February 17

Pie Times

A growing South Lake Union means more pizza

Surely, some famous philosopher has noted that a neighborhood is only as good as its finest pizza. But is that pepperoni or potato, single slice or whole pie? Pizza is a perennial nominee for the world’s most perfect food so it’s no surprise that South Lake Union’s selection is expanding with the neighborhood: take it and bake it at home, or savor it with a glass of wine by the warm glow of a wood-fired oven.

The wood oven at Tutta Bella doesn’t go anywhere: surrounded by bar seats, it serves as the centerpiece for a bustling dining room. The bustling energy of the bright space makes it kid-friendly, as does the eager service—which is equally pleasant for groups coming in for a quick work break. The oven turns out the only Vera Pizza Napoletana (certified true Neapolitan pizza) in the neighborhood. To earn the certification, Tutta Bella’s pies have not only to meet certain standards, but also to use specific high-quality ingredients: San Marzano tomatoes in the sauce, highly-refined type “00” flour, and certain Italian cheeses. This pizza takes tradition—and taste—to the extreme.

Down the street at Serious Pie, tradition is tossed out the window in favor of Tom Douglas’s own innovative style. Thick, oblong slabs of dough—almost rectangular—serve as boats, keeping chef-style ingredients afloat. Golden brown from the oven and glistening with olive oil, these could almost be flatbreads, but whatever you call them, they deliver sautéed mushroom mélanges with truffle cheese, or Penn Cove clams with prosciutto tesa and lemon thyme. Eat them upstairs with a group at long communal tables overlooking the culinary workshop next door or downstairs where diners bustle into smaller tables and bar seats. Wherever you’re seated in the sprawling complex, local beers and wines made for pizza pairing are in order.

For diners not interested in the wine-and-dine at Serious Pie or the fun-filled Tutta Bella, Zaw Artisan Pizza makes custom bake-at-home pies. Since the advent of pizza delivery, it’s been a food meant for eating from the comfort of the couch, and Zaw’s home-bake pies let diners do just that—without sacrificing the advantage of a warm pie. Nor do Zaw-ers need to miss out on creative toppings: the Pig and Pear comes with thinly sliced prosciutto, pears (obviously), and crumbled gorgonzola cheese, while the Cowardly Apricot sports chicken, apricots, and maple-caramelized onions.

Soon there will be another option nearby: chef Ethan Stowell will be opening a branch of his Ballard Pizza Company on Ninth Avenue in mid-March. The 20-seat restaurant will serve the same oversized slices, baked-to-order pies, and chef-y salads (think whole anchovies on your Caesar) as the other locations. The covered patio will serve another 30 or so diners, and delivery is available within a limited allowable area. Once it’s open, look for local beers (Hilliard’s, Stoup, Fremont) and happy hour starting at 4pm. Cheers to this new addition to the neighborhood!

Story and Photos by Naomi Tomky

At The Center

SLU is the geographical center of Seattle