Element Pizza Adds Cocktails to Menu
Element Pizza is one of the newest restaurants to enter the Downtown market, having made their debut in August. This new restaurant prides itself on offering an unique style of pie that is halfway between a traditional Italian pizza and something unique and local to the Ohio ingredient landscape. Earlier this week, Element Pizza’s liquor license was approved and they’ve expanded their menu to feature cocktails to go along with their food offerings.
We recently spoke with Dawn Lunsford, Co-Owner of Element Pizza to find out more about their pizza style and their new lineup of drinks waiting for you at the bar.
Q: First, can you tell us a bit about the concept behind Element Pizza?
A: What separates different styles of pizza more than the thickness or thinness of the crust I think is what you think ‘makes’ the pizza. For some people it’s the sauce, for others the cheese or toppings, but for us it’s the crust. Our combined culinary curiosity is really what led us to open Element and that constant curiosity drives our flavor combinations and the uniqueness of our food. Before we even came close to deciding on a location we spent countless hours eating an insane amount of pizza trying to get the crust just the way we wanted it. Once we got that down we wanted to keep everything pretty simple beyond that because when it comes down to it, pizza is pretty basic; flour and water, a little bit of fresh cheese, some cured meat or fresh vegetables, a pure tomato sauce, a hot oven, and you’re done. Since Flour & Water was taken, and ‘the basics’ sounds pretty boring, we decided on the name Element. Because, what is more ‘Elemental’ than pizza?
Q: How have things gone since you first opened a few months ago?
A: We definitely learned quickly you have to adapt with whatever comes along, but the Downtown community has been great and really welcoming. It’s nice to be Downtown but still be able to learn and know customers by name and order and keep a kind of laidback atmosphere, at least in the evenings. It hasn’t been without obstacles though. We had planned to open in June, but had a car run through the side of our building putting us behind schedule until August. Within a week of opening it was announced that the Third Street Bridge was closing which is practically our front door. The bridge is now re-opened, but the exit ramp from I-670 to Third Street is closed. Those are a few things we really weren’t planning for, but we’ll just have to take it as it comes.
Q: Aside from the proximity to ongoing construction, what drew you to this particular location Downtown?
A: Well, we were looking for a location where we knew people would be willing to try and even appreciate some of the unique offerings we wanted to bring, but somewhere that also wasn’t overloaded with pizza places already. We were originally planning for a smaller venue and even though we knew it was a tough location, we saw a lot of potential with the building and went for it. The building has such character that people talk to us about all the time and it has been here since the early 1900s. We hadn’t originally planned for a “lunch counter” or as much dine in space as we have, but we decided that there was probably room Downtown for an affordable restaurant that is open in the evenings where we could offer people a relaxed and relatively inexpensive meal.
Q: So how exactly would you describe your style of pizza?
A: We do a Neapolitan style pizza, so it’s thinner, but with a thicker outer crust, which is known as the cornichon. We use quality fresh ingredients with a variety of local meats and cheeses. From the Italian flour we use to the local pepperoni, we try to form a cohesion or hybridization of Italy and Ohio. And because we tend to think of the crust as the foundation of the pie, we don’t overload the pizza with cheese or sauce. We do recognize that when most people think of pizza they think of a chain-style pizza, so we try to be accommodating with most any request, apart from cutting it into squares. Pizza should be triangles, even if they are small triangles.
Q: Element just added bar service earlier this week. Can you tell us a bit about that?
A: We’re excited about it! We’re starting out with a limited bar service at first, featuring quality liquors and a selection of cocktails. We’ll be continually growing the list of cocktails as we keep experimenting, and adding wine and beer eventually. And keep looking for our experimental nature to show up in the infusions and house touches to cocktails. We are also going to feature a killer Italian-American eggnog around the holidays to unwind with after a long day, or to finish a meal off with.
Q: What other sort of specialties will Element feature at the bar?
A: We are having fun experimenting and expanding the cocktail menu, and doing cocktails that feature some not-so-traditional liquors like Limoncello and Campari. We expect to keep growing our list of cocktails and are already working on a few that just weren’t quite ready yet to go on the cocktail menu, so expect it to keep growing. We’ll also be doing Happy Hour from Monday-Friday from 3pm-6pm, and Saturday from 11:00am-6:00pm.
Q: What types of drinks would you say pair well with your pizzas?
A: It really depends what pizza what you get, and what your tastes are when it comes to drinks. Our staff is in general agreement that the rum cocktails definitely pair best with our Apple & Onion, but that seems to be the closest to a single consensus we can get. With our more traditional pizzas some prefer straight bourbon on the rocks, or a classic Old Fashioned, and others who maybe aren’t ready to sip straight Bourbon prefer cocktails like our Limon-aide, Dark & Stormy, or Pimm’s Cup. Soda cocktails are awesome with pizza in the same way everyone has drank Coke with pepperoni pizza.
Element Pizza is located at 250 N. Third Street. More info can be found at www.elementpizzabar.com.
Photo by Element Pizza.