Plopped into the pint glass was something I’d never seen before. A whole slice of cold pepperoni pizza garnishing a Bloody Mary cocktail. Butting against it was a skewer of pepperoni, fresh mozzarella wedges, a black olive and cherry tomato.
Was it an appetizer? A drink? Handily, it was both.
Welcome to the 21-and-older only Wicked Pie Pizza, which opened last week in downtown Puyallup.
The restaurant is decidedly grown-up with a menu of a dozen specialty cocktails and a micro focus on pizza and grinders. Here’s a first-bite look. It’s this paper’s policy to skip criticism of food and service during a restaurant’s first month.
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It’s all in the family: Randy and Mary Anderson. This second-generation Italian restaurant family also owns Route 66 in downtown Orting, which they opened in 1996 (it operated two years prior in Graham). Five years ago, they expanded to a pizza stand at the Puyallup fair. They also opened New York Vinny’s with locations in Lacey and Federal Way. Mary’s father was Italo Carosiello of historic Seattle restaurant Italo’s Casa Romana of Columbia City (the restaurant later moved to Lake City). Mary and Randall met and worked together at Italo’s. Son Randy and daughter-in-law Monica help run Wicked Pie.
The oven: Gas-plumbed stove with a brick deck from Wood Stone, a Bellingham stove maker. The high heat blasts the crust, creating golden brown edges and sturdy crust with little pizza flop.
The pies: Eleven signature pies, plus a build-your-own option. Small pies feed two at $13-$17, double that for the large versions, $19-$25.
The rest of the menu: Three grinder sandwiches ($9 each); three salads ($6-$11); five appetizers, including garlic breadsticks ($6); wings ($11); and meatballs ($8).
Try the: Flying Pig. What’s better than an all-meat pizza? A pie with five kinds of pork: salami, bacon, sausage, pepperoni and feathery slices of prosciutto with a sticky red sauce and blanket of mozzarella ($17/$25). The vegetarian antidote is The Puyallup, a chewy crust spread with pesto, black olives, roasted red peppers and creamy pools of ricotta and fresh mozzarella. Pizzas came with blistered edges and golden brown undersides. A dusting of cornmeal added crunch to the tangy, complex crust.
From the booze list: Interesting finds abound in a downtown that has more beer than cocktails. Besides that bloody Mary ($12) described above, find a Sicilian margarita with Lazzaroni Amaretto ($8); a Texas mule with Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur ($8), and an Italian gin and tonic with Mancino Bianco vermouth and Amaro Lazzaroni.
The dining room: The former home of J.C.’s Music now is an attractive space with exposed brick walls, polished concrete floors and seating that extends deep into the narrow building. Seating for 50 includes an eat-in bar and a banquette along the opposite wall lined with chairs, plus tables for small to large groups. Lighting turns moody at night with mismatched chandeliers on the funkier side. Look to the rear of the restaurant for that beautiful gas-plumbed Wood Stone stove.
Wicked Pie Pizza
Where: 112 S. Meridian Ave., Puyallup; 253-256-4698; facebook.com/wickedpiepizza.
Hours: Open at 11 a.m. daily, serving lunch and dinner.