If you haven’t been by the 7th Street Public Market in the past few weeks, then you haven’t discovered the recently opened Pure Pizza. And now Charlotte Fresh feels sorry for you. Because you are missing out on some really good pizza. And that’s saying something since CF is a born-and-raised Jersey Girl. (But my heart’s all yours now, CLT!) Having said that, you won’t find exactly the kind of NJ/NY pizza parlor pie that I grew up with (which, incidentally, is the best in its category) at Pure Pizza. Instead, you’ll be surprised to encounter a fresher tasting pizza – one with a crust that has a nice chew to it and that showcases beautiful toppings, many locally sourced. A pizza that actually lets you taste all that is on it and in it. WHAT?! Back up the truck – did CF say there’s a pizza that knows how to go local when possible? Yep. Someone pinch me. Meet Charlotte’s farm-to-fork pizzeria.
I am not kidding – CF is really, really picky about pizza. In fact, Hubby and I don’t really go out for pizza anymore. We’ve been making our own at home for years because 1) most crusts make us sad, and 2) we like to put our own local toppings on it, especially goat cheese. (No, goat cheese does not make for a snooty pizza.) So when Hubby said Pure Pizza was opening up, we kept tabs on progress to see if our dreams really could come true.
And it seems they have because owner Juli Ghazi and her business partners/culinary team/advisors (including Chef Peter Reinhart, Austin Crum, Chris Reinhart & Gene DiaPolo) choose to source toppings and ingredients locally whenever possible. For example, Windcrest Farms produce is featured along with Bosky Acres goat cheese and mushrooms from Clover Mushroom Farm (they sell mushrooms at Regional and Matthews). Even the crust is made from Sprouted Ancient Grain and/or unbleached bread flour, both organically grown and milled in North Carolina. Some of the shredded cheese is from NC, too. Swoon. My kind of pizza heaven. Not everything is local, which is understandable. And when not locally sourced, Pure Pizza goes for quality, taste and consistency like with its organic DiNapoli tomato sauce. In speaking with Juli, we learned that she aims to source more and more ingredients locally when possible, and I like that in a restaurant owner. The fact that she will keep trying to do more encourages me to support her.
Hubby and I were right on the scene the first week, and we went for the mighty T-Rex. Yum. Hubby likes meat pizza. Remember, he’s a piglet when it comes to sausage. It didn’t take us long to eat half of a large pie, it was so good. And then we looked longingly at the other half, telling each other to be good and save it for later. The very next week, CF got lazy with cooking… er, busy with work, that’s it… and guess what Hubby brought home for dinner? Pure Pizza. This time, he went for the Wild Mushroom. Yum. Yum. This obsession has to stop…my pizza stone will get jealous.
Pure Pizza’s crust is amazing, and it should be given that Charlotte’s very own Chef Reinhart is an advisor. It’s not a typical NJ/NY crust, (so if you’re picturing that stop it) but a very, very good pizza crust – and you get a little container of honey to dip the crust in if you want to. A nice touch. Choose your crust: Sprouted Ancient Grain, Classic Neapolitan or Gluten-Free Sprouted Ancient Grain. And choose one of many deliciously-designed pies, or make your own with custom toppings.
So scramble over to Pure Pizza when you get your pizza jones. Just don’t cut ahead of me in line or my Jersey might come out.
Where to find it: Uptown at the 7th Street Public Market, 255 E. 7th St., Charlotte, NC 28202. Phone: (980) 207-0037. Hours: Monday to Friday, 11:00am-9:00pm. Saturday 10:00am-9:00pm.