Feeling in the mood for some pie and a change of scenery, James and I drove over to Magnolia a couple of weekends ago for a slice of heaven from Seattle Pie Company, the best little pie house in Seattle. And while pie can replace any meal, I figured we could be mature and eat a late lunch first by trying out the new pizza joint Queen Margherita while we were in the neighborhood. It ended up being a little later than we’d planned as QM doesn’t open until 3, so we drove over to the Ballard locks.
This is the place that keeps the salt water from the Puget Sound from mixing with the fresh waters of Lake Union and Lake Washington. I have no idea how that works, but I’m guessing there’s a giant piece of cheese cloth running through those holes up there that gets changed out every couple of days to clean out the salt.
Queen Margherita serves Neopolitan-style pizza. It never would’ve occurred to me that a bona-fide wood-fired oven was lurking inside this place. The strip-mall store-front reminded me of Pomegranate Bistro, but since they also have a big wood-fired oven in their joint, I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised.
I gotta get me one of these to put in my backyard.
The cushions on the chairs and barstools are covered with what feels like burlap sacks with the restaurant’s logo stamped across them. Very cute touch that went well with the Italian bistro decor. It all added to a cozy, more intimate atmosphere that I definitely wasn’t expecting until we’d walked through the door.
While the pizza guy didn’t appear to be Italian, the only other guy in the restaurant certainly was. Fabio, both host and server, was gracious and friendly and a little frazzled. Even though Fabio forgot our order and had to ask us twice, it was done with that easy kind of charm where we couldn’t help but forgive him because he’s a friendly guy and we were in no hurry and I just enjoyed sitting, looking around the place.
Caprese ($9) with fresh mozarella, Roma tomatoes, basil, olive oil and balsamic reduction. I have no idea how this tastes, but when I saw Fabio drop it off to the guy at the table next to us, I asked him if I could get a shot before he dug in to it. Luckily for me he wasn’t offended and allowed me to snap away. Unluckily for me, he didn’t offer a bite. So selfish, man.
Good thing Fabio dropped off our appetizer at that point. Is there anything better than cheese? No, no there is not. The Formaggi e Marmelate ($12) has a semi-soft bleu cheese, sheep’s cheese, a chevre, and one more cow’s milk cheese. The only problem with this board was that it ended too soon.
I asked Fabio if the pizzas were enough for two and he said that though they’re large in size, like any Neopolitan-style pizza, they’re pretty thin. We decided to order two and take home the leftovers because the only thing better than pizza for dinner is pizza for breakfast. James must’ve already been thinking about that because he got his with an entire breakfast menu on it.
The Spagnol ($14) comes with chorizo, potato, and two eggs. It was a little too weird for me, and surprisingly not spicy enough. James enjoyed it and said he’d order it again. He said the crust was perfect, the best he’d eaten in Seattle. I didn’t say it out loud, but I didn’t think it was as good as either Pomegrante Bistro or Serious Pie.
I ordered my favorite, pepperoni (#13). I love a good spicy pepperoni on a thin-crusted pizza and this one was delicious. Having never been to Naples, I couldn’t tell you how authentic this style is, however it’s made with San Marzano tomato sauce and fresh mozarella and was baked in that igloo, so as far as bona fide in Seattle, I’m thinking this is as close as it gets.
With service as friendly and caring as Fabio’s, this is a place I’d go just knowing beforehand that I’m going to be comfortable and enjoy myself in a family-style atmsophere. The food’s good, the service is warm and friendly, and I can’t wait to go back.
The dessert menu offers the obligatory gelato, tiramisu, and a nutellla pizza. Having never been one for any of these desserts, I was happy nothing would keep us from going next door to the Seattle Pie Company for some American pie.
It’s a pretty neighborhood, but there really has to be a reason to find myself in Magnolia. It’s not like we’re cruising around and suddenly find ourselves way off on the other side of Seattle. Maybe that’s why it took us so long to find Alyssa Lewis and her family of phenomenal bakers. And when I say family, I mean Alyssa’s son sold us a slice of pie, her husband whipped us up some whipped cream (I’m a little embarrassed about that, more later), and Alyssa was busy speaking to a customer with what was evidently the newest member of the Lewis clan strapped across her front. I’m pretty sure the baby does the crimping while Alyssa piles in the innards of the pies.
It was our second visit to Seattle Pie Company and having asked for to-go boxes for over half of our pizzas, we’d saved room for some pie. Like anybody has to save room for pie. For me, the perfect pie is cherry with some kind of sweetened cream on top–whipped, ice, or, uh, yeah. Cream. However, I don’t like cream pies. I have no idea who invented meringue and while it’s beautiful when it’s been toasted, it’s still egg whites. Ew.
Voted Seattle’s Best Pie by Seattle Magazine for the last two years (they’ve only been open for the past two years), I can easily say that after only one visit, I agree wholeheartedly that this is the best place in Seattle to get pie.
This is a slice of the cherry crumb ($3.5/slice, $16.41/whole). James loves the crumble toppings on pies and cobblers and SPC’s is not too soft, just the right amount of crunchewy to have him at the first bite. The cherry filling is amazing. I had been worried about SPC not having cherry pie as we’d visited another pie shop a few weeks prior to our first visit here in February and they had been out of cherry pie because there were no local cherries. Alyssa said that she couldn’t go without cherries because there would be an uprising among her customers, and after a bite of the pie, I could tell why.
The sour cherry (all fruit pies are $3.5, cream pies are $5/slice, $19.75/whole) is my favorite because if I wanted cobbler, I’d order cobbler. I don’t want crumb topping, I want pie crust. Not too much, just the proper filling to crust ratio, which Alyssa and her pie posse has down to an art. I mentioned to her that I’d visited a new pie place on Capitol Hill and had actually had pie in a jar, which sounded like a cute concept but hadn’t worked because all I got was mostly crust, not enough filling. Not so with Seattle Pie Company pie. The fantastic cherry filling is tart and tangy and the crust is flaky and phenomenal.
When I’d ordered the pie, I asked for whipped cream. There was a quiet pause and I wasn’t certain if I’d insulted the cook. They’ve gotta know that a good whipped cream on top only brings out how wonderful the pie can be. I assured them it was ok, I didn’t really need it, and we took our pie over to our table to enjoy it. Naked. After a couple of bites, Alyssa and Patrick’s son brought over a saucer of freshly whipped cream and I really did feel embarrassed for having them go through the trouble. But after the first bite, I no longer felt guilty because the creamy sweetness in contrast to the crusty tart of the pie was stinking awesome.
While I was digging into the piece of perfection, refusing to feel guilty because it was just one piece, right?, I saw two girls make their way to a table near us and watched as they cracked open their own cream pie (chocolate) and didn’t bother with plates, just dug in.
No shame, no apologies, just forks in pie and going for it. Ohhh, to be young and OD’ing on pie. Good times.
This Pie² corner in Magnolia is a great spot for a Saturday afternoon sweet and savory treat. The hospitality in both places is personable, professional, and palatable. Really good times.