They say that wood ovens are the best way to cook pizza. That said I've also heard a coal fired oven is best. The simple fact is, both are essentially correct. For they both do the same thing. Cook pizza very quickly at a very high temperature. Diehards will tell you only a couple minutes in the hot box is best. These would be the same pizza maniacs who disable the locking mechanism on their ovens and cook their pizza on the self clean cycle. I'm not there yet. Though it is a tempting thought. I’m not sure Mrs. Sippi would agree.
Randy Feltis and Craig Russell know the value of the quick, high temp pizza cook. It’s why these two pizza mavens imported a Mugniani oven from Italy. Capable of tempuratures pushing 850° it can cook a pizza in about 90 seconds. The exact perfect time they’ll tell you.
So with that, they opened Pie in the growing city of Barrie in 2010. Pie was an instant success. Winning Barrie’s best pizza in their inaugural year. Since then, Pie has gone on to much acclaim. They’ve hosted a pizza eating contest the last 3 years and came to my attention when John Catucci and the You Gotta Eat Here gang paid a visit. Turned out John was right, I did have to eat here. Making the 40 minute trip for a delicious birthday dinner.
Pie’s location, a couple minutes off the highway and in a large shopping area beside the local movieplex makes them very handy. The industrial box in which the restaurant resides has a nice patio and ablaze in orange and yellow. Bedecked in graphics it really stands out.
Walking inside the first thing you’ll notice, as you wait for a table, is a couple employees making pizza and loading them into the wood oven. There’s room enough for a half dozen so if my grade 5 math is correct, that’s over 200 pizzas an hour. There’s a nice bar area in the back and seating for around 100 diners in the ceiling-less dining room. Overall it oozes casual restaurant.
There’s an open window into the kitchen where most of the non pizza cooking happens.
Much like most pizza places these days, you can create your own Pie or, as most do, choose from one of the pre ordained versions. All with catchy if not clever names and about 10” around. So let's have a look.
First, let's talk crust. It's pizza 101. If you don't have good dough, you don't have good pizza. Pie make their dough fresh in house as you can, I'm sure, figure. It's rolled out on cornmeal and the exceptionally high temperatures bake it up crispy, chewy and tasty in the Neapolitan style. It's among the best crusts I've had. Perhaps even the best now that my previous favourite Bigabaldi's is no longer. They don't overload the pies either. The crust is pretty thin and can't hold much weight. A respectable amount of toppings is all that's required.
Mrs. Sippi selected the Green Eggs and Ham pizza featured in the show. Wood fired bacon, roasted potatoes, with spinach, pesto, mozzarella and a fresh cracked egg. It's delicious. There's really no other way to put it. It's not normally the type of pizza I'd go for but sometimes it's nice to opt for something that you wouldn’t eat at home. The egg in the centre adds a richness as you can imagine and the whole thing had a nice balance such that no one topping dominated IMHO.
The Porky Pie pizza is right in my wheelhouse. It's a fast ball straight down main street as far as I'm concerned. Italian sausage, prosciutto and wood fired bacon with fresh mozzarella and tomato sauce. The fresh basil on top is just an added bonus. The cherry on top of the sundae if you will. It's just as good a pizza as I've ever had. For the meatavores out there, this is certainly for you.
Last but certainly not least is the Nutty Pie. Nutella, bananas and brulee ice cream with caramel drizzle. Oh baby is this ever a way to finish things off. The bananas I could live without. Outside of plain, I only like them a few ways. Anyway it comes served cool which was a bit of a surprise. I thought it would have been in the oven and served warm but not so the case. A really nice way to round out the meal.
So there you have it folks, some fabulous pizza a short drive from the big city.
You can find Pie at 34 Commerce Park Dr in Barrie, Ontario.
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Well that’s all for now folks, see ya next time in the food court.