Regardless of the region, however, I never have high expectations for airport pizza, even though there are some worthy pies like those at Wolfgang Puck Express located in the airport at Indianapolis, and Sauce Pizza & Wine at Phoenix Sky Harbor. Needing some lunch on the way out of Austin-Bergstrom Airport, we saw East Side Pies as one of the more promising options.
East Side Pies is a mini-chain in Austin, known and appreciated for its thin-crust pizza. Their website notes that their pizzas are made with produce from central Texas farms in addition to "classic tomato sauce, whole-milk mozzarella, and Texas-sourced meats."
|Gas deck oven at East Side Pies|
We ordered the Frankie, a 10" red sauce pizza with Italian sausage, ham, and mushrooms. It took quite a long time to be ready. While we waited, we chose a "Lemon Berry Acai" fountain soda from an excellent set of beverage choices.
The pie was cut into 6 small slices. The crust was thin - just about as thin as a pizza crust might possibly be. It delivered a satisfying crunch at the cornicione, but it was not sufficiently rigid to support its toppings, especially the large amount of cheese. The first few bites of each slice were, accordingly, pretty messy.
The dough itself had a nice bready flavor, but seemed a bit undercooked. The red sauce, mostly hidden beneath that generous layer of cheese, was surprisingly robust, with little hint of sweetness. The cheese was quite mild, a stretchy mozzarella type. There was an ample application of the three toppings - ham, sausage, and mushrooms. All were good quality, but none were exceptional. Despite the cheese overload, the flavors were well balanced.
|Some leopard spotting underneath|