Devil’s Pizzeria


I wasn’t expecting Devil’s Pizzeria, the new pizza place on Ninth St (742 Ninth St) to fill the large and much-loved shoes of Pizza Palace.  Unfortunately, it also didn’t fill shoes of the generic but edible I Love Manhattan Pizza that Devil’s replaced.  I am always rooting for new local businesses, so I am really hoping that my experience (and my friend’s, in a separate trip) is not representative.  Please, if someone else wants to risk trying it in the coming weeks, after they’ve gotten a chance to get things together, let us know in the comments if it’s gotten better.  As it is though, I am not sure how it will last a month.

First, the single slices looked so inedible that my friend and I ordered a whole pie.  I have never seen pizza that didn’t look good to me.  Then, the sauce tasted like tomato paste with a bit of oregano and the crust was tasteless and seemed frozen.


I’d love to be wrong about this, or to find that it was just an opening-week problem!  Let us know what you think.

Update:  I finally went back to Devil’s, after hearing mixed reviews (from commenters that it was not bad or even delicious, and from a friend that she actually threw up after eating there).  My opinion is somewhere in the middle–I do think the pizza I had (pepperoni this time) was significantly more edible than when I first tried it, but it was still pretty disappointing.  The cheese seemed cheap (you know when you can see the separate shreds of cheese on frozen pizzas?  Yeah, like that) and everything else about my slice was just mediocre.

Published in: on January 8, 2009 at 7:36 pm  Comments (47)  


  1. Wow, that is the most unappetizing pizza I have seen in a long time. Is that feta? Can you see them make the pizza?

  2. It is feta, which we consider the true test for a perfect pizza. I think you can see them making it, but we did not notice.

  3. […] Carpe Durham) On the heels of the closing of Durham’s beloved Pizza Palace, a new pizzeria has entered the […]

  4. I was there with a couple of friends on opening night but only because Dain’s Place was full.

    We ordered a large with italian sausage, and as some kind of opening night special, we got an extra large for $10. Really, it wasn’t bad. Maybe I just have bad taste in pizza because I really didn’t like the pizza at Pizza Palace the one time I tried it.

    It was not extra flavorful, but it avoided what I consider heinous pizza sins: droopy crust and dripping grease. It’s definitely not mind blowing, but I would stop in again for a couple of slices at lunch if the pizza urge struck.

  5. Glad you had a better experience than I did. I couldn’t even finish a slice.

  6. It is now operated by their neighbors who run the International Deli next door, which means it will import their same lack of service and horrible manners. I like the food at Int’l Deli, but I was tired of enduring the angry attitude of the proprietors every time I wanted to give them my money. I also disapprove of the way that the I Love Manhattan was unceremoniously dispatched from their location by the Int’l Deli folks. There is absolutely no class with these guys.

  7. I don’t really care that much about ‘class’ if the food is good. Unfortunately, ID’s food isn’t, and I don’t expect much from the new pizza place.

    As I’ve said before, no pizza in town is anywhere close to the wonderful creations at Pop’s Backdoor.

  8. Attitude matters, and the experience affects the flavor — for me, at least. I agree that the pizza there is pretty bad. AND the service leaves a lot to be desired. I think the International Foods folks got rid of the Manhattan Pizza place strictly because they saw it as a chance to make more money than they were getting in rent. They don’t care about the quality of the food or the experience; it’s strictly about money.

    Even knowing that about Int’l Foods, I still tried to give the pizza place a shot. I think this quote of yours summed up my thoughts EXACTLY: “I am always rooting for new local businesses, so I am really hoping that my experience […] is not representative.”

    Unfortunately, it sounds like there’s already a consensus that it’s bad. I think a change in the attitude would help. Every time I’ve been to either place, they seem to think of their work as a CHORE as opposed to a job to take pride in — and that translates into the care by which they prepare their food, methinks.

    I’m sticking with Pop’s Backdoor at brightleaf for my carry out.

  9. what’s a shame is I really like ID…still eat there 😦

  10. Hmm…I went there for lunch last week and got a Stromboli. It was pretty decent and fresh; I watched them make it behind the counter. I also thought the guy who seemed to be running the place was very nice. He came over to our table of 4 and asked us if there was anything they could improve on. From a flavor standpoint, it was pretty good, not the best ‘boli I’ve ever had, but certainly not the worst.

    I hate re-heated pizza so I stay away from the pizza that’s on the counter, no matter where it is. If it’s not fresh, I don’t eat it.

