Editor’s Note: As of July 23, 2018, Pieous has relocated to Belterra Village in Dripping Springs.
In just under one year, Josh and Paige Kaner introduced Pieous to a city full of experienced palettes and made their mark at the top of the Austin restaurant ranks, mastering the trade of pizza art.
Located west of the city at 12005 Highway 290 W, tucked under a handful of Texas live oaks, the Kaners created a living, breathing kitchen built with a complete vision of connectivity between food and human that any foodie or cook would cling to.
I ate my way through Pieous on a lazy Sunday afternoon and genuinely had so much fun hanging out with the Kaners that only the threat of the sun falling from the sky could send me back home with bags full of leftovers.
From the outside in, this city girl saw a dainty, but chic, pie cottage. Inside, I made friends with the food, the people and every quaint chalk drawing and story about the love of food. Needless to say, I’m a fan.
Shortly after I arrived, the place lit up with energy and life starting from the smoky core of the wood burning pizza oven. A large chalkboard wall artistically announced the selection of artisan pizzas, sandwiches, beer, wine and more. I watched as Josh got into his pizza groove…
1) Dough ball
2) Flour toss
3) Stretch and work the dough
4) Add fresh toppings
5) Pass off to Jo-Jo
6) Send into the fiery pit
7) Cook 60-90 seconds
8) Serve up amazing bubbly pizza
This process is like second nature to Josh, who recalled that he makes an average of 200 pizzas a day, each one is an individual work of art.
At Pieous, items such as dough, mozzarella, pies, smoked pastrami and sourdough loaves are all made in house, daily. What this means to you is freshness. Keep in mind, however, that when they sell out, you’ll need to return the next day for more.
As I sat and watched with such intent, Josh said, “I always thought of myself as a food voyeur, now I’m an exhibitionist.” That didn’t stop me from watching; at this point his entire left hand, watch and arm were coated in powdery white flour.
The conversation flowed easily between Josh and Jo-Jo as they shared my love of food. I learned that Jo-Jo is an Italian-born young man who takes great pride in pizza making. He has a grandmother in Italy making sure that everyone knows his pizza is better than theirs.
With a meat smoker in the back kitchen, the Kaners came up with an idea to include smoked pastrami on their menu.
Josh said, “It just made sense to find something that would resonate with Texas and also fit into our menu.” The pastrami is cured in house for 20 days and smoked for 14 hours before you see it on your table, and is served alongside a sliced, fresh sourdough loaf.
It’s a Family Affair
What makes Pieous stand out from the growing number of pizza joints around town? Josh says, “It’s our sourdough and our methods. I see a sense of urgency in creating food for people, without sacrificing quality or safety.”
With great pride, Josh and Paige have organically created family in their lives, their kitchen and their neighborhood. Beyond that, Josh works with a 20 year old sourdough starter, which he personally started and has fed since he and Paige were living their previous life in Los Angeles. A 20 year relationship with a sourdough starter is proof of family!
Tuesday through Sunday you can dine in and watch Josh and Paige at work.
Monday is the one day of the week when “the dough rests” and the Kaners, with their brood of three small children in tow, venture out on their own Austin food adventures.
The family is passionate about food, of course, but the real message they’re passing along is “follow your passion.” The importance of this statement took Josh and Paige from their east and west coast, big city lives as CPA and lawyer, into the heart and stomachs of Texas.
Josh described Paige as “our walking, talking menu.” He said, “She just loves talking to everyone that walks in the door.” And she did just that during my visit. She created laughter at the register and quickly sold out of several of her very own pie creations.
The two have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of gratitude they have received from their guests since they opened the doors at Pieous. According to Josh, “It’s like taking a round of applause. There are so many thank you’s from people on their way out the door. I feel like it’s us who should be thanking them.”
I say, take a bow and accept your round of applause, Pieous. Your days of humble pie are now just history.
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