SALT LAKE CITY — If you want to receive a diploma from the University of Utah, you must meet two requirements: complete the coursework for your selected major and eat pizza at The Pie Pizzeria at least once, if not dozens, of times.
Although the second caveat isn’t exactly true, The Pie Pizzeria is a mainstay among students at the University of Utah. Located just off of President’s Circle in the basement underneath University Pharmacy, it’s just a short walk from campus to The Pie, with its busy graffitied walls and made-to-order pizza.
According to the restaurant’s website, The Pie is a family-owned and operated business that has been serving customers since 1980 and now has five locations from Ogden to South Jordan. The Pie’s cooking process places emphasis on consistency and quality, with dough that is “hand rolled and hand tossed the traditional way,” house-made sauces and meats, cheeses and vegetables sliced fresh daily.
“We do this not because it's the new culinary trend,” the website states. “We do this because we have done it that way for over 35 years. To us it's more about the interaction than the transaction.”
The Pie’s menu has plenty to offer from a build-your-own pizza option to multiple specials — many with clever names — including the Thai Pie, Hawaii Pie-O, BBQ Chicken Cilantro and the Greek. The man behind the counter indicated that The Pie’s Combo was the most popular special, so I took him up on the suggestion.
The Pie’s Combo is a meat-heavy take on a classic combo with pepperoni, smoked ham, Genoa salami, fresh mushrooms, onions, green peppers, Italian sausage, Linguica sausage and ground beef. The toppings are plentiful, large and chunky. Many of the meats had a bit of a spicy kick to them, and the vegetables, though cooked, still retained a freshness to them, and the whole thing was brought together by the tangy, mouth-watering tomato sauce. The crust was on the thicker side and was cooked perfectly to have a nice balance of airy softness and slight crunchiness.
It should be noted, however, that how you feel about cheese on pizza will make or break how you feel about pizza from The Pie. Many stops on this tour have had light, sometimes almost imperceptible cheese, which depending on your preferred style, works. But The Pie’s style is go big or go home, including with the cheese, which was applied extremely generously to The Pie’s Combo. If you like a cheesy pizza, you’ll like The Pie. But if you prefer cheese to be on the subtler side, The Pie isn’t the place for you.
With brick walls covered in decades worth of customers leaving their mark on The Pie by signing their name, you could spend hours reading and laughing at the funny messages left behind. And with delicious pizza to fill your stomach, staying a while at The Pie isn’t a bad thing at all.
Locations: The Pie's original location is 273 S. 1300 East in Salt Lake City, plus a delivery location that does not have any dine-in seating, as well as locations in Midvale, South Jordan and Ogden.
Price: Prices range from $9.99 for a 12-inch to $41.00 for a 23-inch depending on toppings
Slice score: 6 out of 6