I’m always pumped when a great new food spot opens up in Atlanta. But I get down right ecstatic when one opens up within walking distance of my house, as I usually have to leave Buckhead to get my favorite meals in town. So, you can imagine my reaction when I heard about The Kind Pie.
Brought to my attention almost simultaneously by everyone’s favorite Buddha and Mrs. Glutton, I immediately knew that I had to check this place out. Considering that Buddha is usually the critical Yin to my too-easily-impressed Yang, the fact that he was so excited about the place was encouraging.
I dig the philosophy behind The Kind Pie, and I highly recommend that you check out their story to get the full background. For those that don’t like link-clicking, here is the nutshell-version: Carefully sourced, all organic, high-quality, awesome ingredients that make for a badass pie.
There is another well-known Pizza guy that claims that his “better ingredients” make for “better pizza”. The difference is that the proprietor of The Kind Pie isn’t full of shit when he says it.
The menu isn’t limited to just pizza. In fact, the sandwiches and pastas take up more menu real estate than the pies, and though I only sampled a few of them, the non-pizza fare seems to be just as good as their namesake.
Some aspects of this restaurant are definitely “non-traditional”, and you should plan accordingly. Here are some pointers that will make your first trip more enjoyable:
1- There is no indoor seating, and only 2 small patio tables outside. The entire interior of the place is the kitchen. You order through the walk up window and they hand you your food through the door.
2- This is a one-man shop, though he sometimes has a helper during peak hours, and he makes all of the food to order. This makes for good grub, but also long waits, especially if this place starts becoming more popular. You should expect at least a 20-30 minute wait for your food to be ready. You’ve been warned. I honestly don’t know how they are going to handle things if they see the same sudden spike in popularity that another ATL “take out only” pizza joint saw. Hopefully, he can adapt.
3- Their menu is available online, and I’d recommend calling your order in ahead of time if you don’t feel like walking around the heart of Buckhead for half an hour.
4- They are open until 4AM on weekends and they deliver if you live close enough, which I do. Na-na na-na boo-boo, stick your head in doo-doo.
I was downright nervous about my first meal here, because I wanted, so badly, for this to be amazing. However, the realist in me kept reminding myself to be objective. I didn’t want my desire for an awesome pizza joint so close by to overshadow the actual quality of the food.
Fortunately for all of us, the realist in me is a moron. ‘Cause this stuff was awesome.
I credit his dedication to high quality ingredients for said awesomeness. For example, they use 100% Buffalo Milk Mozzarella, San Marzano (DOP) tomatoes, all natural Angus ground beef (or White Oak Pastures grass-fed), and house made Berkshire Pork Sweet Sausage. Dude roasts Berkshire pork for 7 hours in there EVERY DAY. As you can tell, a lot of care goes into the ingredients, and it shows in the final product.
The ONLY complaint that I have, and one that I have heard from more than one person, is about the verbage used on the menu. For lack of a better word, it is a little…..cheesedick. Everything has a “clever” and mostly Italian names such as “Harry Bag of Frickin’ Donuts” and “Jimmy The Cheeseman”. I’ve just seen that a few too many times to not grow a little cynical about it. Frankly, I don’t give a damn what he calls the food there, as long as it is good. And that is such a minor point, I feel silly even bringing it up….but still….I’m just sayin’.
There were four of us on this particular venture, and I insisted that we try as wide of a variety off the menu as possible. So, I’m now able to report on a sandwich, a pasta dish, and a Kind Pie.
For the sandwich selection, we ordered The Bobby.
The Bobby is comprised of in-house roasted turkey, fontal cheese, broccoli rabe slaw, and bomba calabrese, which is an Italian hot relish made up of hot peppers, mushrooms, eggplant, and olives.
The turkey was moist and delicious, and the bomba calabrese gives this just the right amount of heat. The meat was exceptional and was my first indication of the advantage that their house made ingredients give to the food. All told, it was a pretty solid sandwich.
For the pasta dish, we had the Joey Za Za Ziti. This is a basic, yet well executed, dish made with organic ziti pasta, “Uncle Joe’s Red Meat gravy” (AKA meat sauce), Fontal, Asiago, and Parmigiano cheese.
I’m not actually the one that ordered this, and it wouldn’t have been my first choice. I say that not because this wasn’t tasty, but because it was pretty traditional and there were many other pasta dishes that looked much more enticing to me. Regardless, the meat sauce was hearty and the blend of cheeses was solid. If you are in the mood for a good ziti, you won’t go wrong with this one.
Now, onto the real reason why I basically ignored the other two dishes that we ordered: THE BIG AL!
SWEET BABY JESUS, this was a damn good pie.
Piled onto this bad boy was their house made Berkshire Pork Sweet Sausage, pepperoni, speck, Prosciutto di Parma, meatball, house made roast pork, and extra cheese. I literally just had to slap myself after writing that sentence because I was getting too worked up.
This is a symphony of meaty goodness. While I could definitely pick out the flavors of the speck, meatball, and roast pork, the Berkshire Pork Sweet Sausage completely stole the show. With every bite, I kept coming back to the sausage. It is frickin’ great, and was the most poignant example of the impact that The Kind Pie’s attention to ingredients has on their final product. The four of us attacked this pizza, followed by a chorus of eye-rolls, oh-my-god’s, and wow’s.
So, you now know that I thought the toppings were fantastic. I know what you are thinking…. But what of the crust? Isn’t that the single most important part of a good pie? Doesn’t it all come down to the char???
First of all….no, it doesn’t all come down to the crust, and frankly, I’ve grown tired of all of the emphasis put onto it. Obviously, the crust is important, and if poorly executed can ruin an otherwise great pie. And a great crust absolutely elevates a good pizza. But without a knockout sauce and fantastic toppings, even the best crust is forgettable. I don’t remember the last time that I walked away from a pizza thinking “who cares about the cheese and the sauce…did you taste that CRUST?!”
You shouldn’t expect the same style of crust that you get at Antico or Varasano’s. The crust here is thicker and crunchier, which I happen to prefer, and the flavor was good. But I didn’t really pay much attention to it. There was SO MUCH BADASSERY piled on top of it, I didn’t care.
If you can’t already tell, I wholeheartedly endorse The Kind Pie. Obviously, this has been based off a single visit, and if they start serving crap, maybe I’ll post a revision. I just can’t keep my trap shut about it long enough to wait, so I’m sticking my neck out and telling you to get your ass over there as soon as possible.
But you might want to call ahead first.
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