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I’ve been wanting to get to The Works Pizza (5608 Mission Center Road, 619-296-1400), but it was like being on a wild goose chase. There has got to be a smarter way to give mall stores addresses. The Works is this tiny little pizza place in the Friars Mission Center mall and you can’t even see it from Mission Center Road, not even close. The only helpful bit of advice I can give is that it’s cater-corner to the Ralph’s on the south-west side. Good luck.

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But, if you make it to The Works, you’re in for a little treat because the pizza is fine! I walked in to find a glass display case filled with pizza by the slice ($3-$3.50): cheese, pepperoni, ham and pineapple, all the good stuff. Beyond that, there wasn’t much to the restaurant. Tables lined one wall, and the dining room hooked around back for extra seating, but the rest of the operation was pretty spare.

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My slice of cheese pizza, by which the whole of a pizza spot can be judged, revealed a chewy crust without the extreme crispiness of some thin-crust pies. The sauce was on the sweet side and the use of cheese more restrained than some, but the slice was good and balanced. I tried another slice with “the works” (‘roni, sausage, peppers, onions, olives, tomatoes, and mushrooms) and found it most satisfying. In terms of outright pizza quality, The Works can hang with just about any other spot in town.

Burgers and salads rounded out the menu, but I’ll be frank and say that nothing looked appetizing, certainly not to the degree of “I would come all the way to a cramped mall just for these hamburgers.” The pizza, yes, but not the burgers. Much better was the option to get a cold beer with my slices! Nothing super fancy, but Ballast Point and various Karls are more than adequate to washing down a hot slice of ‘za.

If you want my advice, The Works is in a perfect spot for fueling up before a trip to one of the three movie theaters down in the valley. It might even be worth a separate trip for anyone who loves Luigi’s, but sometimes wishes the crust was just a little bit softer.

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