By Jasmine Maharisi – News Editor
It takes just the right combination to appeal to people with both eclectic and particular tastes. Such people are regulars at the shops and restaurants in historic Dundee, enjoying both the delightful atmosphere of the area and the abundance of locally owned businesses. The newest kid on this historic block is Pitch Coal-Fire Pizzeria.
Pitch is the creation of Omaha entrepreneur Willy Theisen, the founder and former owner of Godfather’s Pizza. Theisen opened the restaurant Nov. 9, 2009. This is his newest pizza restaurant since he sold Godfather’s in the 1980s.
Pitch is located at the corner of 51st and Underwood Avenue. At first glance the restaurant looks like all the other brick buildings, which isn’t bad considering most are original. But looking closer, one can see a large window that looks suspiciously like a garage door. During fair weather, Pitch opens this garage door to give guests closest to it an indoor/outdoor feel.
During my trip to Pitch, I eventually ended up sitting at the table closest to this garage door/window contraption, but the weather outside was too chilly for an open garage experience.
The inside of the restaurant is spectacular, with modern art and mirrors hung on the brick walls. The décor is a combination of art deco and modernism obvious by the long, stainless steel pub-style tables and bright yellow cushioned pub chairs. The large bar is fully stocked with most every type of liquor and a large selection of wine.
The bar is where I began my experience, as the wait time was an hour and a half. My group waited a bit longer as not all of us had arrived when it was our turn to be seated. As I later found out when protesting that customers arriving after us had been seated before us, the hostesses can’t seat parties unless everyone is present. Fair enough.
The bartenders that night were very charismatic. They talked to us as we waited for our seats even though they had a packed bar to tend to. I overheard one of them conversing with a couple that was eating at the bar. The bartender poured a swallow of red wine in a glass and offered it to a male customer, saying that he really ought to try the wine. After tasting it, the man agreed and ordered a glass. Later, I inquired about the wine and our waitress promptly set out to find it.
The wine was Principato Pinot Noir from Italy and cost $6 a glass. I ordered two. It was such a perfect compliment to our pizza that it would’ve taken away from the dining experience if I didn’t drink it. It was light, soft and very mild. For those planning on ordering pizza at Pitch, I strongly suggest ordering a glass of this wine.
After we were seated, we ordered. I started with a cup of the soup of the day ($4), which was a very heavy cheese and potato soup. A bowl of the soup would’ve been too much, but a cup was perfect. It wasn’t anything to write home about, but still a nice start to the meal.
My friends shared the Calabrese meatballs appetizer ($8), which included three enormous meatballs in a pasta dish with tomato sauce and grana cheese (mature, Italian cheese with a granular texture). The meatballs are a combination of both beef and pork and, according to my friends, were quite tasty.
For dinner, I ordered the Margherita pizza ($12), a thin crust pizza with marinara sauce, cheese and fresh basil. Our food arrived quickly and I did not regret for one moment my choice, as it was wonderful. Margherita is my favorite kind of pizza, but only when prepared properly. Pitch’s Margherita pizza was made perfectly, with just the right amount of marinara and fresh mozzarella cheese. It was topped with cooked basil leaves and what tasted like a sprinkle of olive oil.
Ordering a pizza from Pitch to go is possible, but I fear the freshness of the ingredients and the crispness of the crust would not fare well if left to sit for too long.
My friends shared the Bianco Verde pizza ($17) with ricotta cream, prosciutto ham, caramelized onions, arugula (a type of salad green) and mozzarella. Theywere also satisfied with their choice, though they chose beer instead of wine to accompany their meal.
For dessert, we all decided to split the tiramisu with raspberries ($5), which our waitress recommended as “fantastic.” The raspberries were a nice touch and a unique one at that, but I was a bit disappointed because the espresso taste was very faint. Perhaps the chefs were attempting to appeal to a larger audience by mellowing down the espresso, but to true tiramisu lovers, the espresso is the foundation of the dessert. I say be bold, and don’t cater to those with bland palettes. You’ll lose those of us who are true fans.
Our waitress was genuinely kind and patient despite a restaurant filled with people. She made suggestions and didn’t rush us during any of our courses. The whole experience wouldn’t have been as positive if she wasn’t so pleasant.
For those who just want a beer and a slice of pizza, Pitch isn’t your place. If you’re craving a gourmet, coal-fire pizza with a bottle of wine, skip the appetizers and desserts and you just might be in heaven.