  11. Maybe you need to worship Satan to enjoy the pizza.

  12. I’m not sure what all of this negativaty it for. This place is DELICIOUS. I have eaten there several times since they have opened, ive finally found someone in this area who sells GOOD pizza by the slice. You can’t expect a slice to taste as good as a made to order pizza, but if you don’t have the time or appetite for a small pie this is the best thing around. The pizzas are hand made and the sauce has a unique and robust flavor. Havent tried the pasta dishes yet (cant seem to resist the pizza when i come) but when they catered our lunch for us my co-workers loved them.

    Service has been good on all visits, I have eaten at ID to and have always had a good experience, this place seems even better. Glad to see another option on Ninth St. that stays open till 3am!!

  13. my slice fix goes to Cinnelli’s by the Ben & Jerry’s. They have the grandmother’s pies and regular. tasty and fast

  14. Just so you know, I spoke to the owner of Devil’s recently and he wouldn’t tell you this but I will- the last owner- the owner of Manhattan- used to leave pizza out ALL DAY LONG. He also used to put any left over pizza in the fridge at the end of the day and heat it back up the next day. That’s a major dhhs mistake and it’s NOT healthy. The new owner throws out any pizzas or slices that have stayed out an hour or more. He would rather make cheese pizza, put the toppings you ask for on the pizza and then heat it up so it’s fresh pizza you want. But you dukies are so used to the bacteria filled crap that Manhattan Pizza made. I understand no one cares at 2am when you’re drunk but I thought you guys were smarter than that.

  15. You guys are clueless! I’ve been to Devil’s Pizzeria 3 times now and I’ve been thrilled each time. The first time I went I had the Chicken Parmigiana pasta plate and I can tell you it was a terrific value! About $7-$8 bucks for a bowl full of good pasta and a large amount of Chicken Parmigiana on top. That alone let me know that Devil’s Pizzeria was the place! This place is going to do very well once people learn the in’s and out’s of this place. I just think it’s a shame that someone would put up a website like this to bring down a just opening restaurant. I spoke with the owner tonight and I can tell you for certain there is NOTHING he wouldn’t do to make sure his customers are happy and getting a good value. Because of this I know this place will succeed despite the bad press here. This is an excellent restaurant and I was very happy to see it on 9th street. I have eaten there 3 times now and I eat at International Delights and I can tell you the owners put a lot of passion and thought into creating good food at a good value. That is how I would describe Devil’s Pizzeria too: good food at a good value! In addition to this an owner who makes sure and works hard to make sure his customers are happy! This is what I call a simple recipe for success!

  16. Jared,

    Thank you for your comments. We appreciate that you are very excited about Devil’s! While we may be “clueless” about restaurants and food, this does not change the fact that we were served food that was inedible. We always hesitate before posting negative reviews, and in this case we specifically noted that the experience may have been due to the establishment’s recent opening. We are happy to hear that the chicken parm is tasty, and will be sure to give it a try.

  17. It may just be the internet cynic in me, but that post by JI reads much more like it is from someone trying to drum up business than by someone who is just a regular customer.

  18. I am not trying to “drum up” business. I do find it insulting though that people tear down a restaurant with such small experience and I was told about this negative review by the owner, who was disappointed in it. I did not say I would, and I was not asked, to write a positive but I wrote that on my own volition because I have been to the restaurant on multiple occasions and know that it is a good college pizza restaurant and will succeed in the long run despite the negativity seen online at this website. That being said I am done with the negativity here. God bless.

  19. JL

    people really are entitled to their opinion, and i thing the guys that run this blog want those differing opinions expressed, its what encourages people to try things. i doubt most readers here will write off a place based on one opinion…we know they’re not gods. they just didnt enjoy it that day they went. I know i still plan on giving the place a try.

    dont let the fact that a person’s opinion differs from yours cause you to write them off permanently, that would be a shame and a loss on both sides.

    just my .02

  20. Negativity? The bloggers got served shitty food, and they wrote about it. If Devil’s doesn’t want this sort of message out there, they should make an effort to serve no one shitty food, ever. Remedial Restaurantship 1A.

  21. My vote for best takeout pizza in Durham still goes to Pop’s Backdoor.

  22. Pop’s — Now there’s a business I don’t mind giving money to. Great (way more than edible) food, no attitude… Makes perfect sense to me.

