Having grown up in the mid 20th Century, I had a great affinity for all things having to do with the future; wondering what new and wonderful gadgets were coming, and dreaming of how the world would be changed when we were all living in the future. I even wore the “I Have Seen The Future” button Dad got at the 1939 World’s Fair.
Well, here it is some 50 years later in the 21st Century, and only now can I really say that “I Have Seen the Future.” In this case, the medium is pizza, and the futurists making it happen are Pie Five Pizza Company.
Ordering pizza the old-timey 20th Century way means you called in or placed your order at least 30 minutes ahead of time, and then waited while your pizza was prepared. Once cooked, you had to go by the pizzeria and pick up your pizza, or have it delivered, which involved additional cash outlay in the form of a tip. Either way, if your timing was off or your spare change was short, you’d end up with pizza that was not hot, but more middling warm-to-tepid and tasted of cardboard because the toppings had detached from the now-soggy crust and were to be found stuck to the lid of the pizza box.
That was the past. This is the future, and Pie Five Pizza Company has the problem solved deliciously.
I had to see this vision of the future in operation, and brought along the dine-around bunch to share the experience. There’s seating for 50-plus diners in Pie Five’s dining area. The wall nearest the front counter displays the various pizza toppings and sauces in the manner of the Periodic Table. Cool. We got a table near the front door where we could watch the action up front.
Pie Five’s method of pizza production is simple. You can order one of Pie Five’s “Our” pies, or go for a “Your” pizza pie. Take one 11-inch pizza crust of varying thickness and composition (a gluten-free crust adds $2 to the cost). Add the sauce from a selection of six, that includes alfredo and barbecue. Pick your cheese (vegan cheese is $2 extra). Pick your meats from pepperoni, grilled chicken, Italian sausage; you get the idea. Next are the veggies, seventeen choices in all from red onions to sun-dried tomatoes. Then the finisher, a dash or more of Pie Five’s Magic Dust spice medley, or fresh basil, feta cheese, or spicy red pepper flakes.
The cost for this amazing food of the future is priced like something out of the past; just $7.49, and you can add a side salad and drink or a dessert and drink making the price $10.99. Yes, you read that right, this is your personal 11-inch pizza topped with whatever quantity of fixings you want with your side order and your drink, all for less than eleven bucks.
I ordered the BBQ chicken pizza with grilled chicken, red onions, chopped cilantro and cheddar cheese on a thin crust smothered in sweet barbecue sauce. I also ordered a Caesar salad.
My dining partner picked out a thick crust chicken carbonara number, bedding grilled chicken in cheesy alfredo sauce and topped with mushrooms, bacon and parmesan cheese; her chocolate chip cookie pie slice for dessert ($1.99) was a delicious afterthought.
The Dieter chose Pie Five’s Athenian pizza thin crust, where olive oil is topped with grilled chicken, minced garlic, red onions, kalamata olives and sun-dried tomato puree, then dusted with dried basil. She left the banana peppers off this time.
Slightly drooling in anticipation, the Carnivore picked out his High Five pizza, where smoked pepperoni held court with Italian sausage, beef, Canadian bacon, good old smoky bacon and cheddar cheese on a savory Tuscan red sauce. Thin crust, of course.
The Retiree decided she’d make her own version of a thick crust chicken alfredo pizza, with grilled chicken, green peppers and marinated artichoke hearts set out on the alfredo sauce. A slice of turtle brownie pie ($1.99) was ordered as her dessert.
All of our pizzas were ready in under five minutes each. Not to get too technical, but Pie Five has this special pizza oven that flash bakes your pizza in about five minutes, and from where I was standing it looked like they could bake up to four pizzas through the oven at one time.
For the dine-around bunch taste test, we all traded pizza slices around the table and had at it. Of the five pizzas ordered, my favorite was the Carnivore’s High Five; I could taste each individual meat on the pizza and not have it overwhelmed by the sauce or spices.
The Retiree liked my dining partner’s carbonara special, while the rest of the bunch thought my barbecue pizza was the best. My side Caesar salad was just right; the Caesar dressing was home made and the parmesan cheese freshly grated. The salad could have used some more croutons, though. As for the desserts, turtle brownie was the winner hands down.
During our meal, I had a chance to talk with Mr. Kurt Guttshall, a Pie Five corporate manager who was on site seeing that everything was going smoothly. Guttshall told me that this was the sixth Pie Five location he’d opened since June; because of the demand, Pie Five Pizza Company was averaging a new store each week. “Word of mouth is driving our growth,” said Guttshall, “that, and having competent smiling people sell and innovate our pizza each day.”
It sounds to me like Pie Five Pizza Company has a successful future well in hand.
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