried to do right, but pub fries ($6) caught my eye. This six-dollar basket of battered fries is easily worth seven. Served with the same remoulade I’d just had, ketchup and a spicy cilantro-jalapeño mustard made up for the caloric and carbohydrate deficiency of the salads. The mustard was my favorite, which came across as slightly sweeter than spicy.
With a successful lunch still fresh on my mind, Katie and I called Spiffy Fox on our way out the door. Knowing from a previous article I’d written when they’d not yet received a license to sell booze, we’d better make certain our outing was not about to be free from wine. Our suspicions were correct, so a brief detour to Red or White was in order. There we found Mary, who helped us pick out two excellent red “pizza wines” from the $10 table and a couple of other bottles to deepen the shelf at home.
Once at Spiffy Fox, we ran into architect extraordinaire and hot-sauce maker Nick Holmes and his wife, Ginger. It’s a good sign seeing them in a place like this, so we chatted until a larger table opened. Their two-tops are much too small for pizza, and Katie and I weren’t here for the salad.
Our first item of the evening was a small order of Gaelic knots ($3.50). There’s a Gaelic/Celtic theme here, noticeable in the music in the air and choice of sports on the screen. This also influences the bread: cleverly knotted pizza dough brushed with Kerrygold Irish butter (you should try it), sprinkled with salt and served with marinara sauce.
I was very interested in the fish and chips ($14). A couple of pieces of beer-battered cod were served with pub fries and a side of Zack’s beans and rice. First off, the cod was excellently crispy. I know, it’s just fried cod, but their tartar sauce was incredible. I was told by the chef they use dill onions rather than pickles. A nice touch, in my opinion. This even improved the fries!
The included Zack’s beans and rice didn’t really blow my hair back. It’s supposed to include Conecuh and smoked pork butt, which didn’t really come through. The only hot sauce they had was Cholula, which I happily poured over the mixture of red and white beans. It wasn’t bad, but everything else was so good my hopes were up. Maybe my scoop just didn’t get any meat.
Here is what you’ve been waiting for. This building has been home to some of your favorite pizzas for years. It was time to see what Spiffy Fox was going to do by way of pie. We settled on the Spicy pie ($16), and figured a 12-inch would leave plenty for us to take home to Lucas.
With a spicy sauce, pepperoni, Cajun Conecuh, spicy Italian sausage and red onion, I’d say this is the winner. It may be tough to get me to order anything else if I ever make it back. (I’m coming back.) The dough is of medium thickness, maybe thicker than I normally prefer, but it’s so good I wouldn’t want any less of it.
If you’re worried about the spiciness, fear not. You’d have to be really sensitive to heat for this pizza to bother you. There is a little zing, but this is more about the flavor than the fire.
Still unsure? Their namesake pizza is sausage, pepperoni, black olive, green bell pepper and caramelized onion. The Carnivore has the usual Italian sausage, pepperoni, Canadian bacon and pancetta. I don’t see any of these as bad options. All of their pies (even the veggie) are red-sauced except for the Triple P. This pineapple-pork pie has a white sauce with bacon, pancetta, Canadian bacon and teriyaki-glazed pineapple.
I think we have a home run in the Leinkauf area. We’ve always expected good pizza from here. We are still getting it. I’d recommend a better grade of hot sauce and malt vinegar (just in case). The people are great and work hard for you. I can’t wait for the pub to open! With the extra room, this could be a local hotspot.
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