  23. Another vote for Pop’s. Kitchen Pie, baby.

  24. I noticed this new place driving down ninth street. I didn’t know what they offered so I checked out the internet to see if they had a website with their menu on it, they don’t have a website but I found this site discussing the pizzeria. I have visited manhattan pizza only one time and I knew right away I will never order anything from there again! The restaurant was dirty, smelled bad and the food and service stunk even more than the smell of the restaurant. Even after reading all the negetive comments, I decided to check this place out. Why? First of all the pizza pictured above actually looks very tasty, Second- any restaurant that is ran by International Delights will be very good. My family and I have been eating at ID for more than 10 years, everything is great about this business and I encourage everyone to support this extremely successful business (in my opinion). If you disagree you simply don’t know what you are talking about and you don’t know what good food is! After trying Devil’s Pizzeria I concluded that you guys don’t know what you are talking about. The slices looked fresh (unlike manhattan pizza) and they tasted very good. The service was very nice and quick. Because the slice was very delicious I have ordered a whole pie several times and each time everything was wonderful! The crust and sauce made the difference! Finally, If you don’t know what you are talking about, then don’t enter into a discussion about it!

  25. Gary,

    Devil’s Pizzeria doesn’t serve shitty food, instead of just running your mouth just go over there and try the food you will not be disappointed! The bloggers are idiots and know nothing about food or restaurants in general, it says that on the top of the page!

  26. Some of these comments are kind of weird and ad hominem so I’m a little wary of their authenticity, but I should say anyway that I saw a piece of Devil’s pizza the other day (from a slight distance) and it didn’t look too horrible. The pizza that I originally posted about was nauseating though, and that is coming from someone who has never had a pizza she didn’t love (except one time in my college dining hall).

  27. So who to believe: numerous critical reviews from several posters who have established their credibility by reviewing and commenting on numerous restaurants over several months vs. glowing reviews from two posters with NO previous posts to validate their claimed expertise?

    Sorry Kevin and JL, but ZERO track record = ZERO credibility. Until you establish a track record demonstrating your opinions are credible, YOU are the idiots who know nothing about food and restaurants.

  28. Quick note about the departure of Manhattan pizza: back in the day there was a dispute between the owner of Manhattan Pizza and the International Deli folks, about what I know not. The MP guys took the ID guys to court where it was determined that ID was sub-letting the space to the MP guys illegally. Result? MP folks were evicted. Don’t know if they ever resolved the original dispute or not, but I suspect it didn’t matter at that point.

    That said, MP’s pizza was passable, at best. Haven’t had Devil’s yet, and probably won’t when Chubby’s Tacos is within walking distance.

  29. Jamie, your explanation of the departure of Manhattan pizza is not correct. I know this because I have been living in Durham all my life and specifically around the Ninth Street area.
    Manhattan pizza was not the only pizza place in this specific location, there was another pizzeria by the name “I Love NY Pizza” there before. I Love NY Pizza was the business that was evicted by the courts not Manhattan Pizza. Before you state information that is not true do your homework! It was in the Herald – Sun in April 2003….
    “Jurors in Durham County Superior Court decided that Eric Scheiner and his New York Pizza business should pay $24,473.46 to their landlord, Gehad Lobbad, for occupying Lobbad’s property at 742 Ninth St. without a valid sublease…”

    Eric Scheiner was in business there the years before the guy with the beard opened up Manhattan Pizza!

  30. Pam, it seems like you guys have too much time on your hands. Most people have better things to do than to go around and create blogs about bullshit like this. If it was something useful or productive I can understand. Like I said before on the top of this page it states that the people who started this page know nothing about food, that’s why I think it is useless information from people that are idiots. They are IDIOTS with no expertise on the subject at hand. Most people have better things to do than to prove there “credibility” by posting bullshit comments of there opinions on blogs like this. All I can say is it is simple: Try the food at any restaurant you want, if you don’t like the food simply don’t go back! Don’t act like an expert without any credibility about this subject and post negative bullshit telling people your opinion because it doesn’t matter. People will go and try the food anyway. What you may like, I might not like, it isn’t the end of the world.

    Get a Life

  31. I find these reviews very helpful. I wouldn’t have tried Kabob and Curry and a couple of other places without this site. I love seeing the pictures and learning about places I might have just driven by otherwise.

    As for this scorching pizza debate, I wouldn’t have noticed it had changed owners probably. Now I know and might actually check it out.

    Keep it up!

  32. How could I ever have gotten Manhattan Pizza and I Love NY Pizza confused? I hope the Internet gods will forgive.

    Shoot me, sue me, but don’t make me eat their pizza.

  33. Hehe. This is fun. These bloggers don’t claim to know shit about food, what they offer is constructive criticism. They don’t hide that. It’s an everyman’s approach. This idiot right here doesn’t usually get food critics’ reviews, but I do understand the importance of grease and how bad food can be great food.

    When opening a business, the bad reviews are actually way more important than the good reviews. It tells you exactly what you need to improve on. So in a way, reviews like this provide a service and great guidance to a new business.

