Given all the topping combinations, I recommend happy hour as the best time to try as many as possible. Weekdays from 3 to 5pm, half pies are $5 each. (Full pies run about $15.) At that price, two of us tried four. It’s no secret that I’m a New York-style type of guy (eager to eat at DiFara’s every chance I get), but I enjoyed Serious Pie heavier crust well enough. And the quality ingredients make the pizzas flavorful. Oh, I’ve heard the complaints about too much charring or salt, but I’ve never encountered those problems. The “simple” buffalo mozzarella and San Marzano tomato pie is always the best test, and it was good, as were the clam and mushroom options. But tops for me was the pie with guanciale, arugula, and soft egg. (Again raising the question: Why is everything better with an egg? And reminding me that I need to get to Flying Squirrel Pizza Company, where hunger-inducing, Herbivoracious host Michael Natkin scored an incredible-looking pie with egg.)
Salads help round out a pizza meal, and Serious Pie always offers at least a couple at $7 or $8. A fava version was the favorite during the recent visit. Note that salads and starters in general change to take advantage of seasonal offerings, as do the desserts; we finished with a refreshing rhubarb treat ($8) and a selection of sorbets ($2 each).
When locals and visitors ask my opinion of Tom Douglas’ restaurants, I describe them as solid, three-star places. Most who go will have a pleasant experience. Maybe not as bold as I like, but Douglas and his talented crew knows what they’re doing, striving for quality, and almost always succeeding. And once in a while, I find a dish that’s four stars, like the congee—at least for the sense of surprise.
(See what I later declared about Serious Pie here.)