Pie by the Pound…Beers for a Buck: A Decent Restaurant Grows in Yorkville

Like polar bears and sand fleas, Pie by the Pound www.piebythepound.com blends with its hostile environment—the tobacco row of slatternly ball cap bars that dominates the East Eighties—but also transcends it. Outside, it’s as nondescript as any of the neighborhood’s soulless swill houses. In fact, it’s even more bland than the area’s faux Irish bars and ersatz Southern barbecue joints. Inside, however, Pie by the Pound shrugs off the mortal boil that is Yorkville and shows its inner Barcelona chic.

Chairs are hiply modern and generously spaced to allow for double parked double wide strollers, extreme lounging and straightforward casual eating. An unexpectedly interesting magazine selection offers entertainment for solo diners and pacification for bored teenagers dragged along by parents. Flat screens add a nice take on the universal intergenerational opiate.

Of course, looks will only get you so far, even on this desperately unbeautiful block where beer goggles are the preferred eyewear. Fortunately, the pizza is hot and delicious. The serving format is innovative as well, a big step up on the dank slice joints down the block. For eat-in customers, a dozen freshly made tiles of pizza sit at the ready behind a thin sheet of glass. You simply indicate how much you want with a hand gesture to the knife wielding server. A moment later the appropriately sized swatch of pizza goes into the oven for a quick refire.

Most of the topping combinations are straightforward: fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and basil; a great white pizza that avoids the greasiness pitfall so common with this variety; and several mushroom mixes. For those seeking a little nutritional balance, a veggie combo offers all the sweetness and light one expects when six particolored fresh cut vegetables decorate a pie but none of the bitter overload of the classic chlorophyll laden pie. For a bit more fun and a lot more taste, the margherita potato chip pizza proves texture can be as important to toppings as it is to crust. The combo seems odd then inevitable: crunchy, salty, sweet and addictive. It’s easy to see why it sells out so quickly.

As if this bargain priced embarrassment of pizza riches weren’t enough, the beer selection is painfully cheap, not alcohol by the ounce but rather Buds by the buck. Yes, Budweisers run a dollar each here, as do Amstels. Only Heinekens push the price envelope at a princely two dollars apiece. Hipster artisanal sodas round out the selection and are perfect for family outings, but I keep my loyalties with St. Louis’ finest watery refreshment. It won’t distract from the pizza nor leave your wallet much lighter than when you came in the door.

So next time you’re thinking of Totonno’s Yorkville branch or, heaven forbid, a trip to Tony’s di Crapoli, do think twice, it’s not alright. Weigh your options then pick up the phone and order from Pie by the Pound. Better still, bring family or friends, or catch up on your magazine reading, tv watching and beer drinking over a solo slice or two. Pretty soon you’ll be a regular.

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3 Responses to “Pie by the Pound…Beers for a Buck: A Decent Restaurant Grows in Yorkville”

  1. Food Fanatic Says:

    Wine’s not bad either. Not good, but not too bad for 3 bucks. Has anyone tried the dessert pizzas? They don’t sound too good, but you never know.

  2. Pizza Pete Says:

    The beer’s now two bucks. Pizza’s still good, but they’ve been out of potato chip pie on my last two visits. Hope it’s not the start of a downward spiral.

  3. Pizza Pete Says:

    And the delivery prices have gone up by a buck a pizza. Still good, but what’s with the gouging?

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