I do my best to offer some variety from week to week with these restaurant reviews, but somehow managed to eat pizza two weeks in a row (last week’s review was at Harvest in German Village). The patios of these two restaurants were what initially pulled me in, so we’ll just chalk it up to coincidence and I’ll do my best to eat something different next week.
Pie’s Gourmet Pizza Bistro opened in Reynoldsburg a month ago under the guidance of Chef William Fugitt. The restaurant is housed a beautiful old home featuring multiple dining rooms with different experiences to be had. Upstairs is home to a large semi-casual bar area where diners can look out through the tree branches to the busy street below. Downstairs offers some standard seating indoors with a special spot for a kitchen-side view. Pie’s also has a great landscaped courtyard-style patio enclosed on two sides by the restaurant and the other two sides by a wall of shrubbery.
The menu at Pie’s focuses firmly on pizza, with a handful of other appetizers (Sautéed Mussels, Pancetta Wrapped Dates), entrees (Risotto, Pan Roasted Cod) and salads (Lobster Caeser, Local Green House Salad). Many ingredients used are locally sourced, and those that are not seem to be of the high-quality variety.
I started off with the House-Made Burrata ($10), a creamy mozzarella-based cheese with a firm outer shell. The cheese is paired with crisp italian flatbread, a slice of house-made bacon and a tomato and red onion jam. The cheese had a mild mozzarella flavor, softened by the cream. The texture almost resembled a small curd cottage cheese, but with a slight saltiness. When paired with each of the plate’s ingredients, the cheese worked on a variety of levels. The bacon was thin and crisp. Overall, this was a great start to the meal and an a nice take on an antipasto plate.
Moving on to the all important pizza menu, the first pie I tried was the Vegetable Pizza ($8), topped with squash, zucchini, fresh mushrooms, tomato, carrots, cauliflower, arugula, a balsamic drizzle and mozzarella and ricotta cheeses. The marinated squash and zucchini were the star veggies here, cooked to tenderness without being mushy. The carrots and cauliflower on the other hand were previously pickled and not quite cooked in a similar fashion, making them a bit more raw and harder to bite through. I suppose this contrast is what makes the pizza unique, but something about it didn’t quite sit right for me. The addition of fresh arugula gave the veggies a peppery finish, but I almost wish the greens were wilted to match the delicious marinated veggies. Overall, a varied mix of choices for a veggie pizza which gets points for uniqueness, but would benefit from some slight modifications and refinement.
Next up was The Duck Pizza ($14), topped with duck leg confit, shaved red onions, roasted mushrooms, gouda and gruyère cheeses and a poached duck egg broken on top. The duck was well prepared, tender and moist. The poached egg was a beautiful touch, though the placement at the center of the pizza meant an uneven distribution of flavor (I found myself sopping up the runny egg yolk with the pizza crust). The earthy mushrooms shined through with a powerful flavor, and the light application of sauce helped this pie to become a pretty big departure from the norm.
The drink menu at Pie’s includes a long wine list, a selection of craft beers, and a couple of specialty cocktails. I ordered a glass of the Peach Sangria ($8), made with Mt. Gay Eclipse Rum, Dr. Loosen Riesling, a house-made peach puree and fresh orange juice. The sweetness of the peach was balanced nicely with the acidic citrus fruits. The addition of rum gave this punch some punch, and enjoying a glass on Pie’s secluded patio was a very nice escape from the bustling streets nearby.
For dessert, I tried the Dark Chocolate Bunet ($7), a chocolate terrine served with fresh berries and sorbet. The terrine was soft and very similar to a slightly-firm pudding. The sorbet melted quickly, blending the flavors together. The combination of raspberries and chocolate is certainly not a new one, but it was one that was appreciated on a hot summer day like this. The portion size was a bit on the smaller side, making it a light dessert for sharing.
Overall, there’s a lot to like at Pie’s with only a few stumbling blocks to be found during their first month in operation. The ingredients used are all very thoughtfully, and with a few tweaks to the pizzas, they could become just a little closer to perfection. If you live near Reynoldsburg, this place is certainly worth a try. The biggest ongoing challenge for Pie’s will be the strong competition from other notable artisan pizza makers such as Yellow Brick, Harvest, bonopizza, Element, Clever Crow and others throughout Columbus.
Pie’s Gourmet Pizza Bistro is located at 7601 East Main Street in Reynoldsburg. They’re open Tuesday-Saturday from 5pm to Midnight, closed on Sunday & Monday. More information can be found online at www.piesgourmet.com.
Photos by Jennifer René of Jennifer René Photography.