Critic’s Special: Pies & Pints
While it is an established and beloved presence in the West Virginia market, Pies and Pints is brand new to the Ohio market. Newly-opened in The Shopps at Worthington Place, Pies & Pints is eyeing more locations around the Columbus market, bringing its unique take on pizza and its eclectic beer menu to a larger audience. Another Food Critic and a number of other local food bloggers and writers had the pleasure of attending an invitation tasting event to sample the dishes and meet the people who are bringing Pies & Pints to prominence.
The pizza menu is substantial, and a lot of these pies are very unique. Let me give you a rundown of some of the highlights:
- Grape Pie: A pie topped with red grapes and Gorgonzola cheese. The signature dish of the joint. I’m floored by this simple combination. Grapes are about the last thing you could imagine to put on a pizza, but as is, they offer a sweet contrast to the savory cheese. Odds are, if you’ve heard of Pies & Pints, you’ve heard of this pizza. It’s about the most unusual thing I can imagine, but it’s spectacular.
- Pineapple Pie: Pineapples, red onion, bacon, feta, and tomato sauce. It’s vaguely like a Hawaiian pizza you’ve had at a chain, but a little more complex. Here also, the fruit is a sweet contrast to the savory cheese and salty bacon.
- Chipotle Chicken Pie: Marinated chicken, chipotle sauce, red onions, cilantro and crème fraiche. It’s got a little kick to it, the chipotle flavor is strong.
- Mushroom Garlic Pie: Mushrooms, feta, caramelized onions, herbs and garlic. It sort of reminds me of french onion soup on a pizza; you definitely have to love mushrooms to enjoy this one, but if you do, you won’t be able to get enough.
- Chicken Gouda Pie: Grilled chicken, bacon, smoked gouda, red onions, chipotle crema, and scallions. It’s a complex combination, at first sort of reminded me of a baked potato, but the flavors together really produce a delicious savory combination you’d love if you’re into smoky flavors.
- Classic Pizza Pie: Pepperoni, sausage, roasted mushrooms, banana peppers. Even the basic pizza is outstanding. The sausage is made in-house using a special recipe, and that really dominates the flavor here.
Co-owner Rob Lindeman informed us the items on the menu are made entirely from scratch. This is most apparent to me in the crust of the pizza, which is flaky and very crisp when it’s fresh out of the oven. Among the other delicious items we sampled on the appetizer and sandwich menu were the loaded nachos topped with pork, peppers and cheese, as well as the crisp char-grilled wings prepared with a hint of lemon zest. The goat cheese is thick and served with a balsamic-drizzled toast. Spectacular. If you stay for dessert you’ll get to choose from a peanut-butter and chocolate brownie or a drizzled cheesecake. In other words, just about everything you could try here is great.
The beer menu is an interesting and unique dynamic of about 40 beers, all of which come from different microbreweries across the country. Many at this new Columbus location have the staples of the Columbus scene; Columbus Brewing Copmany, Elevator Brewing Company, Great Lakes Brewing Company, and so on. There’s a banana porter from Hershey, Pennsylvania which tastes just like a banana cream pie. They even have the “Hell or High watermelon” wheat beer from 21st Amendment Brewery in San Fransisco. Ryan Heastings, the “beer czar” of Pies & Pints, is a Certified Cicerone who seeks a balanced variety of beer types in the restaurant. As a result, no two beers are alike.
I can objectively say is the kind of place that would pique my interest even if they hadn’t invited me out. It’s a really cool concept; a pizza place that’s trying to keep things fresh in a crowded market. You should absolutely give it a try.