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Natalie’s Coal-Fired Pizza Opens in Worthington

Walker Evans Walker Evans Natalie’s Coal-Fired Pizza Opens in Worthington
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Artisan pizza is all the rage in Columbus right now. Most of the newer pizzerias are turning to wood-fired ovens to roast their pies, but father-daughter duo Charlie Jackon and Natalie Jackson wanted something a little more unique.

“Natalie became obsessed and fascinated with the idea of using coal after sampling some of the best pizza she’d ever tasted in New York City,” said Charlie. “She found out that they all used coal for fuel.”

As far as they’re aware, Natalie’s is the only restaurant in the entire state of Ohio that is using coal to cook pizza in this fashion. But don’t let that worry you if the thought of burning coal sounds like a bad idea to mix with food.

“We will have to educate those that are not familiar with the use of anthracite coal,” said Charlie. “It is very clean and efficient, and does not produce pollution.”

Executive Chef David Koenig has developed the menu at Natalie’s, which revolves around the Neapolitan-style pizza, described as having a slightly charred crust topped with fresh San Marzano tomatoes, sliced mozzarella and a variety of toppings including goat cheese and sopraffini ricotta.

Natalie’s is located at 5601 North High Street in Worthington, and will also feature a busy schedule of live music.

“Our goal is to also be a premiere live music venue which has great respect for the musicians and audience,” said Charlie. “We will present national, regional, and local Americana acts including singer-songwriters, jazz, bluegrass, celtic, and blues.”

Natalie’s Coal Fired Pizza is open Tuesday through Saturday and features an “All Local” happy hour from 4pm to 6pm where local beers and spirits are on special.

More information can be found online at www.nataliescoalfiredpizza.com.

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  • Roland

    Their website shows they are open on Sunday as well. Unfortunately, they don’t have a menu posted.

  • http://www.movieshateyoutoo.com Nicholas Herum

    Sounds really good, I might need to make my way out to Worthington.

  • Cbusbill

    You had me at goat cheese…will definitely have to check this place out, as its a few short miles from my place. Thanks for the write up!

  • CbusMittFan

    I bet this will be a real hit, especially since it’s the only one around. Chicago has a place called “coalfire” pizza which is very popular. I think older people really like coal fired pizza.

  • Analogue Kid

    “We will have to educate those that are not familiar with the use of anthracite coal,” said Charlie. “It is very clean and efficient, and does not produce pollution.”

    Yeah I call bullshit on this. I’m quite familiar with coal burning and I’m 100% sure it does in fact product a ton of pollution of various sorts (NOx, PM, SO2). Not to mention it’s full of Mercury which will probably contaminate your food. Mmmm, tasty!

  • LBDD

    Went there last night. The pizza was excellent and they had a great selection of beers on tap. They were still working out some operational kinks though. They had close to an hour backup for the pizzas, even after you were seated and ordered. I’m sure they’ll get those worked out eventually. In the meantime, the pizza was worth the wait.

  • meltsintowonder

    Analogue Kid, wouldn’t Columbus Public Health not allow them to use it if it’s dangerous? I’ve never had coal-fired pizza so I’m intrigued.

  • Analogue Kid

    I doubt it’s dangerous enough to have people keeling over after dinner, but I would be concerned about the long term effects. Also I wouldn’t want to live next door to such a place and deal with the smoke.

  • townmeetscow

    I just hope the coal is sustainably mined from a local source!

  • Twixlen

    @analogue kid – Not sure what you’re thinking, regarding anthracite coal? It likely has fewer impurities than standard charcoal (of which a good portion is made with anthracite coal dust + tons of additives & binders) – and is far, far less polluting than a wood fire. It burns nearly smokelessly, because it’s an incredibly high heat burner. And it’ll be in a huge cooker, much like all the local wood-fired ovens.

  • http://theblogofmystery.blogspot.com/ chaptal

    Two of the most hyped pizza places, Grimaldi’s and Lombardi’s, in NYC use coal ovens to cook their pizza. Been to both, and like them both. I’m interested in trying this place, sometime next week.

