Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Review: East Side Pies - Austin TX (Airport Location)

Austin, TX has become a destination for pizza. I've enjoyed the thin crust Trenton/New Haven style pies at Salvation Pizza, the New York-ish slices at Home Slice, the impeccable Neapolitans from the Backdraft trailer, the farm-to-pizza hybrid pies at Pizzeria Sorellina in Spicewood, Neapolitans out in Dripping Springs at Pieous, and the game-changing Detroit style pizza at Via 313.

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
Behind the counter, you can see stacks of pre-made pies. There appears to be no pizza-making taking place at this location - the pies are simply heated/cooked in a conventional gas deck oven.

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
This pie was enough for lunch for two people, and we both felt it was good pizza - especially considering the setting. A fairer test of East Side Pies would be a visit to one of their full service locations (four in the Austin area). I'd give East Side a definite thumbs-up when you're choosing a meal at this airport, but it's not up to the level of Wolfgang Puck Express or the fire-baked pies at the Phoenix Sky Harbor airport.

East Side Pies Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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