Review: Messenger Pizza in Nampa, ID
Nampa, a rural suburb of Boise, is not normally a place you think about for delicious restaurants. But a couple years ago, two couples with a dream remodeled an old press building in Nampa’s old downtown into an eclectic urban pizza joint. Pizza places are a dime a dozen, but Messenger isn’t messing around. They utilize fresh ingredients; real and unprocessed foods; made from scratch doughs, sauce, pesto, and croutons; and tasty flavor combinations that are hard to beat. Because of this, when I want a perfect pizza, I head for Nampa.
Messenger Pizza has a Fun and Eclectic Vibe
With its old brick walls and hard wood floors, high ceilings, umbrella lights, funky deco art, and mismatched seating, Messenger reminds me a lot of some of my favorite pizza joints in downtown Portland. There’s something about this “old meets stoned” theme that works perfectly and makes a person want to eat great pizza. I don’t know if it’s the hippie or the nonconformist in me, but this kind of thing just screams my name. Great job Messenger. Great job.
Messenger Pizza Menu
Upon first walking into Messenger, you can’t miss the vibrantly colored giant chalk menu board overhead. Filled with delicious pizzas, calzones, and sandwiches, it has a great selection without having so many options that you can’t decide what you want. Messenger offers full pizzas, (in sizes up to 24 inches) as well as pizza by the slice. Come in Monday through Friday and get a slice, salad bar, and soda for just $6.
Messenger also serves up an assortment of savory baked goods and sweet treats.
Messenger Pizza Perhaps the Best Pizza in Boise
When I was first told about Messenger Pizza, I was a little skeptical, but any doubts I had were immediately tossed out the window on my first bite of their delectable pizza. First, their house-made dough is utterly perfect. It is chewy, soft, crunchy, and has a perfect balance of salty and sweet. So many pizza places make their dough too sweet. Messenger’s recipe gets the balance right. Then add to that their options of whole wheat, sourdough, and gluten free, and you have perfection for everyone in your group. The sourdough is particularly nice. It has the extra chew and crunch so typical of sourdoughs, but doesn’t have an overbearing sourness to it. It is fantastic and is my favorite crust they serve. Messengers gluten free dough is very nice as far as gluten free goes. It didn’t seem to have the same grainy texture so typical of gluten free breads. It felt more like a cracker crust to me, and actually had a nice chew and flavor to it.
Next, lets talk about Messenger’s marinara sauce. I hate thick tomato paste based pizza sauces. I also get annoyed with super sweet sauces, and equally as annoyed with unsweet acidic sauces. But not to worry at Messenger. They have the sweet/acidic blend down, and seem to actually make their own sauce from canned tomatoes. I haven’t been in their kitchen to see if this is true, but I found chunks of mashed tomatoes in my sauce, and didn’t find the thick lumpy pastiness that is caused by tomato paste. The sauce had nice hits of oregano throughout, and I’m guessing some other herbs, onions, and garlic. The sauce is delicious, balances well with their crusts, and is mellow enough that it does not distract from your pizza toppings.
In addition to classic marinara, Messenger also offers straight up olive oil, as well as house-made pesto as your sauce options. The pesto is very good, though it does tend to get a bit rich after a couple slices. It is featured on several of their signature pizzas, including the Toga Party. I had a slice of Toga Party recently. Dang was it good. Pesto sauce, absolutely delicious sausage, spinach, artichoke hearts, red onion, feta, garlic, and fresh tomatoes. That is one tasty pizza. I’d be happy to put on a sheet and go to Messenger’s party anytime as long as they keep serving up that pizza.
Finally, let’s talk about Messenger’s fresh toppings. It is my understanding that they try to use fresh local ingredients whenever they can; ingredients that come from local farmer’s markets as well as from their and some friends’ gardens. Thank you! Why can’t restaurants use vegetables that they grow in their own gardens more? It sure makes a huge difference in flavor. But not only are the vegetables high quality, but so are all of their meets. Like I said, their Italian sausage is fantanstic, but so is their ham. Get this; Messenger actually slices up a real ham to put on their pizzas. Who does that? Sure, you get uneven thicknesses in your slices, and non uniform sizes, but holy crap is it ever more tender and flavorful! I actually despite Hawaiian pizza, but Messenger’s is freaking fantastic. The ham is wonderful, but then surprise surprise, Messenger cuts up a real pineapple to add to it. Real pineapple! No canned, processed, sugary crap, but the real fruit as given to us by nature. Awesome.
Rather than using an ever so trendy wood fired pizza oven, Messenger sticks with the old stand by multilevel gas heated pizza oven. I guess some might see this as a flavor weakness, but Messenger cranks the heat up in that oven so high that the pizzas all come out with a perfect subtle smokiness. I’ve yet to see my crust burnt, but it does get some great little char marks on it. Who knows, maybe they have some wood chips tucked in the back of the oven or something, but whatever they’re doing is perfect.
Messenger Pizza has a Fantastic Salad Bar
So when I think salad bar, I usually picture rows of seemingly endless toppings. You don’t really get that at Messenger, but what you do get is very fresh, locally grown (when available) deliciousness. The options they do have are excellent and make a fantastic salad. Carrots, mushrooms, spinach, lettuces, sprouts, peppers, beets, chickpeas, cheese (cheddar, Parmesan, and feta), tomatoes, and more. Dressings include ranch, thousand island, vinaigrette, and green goddess. But the real showpiece in my mind is the house-made crunchy croutons and soft chewy bread sticks. Who could say no to those bread sticks? They are made from the same dough as the pizzas, but fluff up real nice without all those pizza toppings on them. However, they usually have garlic on them, and sometimes will have pesto and cheese as well. Yum!
Best Review for Messenger Pizza
I love Messenger Pizza because they actually cook and prepare things onsite using the best ingredients available. I love Messenger Pizza because they don’t offer 30+ pizzas on their menu. I love Messenger pizza because they offer fun and unique sodas to go along with their awesome pizza. I love Messenger Pizza because their pizzas taste awesome, chew awesome, digest awesome, and don’t make you feel like a slug from a bunch of processed junk. I love Messenger Pizza because it feels fun to eat there, and is not obnoxious and loud. I love Messenger Pizza, well, because they have the best pizza I’ve experienced anywhere else in Boise.
The Bald Gourmet eats at Messenger Pizza and gives it raving reviews.