  • meltsintowonder

    I try to be careful with critiquing a place the first week it’s open or first month for a restaurant and I’m also not a restaurant reviewer. More of a praiser, taking most of my critical responses offline.

    We walked in and the space had a nice vibe and look. Felt like a “kitchen club.” Full bar with about 10 taps when you enter, enclosed kitchen but the pizza oven and server count is next to the bar, and the main dining space situated in front of the small stage so the arrangement is set up perfectly for when they have live music but works without it. Small patio outside.

    We looked at the menu to find beer and liquor available because they don’t have a wine license yet. Focus on American craft beer with a balanced list of styles and reasonable prices and the six or so classic cocktails are only $8. The Cosmo was made with fresh lime juice and Cointreau. The Manhattan was delivered in good balance (requested it stirred since most bartenders shake).

    The pizza menu has many options and we realized after browsing that they were all appealing. We went with the Pollo Genovese (pesto, chicken, artichoke, tomato, fresh mozz) and Venetian Jail (sausage, mushroom, goat cheese, ricotta, arugula, balsamic reduction). The pizzas arrived in about 15-20 minutes. We arrived later in the evening when it was slower. We talked to a manager/server who told us that they couldn’t keep up with pizzas on the busier first nights because of the capacity of the oven, so they’d seat people when they thought that they’d keep up (in other words, people will complain when they’re seated, not while waiting for their table…makes sense). Something they’ll figure out quickly and an aggravation with online reviews already.

    The Pollo had a super crispy edge with a little char on the edges and simply tasted fresh and delicious. The Jail had some weight behind the toppings and flavor. It also prevented the crust from getting as crispy but it was still a solid pie. I think the cooks will adjust to the different pizzas and combinations and fine tune the baking but I thought both pizzas were good regardless. For two people, I’d recommend getting one pizza and an app unless you’re really hungry. The quality of the food for the price made us fans and the staff was very friendly.

    I’d think that it could only get better before worse although they’re off to a solid start. Also, I originally thought this place would have more focus on jazz, but the music lineup crosses genres and they have some regional and national acts coming in as far as folk, Americana, blues, bluegrass and more. With their later hours and location near our house, we look forward to returning multiple times in the future if things continue in the right direction for Natalie’s.

  • pez

    Haven’t been there yet, but early kudos for having drink prices on the menu. Any idea how big the pizzas are?

  • meltsintowonder

    I’d say they’re around 12″. Enough for two to split, especially if you get an app. I have a picture of the Genovese but don’t know how to post it here. Yes, reasonable prices. A really decent draft selection with prices about a dollar less than other places in the area. They have a “local” happy hour but not sure what’s involved.

  • Kyle Schriner

    I have some of the same feelings at melts. Natalie’s did not impress. The service and attentiveness however were quite impressive. We started the meal with a draft beer a house salad and the cheese plate. The salad was poorly under dressed and had what seemed to be out of the bagged carrots the small saving grace were the golden raisins. The Cheese plate fell flat, served on a tiny plate and with only two little half dollar sized pieces of bread, it disappointed. One thing a restaurant should never skimp on is the bread. Especially if its “coal fired”. Ordered the Funky Funghi and and Cassanova. The crust was nice but the toppings were again quite skimpy. Especially on the Cassanova which pushed itself as an offering topped with three meats. Two things baffled me about their coal fired oven operation. When I have seen other coal fired ovens they operate at a very high temperature and pizzas are cooked in less than 3 minutes. I kept watching the oven all night and was amazed the length of time the pizzas stayed in the oven. Lastly the pizzas are placed on the metal tins and cut haphazardly with a rolling pizzas cutter. We struggled with one of our pizzas to separate the slices. Please Natalie’s invest in long double handled rocker knife and a cutting board to make sure the pizzas are cut all the way through. The pizzas are 12 inches. The bill for 1 beer, 2 iced teas, cheese plate, small house salad, and two pizzas was $50 before tip. Thursday night, 8 pm, No live music. 5/10

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