Restaurant Review: Meister’s Bar
The opening of Giordano’s up at Polaris has been big news on the eating scene this summer. Pizza fans were counting the days until its Chicago-styled pies hit town. It’s not the first Chicago pizza chain to set up shop in Columbus. For one, the internet says that there’s still an Uno’s at Tuttle Crossing. But, food is exciting, and memories are short.
The downside of exciting new things is that they inspire long lines of eager eaters; hours of waiting. So, in the interest of reporting on steaming hot important pizza issues, the mission was clear:
Head to Meister’s in Fifth by Northwest.
Meister’s is a bar in Fifth by Northwest that has somehow transcended and escaped all the zone’s strip mall developments. It’s on Chambers, standing alone like a German cottage that towers over the uncrowded road. Inside its doors is a bar centered by two pool tables. Lots of photos bejewel the walls. It’s sort of busy looking, but in a clean and super-tidy way. All the way in the back, a light shines from a little order window. That’s where eaters can score some serious deep dish pizza.
Argumentative types are going to want to debate the Chicago-ness of various pizza-making techniques. That’s fine, but for those who can’t be bothered with stupid debates, Meister’s is gonna scratch the pizza itch in an interesting and delicious way. For the sake of academic disclosures regarding its pizza approach: leering over the counter, it sure looks like they’re using a pie-tin with a lip to build up the sides of the crust, in accordance with Chicago style. And the eating experience indicates that the sequence and type of ingredients conform to Chicago requirements.
With that out of the way, let’s hit it. There are plenty of modestly priced items on the menu (we’ll get there in a second), but deep dish choices are all going to require matching deep pockets. The prices start at $19 for a 16 inch pie. That said, it’s a huge pizza. Two slices is going to be enough to make you wonder if you might have somehow accidentally overeaten.
Guests can custom-build the pizzas with various toppings, but there are plenty of appealing house mixes to choose from. Case in point: Meat Lovers ($24). The crust dam holds in the following: a medium-thick foundation that is completely smothered in a dense floor of melted cheese. Embedded in the cheese is a layer of pepperoni slices. Smothering all of this is at least an inch of meat sauce. That’s right, meat sauce on top of the pizza, it’s spiked and sweet and savory and really meaty, courtesy of a house recipe in which sausage is featured prominently. The menu mentions capicola and ham, and given the overwhelming gloriousness of the final masterpiece, its presence can be neither confirmed nor denied.
Beyond the deep-dish experience, there are other things on the menu too. It’s hard to imagine going to Meister’s and depriving oneself of the aforementioned pie, but they do regular depth pizzas too. Or consider Buffalo Chicken Garlic Bread ($8.50). While not circular, it’s as big as a pizza. A soft, chewy bread base is encrusted with baked-on, classically seasoned buffalo chicken and cheese. Plus, dipping sauces to give it extra junk-flood pleasure (the chipotle ranch works nicely).
The kitchen makes subs too. The Meatball ($7) one came highly recommended, and it’s respectable. Not too messy, but with enough sauce and cheese to hold together a bun filled with chunks of meatballs (and perhaps a little sausage too). It’s a steal, and a pleasant sandwich . . . but it’s not a destination dish.
Really, nothing is going to compete with that deep dish pizza experience. Do be prepared for a time investment: baking deep-dish pizzas is always going to be a lengthy commitment. It took 45 minutes. The wait was forewarned and expected, and totally worth it. You can find it at 1168 Chambers Road, open daily at 4 p.m.
For more information, visit their Facebook page.