There’s Chicago deep dish. There’s the massive, thin, foldable New York style pizza. We can even find Detroit style pizza in an Austin food trailer.
But what is Austin style pizza? Answer: East Side Pies. ESP is Austin style pizza. Since their creation in 2006, East Side Pies has always delivered a high quality, fresh, local, homemade pizza. And in true Austin style, they also support local farms and give back to the community.
Since East Side Pies made it to my own list of the best 5 pizza joints in Austin, here’s a look at where they came from and what’s on the horizon in 2015.
Birth of Austin Style Pizza
Before Franklin’s and back when Blue Dahlia Bistro was Dandelion, there wasn’t much happening on the eastside. And there definitely wasn’t much in terms of late night food options for bartenders.
Noah Polk, who was bar tending at eastside legend Longbranch Inn at the time, toyed with the idea of opening up something to satisfy the late night cravings among his community.
Along with close friend and chef Michael Freid, Polk conjured up the idea of a different kind of pizza joint. One to serve the growing east Austin community. Thus the birth of Austin style pizza occured with the opening of the first East Side Pies at 1401 Rosewood Ave in 2006.
And they haven’t looked back since. As east Austin grew, so did East Side Pies and their Austin style pizza. Within four years of opening the doors at Rosewood, they added a second location at 5312 Airport, where they converted an old warehouse and retrofitted the space for their pizza needs. East Side Pies Too currently serves as the main office, as well as the preparation center for all three locations.
Their third location? 1809 W Anderson Lane, which greatly expanded their delivery area.
South of the river still isn’t covered. I know. It’s a little disappointing because I live south. However, their pizza is so good that I don’t mind driving to pick it up. And depending on which friend I visit north of the river, I now have three East Side Pies locations to choose from.
They Know What You Want
Maybe it’s ESP. No, literally ESP (extrasensory perception). East Side Pies has really honed in on what the Austin community wants in their pies. Maybe that’s why their symbol for bacon on the menu looks like a card from the 1930s Zener deck used to test ESP?
Conspiracy theories aside, they really do know what Austin wants. Fresh, local, homemade and just plain good. They strive to offer the highest quality pizza by investing in quality toppings from local farms such as Ten Acre Organics and Springdale Farm.
When they first opened, they only had about 10 speciality pies on the menu. Today they have over 40 specialty pies and continue to add more. Perhaps their key to success is taking time to get to know their customers, listening to and engaging with the community.
Big News for 2015
Sauce, Sauce and More Sauce
Pizza sauce can make or break a pie. I typically like to keep things simple. But having grown up in a pizza shop myself, I know how boring red sauce can be. Especially if you’re eating it everyday, which I was.
At East Side Pies, you can choose from six different sauces. Starting in January, there’ll be two more options added to the mix: the Chimichurri sauce and Tomatillo sauce. You might have already had a taste of one of these two new options, but they previously existed by the slice only. In 2015, you can order a full pie with either choice.
They have also created a couple new speciality pizzas to highlight their new sauces, such as the Chimi Hendrix and the Santa Fe.
Take a Seat…Indoors
While all locations have outdoor seating, ESP Too on Airport will reveal their new indoor seating in early 2015. Perfect timing for those “cold” Austin winter days. So treat your colleague to lunch or bring the family in for dinner!
That’s So Awestin
Reasons why East Side Pies is Awestin (Awesomely Austin). Yes, I just made up that portmanteau, so please take note in case it becomes a popular t-shirt. You heard it here first.
- They care about quality – In addition to amazingly fresh toppings, all sauces are now made at one location to ensure consistency.
- They care about customers – Many of the speciality pizzas are named after or by friends and customers.
- They care about the environment – They compost through East Side Compost Pedallers.
- They care about the community – On the back of their delivery menus they promote local businesses and events.
- They care about smart growth – Perfecting their pies and experimenting with flavors is more important that physical expansion. (Sorry, south Austin, delivery will eventually make it across the river. Just not in 2015.)
- They deliver.
Not enough Awestiness? Check them out for yourself. You can thank me later.
@jpino9 wants to know:
Do you think Austin-style pizza will ever be known nationally?
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