    Remember the first reviews on Chubby’s? Chubby’s listened and responded and now it’s everyone’s favorite stop in. If people kept their responses to themselves, there’d be no room for improvement.

    Perhaps Devil’s read this blog and improved upon some things and that’s why a lot of people are having a better experience. That’s a good thing.

    For the record, I have not eaten at Devil’s yet (I will), but I absolutely love Int’l Delights.

    Keep up the positive and negative reviews!
    Thanks guys!

  34. Meh. Chubby’s is ok. Nowhere near as good as La Vaquita.

  35. chubby’s didnt listen to the talk about breakfast! to this day, they vehemently insist that they have no market for breakfast, and that it is a late night spot. pfft

    its still not bad…i wouldnt compare it to a real taqueria, but it sure as hell aint a taco bell

  36. “It seems like you guys have too much time on your hands.”

    Says a guy that doesn’t like to read other people’s opinions about food, yet posts 4 long opinionated comments to a blog about other people’s opinions about food.

    If you don’t like the blog, you know there’s this field at the top of your browser which you can type into that lets you go anywhere you want on the internet, right?

  37. “Meh. Chubby’s is ok. Nowhere near as good as La Vaquita.”

    Oh man, I can definitely get behind some La Vaquita! We just moved into the neighborhood over there and had heard rumors of the “Cow Taqueria/Shop” and tried it for the first time. I got one of the tortas and the beef tongue taco (unlike the ol’ lady, I’m very far from a vegetarian) and they were amazing. They were still plenty hot by the time we got them home too. She got the veggie fajita plate which I think I enjoyed a little more than her. Just a huge mass of veggies, the grilled onions and peppers being the best part, smothered in cheese. There was also some corn, carrots and limas in there that she was pretty sure came from one of those frozen bags, but hell, it was smothered in cheese so it still tasted fine to me!

    Working on 9th St. everyday though with minimal time to grab lunch, I’m very happy with my options at International Delights, Bahn’s, Chubby’s and Luther’s down the street. If only we had a good, quick fried seafood joint on the street!

  38. The tongue (lengua) at La Vaquita is just about the best tongue I’ve had anywhere, and I’ve been eating the stuff since I was a little kid. It’s just absolutely fabulous.

  39. Long live La Vaquita!! R.I.P. Taqueria Lopez. Boo Chubby’s.

  40. Finally tried Devil’s. Had a slice of tomato-basil pizza and a slice of white. Both DELICIOUS, and fresh at 11:30 pm or so. My girlfriend had the veggie stromboli, which she thought was good and I thought was delicious. I don’t know if this place had problems in its first week, but it doesn’t now, as far as I can tell. Will definitely go back.

  41. walked by yesterday at 1:30 and the pies (several) in the windows looked stone cold and unappetizing.

    I don’t understand why they don’t just have cheese pizzas ready for you to customize your slice with rather then making all these gnarly looking ones that just sit out??

    They need to take a visit to Joe’s in NYC on Bleeker and see how it can be done. Bc I don’t think it should be this hard. Everywhere else was hopping on 9th, while this place had 1 person in it.

    I would love a good slice place on 9th so that I don’t have to walk all the way to Cinelli’s – which is great fyi.

    Come on Devils you can do it!!

  42. There is absolutely nothing wrong with Devil’s Pizzeria. I eat there twice or more per week. I was sad to see the other place go, but Devil’s is A-OK with me.

  43. When I took a bite of this Pizza, my mouth exploded with joy. With what taste buds were still sober after the flavor-keger in my mouth, I tried a bite of my freinds spaghetti. My mouth went on a magical journey through the land of delicousness and I wish i didn’t have to come back.

    I would advise all who eat here to bring a change of pants since the food is so orgasmic.

    • OMG I AM GOING RIGHT NOW!!!!!!@!

  44. As the East Coast Rep reported, the food here is orgasmic. The Philly Cheese Steak is freakin’ good and a deal for dinner too. Your taste buds will literally explode with joy! The wings are also very good and you can get 10 hot wings for $5 on Thursdays. Also, a respectably large Philly with a large serving of hot and fresh fries is $8.

  45. The pizza is especially good and the entire menu is very reasonable. With the specials, it’s cheaper to get a great pizza here than it is to buy a frozen pizza at the grocery.

  46. I’ve tried thei pizza a couple of times. Both times I couldn’t finish it. Terrible crust, no taste. The pizza stays on the counter in the sun for hours. Not a good thing. Service is good. Their other pasta – lasagna is very good as are their wings. I recommend their wings and lasagna without reservations. Stay away from the pizza, though!

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