Recently I was invited to try Pie Five Pizza Co.,, which was named one of “10 Hot New Restaurant Chains from Established Brands” by Forbes. I’ve seen it described as the “Chipotle of pizza.” Currently, Pie Five has locations in close to 25 states, including 4 in the Houston area.
As an enticement to visit the restaurant, they sent me a $25 gift card. I headed over to the one in the Heights at 107 Yale Street, Suite 400, which is close to where I work, bringing two others from my office.
Inside, the modest restaurant was clean and comfortable.
Pie Five’s premise is individual handcrafted pizzas with homemade sauces and fresh ingredients, made to order in about five minutes (thus the name, Pie Five). Step up to the counter, where a “Pie-artisan” will help you build your perfect pie. Start with the crust — choose from artisan thin, classic pan, whole grain, Neapolitan, or gluten free thin. (Did you hear that — gluten free pizza!). Next, select from seven different sauces, four cheeses, eight meats, and sixteen veggies.
PIzzas cost $6.99 regardless of the number of toppings — go wild! For those that suffer from indecisiveness, there are a dozen or so “recipes” you can choose from, such as
I need to stop here and tell you, as a PSA, that the spicy Sriracha marinara really is spicy — and delicious. Likewise, the oven-roasted tomatoes, which I tried out of curiousity, are really great — garlicky and bathed in olive oil. Oh, and be sure to ask for “magic dust” — a blend of Parmesan, Romano and Italian seasoning — to sprinkle on your pizza. It puts those sad little containers of parmesan cheese and crushed red pepper flakes to shame.
Fresh salads are also available. Each salad is served in a pizza crust bowl, and starts with chopped romaine lettuce. As with the pizzas, you can add as many ingredients as you’d like.
There are also a few dessert offerings to top off your meal, including turtle brownies and chocolate chip pizza cookies. The brownie we sampled was light and cakey, not too sweet, and as the staff will tell you, makes a great mid-afternoon snack.
I had no expectations going in. If anything, I presumed the pizza would not be much different than the take-out pizzas from certain national chains that my teenage son orders frequently. But I was happily mistaken. The pizza was really good, and everyone enjoyed creating their own pizza (especially without extra charges for toppings) — in fact, we’ve already been back. It came out in less than five minutes, as advertised. We joked that it almost came out too fast — we were wanting to linger a little longer before heading back to the office. Because the restaurant sits in the middle of what is a essentially a food court across from Wal-Mart, and is surrounded by numerous casual eateries, it can be easy to overlook. I encourage you to seek it out and give it a try.