By Alex Rasnake
Pie is a self-described pizza place and dive bar nestled on 214 N Lombardy St. Make sure you jot down that address–you could mistake Pie for a coffee shop. Surrounded by apartment buildings, the place stands out with a purple exterior, a chalkboard menu on the sidewalk, and a barely noticeable sign above the door. If you aren’t actively looking for it, you can walk right past.
You would think the modest entrance is a gateway to a larger place inside, but even with a downstairs and upstairs bar Pie does not hold much space. The farthest table in the front corner is still only a few steps away from the bar. Somebody can yell across the room and it can be clearly understood.
Pie’s interior looks like a group of people transformed a worn-out living room into a functional bar. Paintings cover the bare spaces on the walls, two TV’s flank the bar playing Comedy Central, music streams from a laptop connected to speakers, and the hard wood tables only look a few shades lighter than the floor. But nothing is out of place or tacky, and the lack of pretension makes Pie a comfortable place to drink.
I went out on a Thursday night and ordered that night’s specials: a $6 pitcher and a $5 cheese pizza. The pitcher provided four pints of cold beer, enough to split with a friend. While I had low expectations for the pizza, what came out to me was impressive. A full 12-inch thin-crust pizza that tasted wonderful. It was nicely seasoned with an even distribution of cheese and sauce with minimum greasiness. The crust was baked crispy and provided a good balance of taste with the seasoned toppings.
A few days later, I came back to try one of their hamburgers dubbed “The Classic,” a basic cheeseburger with tomato, onion and cheddar cheese. Again, I was impressed. The burger was thick and flavorful, and the buns were toasted and sized correctly with the patty. The shoestring fries that came as a side were also well-cooked and lightly seasoned. The second meal cost $7.99.
Pie offers salads, sliders, appetizers, and calzones. All of the pizzas are named after characters from the Godfather movies and can be made into deep-dish for $2 extra. The alcohol selection is limited to seven beers on draft, around 17 liquor bottles, and assorted beers in the fridge. Not exactly a bar for the picky, but one for those who wish to make ends meet. Most of the drinks and menu items are priced around the $7 to $12 range, so its perfect for college students and those on a budget. However, there is a extra $0.25 charge on all credit and debit card transactions.
The service was friendly and I never had to wait long for food or drinks. The patronage is also quite civil and because of the small space, it’s easy to strike up conversation with them. Though, the closer it gets to midnight, Pie becomes crowded and its limited space starts working against it. It becomes difficult to navigate and a line starts from either of the upstairs and downstairs restrooms. Its recommended to keep track of your belongings when it gets busy.
Pie doesn’t pretend to be something more than a dive bar, which creates a very welcoming atmosphere to eat and drink. The food is much better than you would expect from typical bar fare and the prices are low enough for anyone to enjoy.
Just try to come early.
Pie’s weekday specials are as follows:
Sunday – $2 rails
Monday – $1 burgers
Tuesday – 1/2 off pizza and $3 bourbon
Wednesday – 1/2 off wings and $3 Fireball
Thursday – $6 pitchers and $5 cheese pizzas
Friday – “Free fun” (I’m not clear what that entails)
Saturdays – Stand-up comedy