Finally…I’ve been trying to make it to Pies + Pints for weeks now. After a failed attempt two Friday’s ago…when the wait for 6 people was over an hour and a half at 7:00 PM because of the Travis Tritt concert…who knew he was still making music. Maybe if I followed country music (which I don’t) then I’d be up on this. But this post isn’t about music so let’s dive into that I thought of my Pies + Pints visit.
To start, the location is fabulous. You guys already know I’m an advocate for new anything downtown and I love seeing Victorian Square (now known as The Square) being brought back to life. I’d be super happy if we could get the carousal back and open a carousal bar but that’s a whole different topic. The place is full of exposed brick (love!), cool murals, TV’s in some areas but not all, and giant BEER and PIZZA signs. There is an entrance to the street and to The Square which will be nice on those chilly days when the waiting area is too packed.
A+ on the ambiance and decor. I’ll happily take a brick wall with any of these murals in my downtown loft (that I don’t live in…but wish I did!)
(Sorry in advance for the iPhone photos…I wasn’t prepared for this visit as it was an impulse decision after a movie!)
The bar is located right by the Main Street entrance. Perfect for grabbing a beer or glass of wine while you wait. There are a ton of beers on tap, including some of your local craft brews. Also (it’s hard to tell in this photo) but on the “beer board” there are kegs icons to the far right of each beer that are either green (full), yellow (running down), or red (almost out) and along the bottom of the board runs the beers that will be tapped soon. You’ll be provided a pretty extensive beer list when you are seated, just note that some brews might not be available as some things run out.
Also a tip, you can sample any beer for a quarter! Yes, that’s $.25. Looks to be 1-2 ounces but enough to tell if you like something or not…it’s always sucks to try something new, hating it, and wasting $5 on a beer you don’t even want to drink. Pies + Pints also has Hudy on tap for $2. Win!
Let’s dive into the menu. The wings and pizza skins were highly recommended by our server. I could care less for wings (it’s a meat and bone issue…) and we really didn’t want to waste too much time eating filling food when we had pizzas coming to devour. We did however have about 30 minutes to kill as we waited on 2 of our friends so we opted for the garlic bread. The appetizer came pretty quickly, with six individual pieces of bread, covered with cheese sauce and marinara. Tasty, but nothing to rave over. It’s bread, cheese and marinara…really can you mess up those three things?
The pizza options are pretty extensive and sort of overwhelming on your first visit. There are basic pie options (white pie, pepperoni, etc.), specialty pies (seen below) or build your own. I have mostly heard people raving over the Grape & Gorgonzola and the Mediterranean Shrimp was peaking my interests…I settled on the Grape & Gorgonzola (small), Mr. Love Lexington went for the Chicken Gouda (also small), and our friends got the full size Cuban Pork and Steak & Mushroom.
The wait for our pizza’s to come out was not any longer than any other sit down pizza restaurant. Maybe around 30 minutes (I didn’t time it…but should have). A few of us had requested a doughy crust (for fear that they would come out over done after one persons previous visit) and they all came out normal (not doughy or under-cooked as requested). The menu states crisp and chewy…which I guess it delivered on. They did offer to recook Mr. Love Lexington’s as it was pretty crispy but that would have been another 30 minutes so he just kept it. I like a thin crust (which this was) but like my edges a little fluffier. These edges were still cripsy.
The Grape & Gorgonzola was good but more than one piece was probably too much for my liking. The grapes however were a nice burst of flavor with the blue cheese. I could see really liking this pizza if splitting different pies with others at the table. Gorgonzola is just too much for one full pie, eaten alone. I ended up sharing slices so that I could try all the pizzas on the table.
The Cuban Pork was by far my favorite of all the pies we ordered. The pineapple, pork, onions, feta (etc…) was a burst of flavor for your mouth! It kind of reminded me of El Habenero’s food truck pork quesadilla (which I love!). I would definitely recommend this pie! The Chicken Gouda was a good pick as well with loads of toppings and flavor.
Overall, the pizza’s were good, but I honestly expected more with the way everyone has been raving about Pies + Pints. The larger versions of the pie seem to have a better crust then the small ones (*note that when you order…might be better to do a 1/2 and 1/2 in the large pie). Nothing about the crust really blew me away considering it makes a statement about the crust flavoring in the menu…just tasted like pizza dough to me.
Pizzas/Menu=B (Again it was decent pizza, but if we are rating them against other’s in town there are pizza joints I would prefer to this one.)
Overall, service was mediocre. Upon arrival, 4 of us where there in the to-be party of 6. One of us immediately went to the bathroom when our waiter came. Instead of offering waters or to begin taking drink orders, the waiter just said “I’ll come back when your other person comes out of the bathroom and explain everything” and off he went. 2/4 of us had already been there and wanted to sample beers, which could have been done without all 4 of us being at the table.
Nothing seemed super urgent. It took a little longer than I would expect to get drink refills and/or new beers. An empty starbucks cup and empty appetizer dish sat on our table until right as our pizzas were coming out (when I finally requested they be taken away).
I also ordered a glass of the house red wine, which was a nice table wine and would have paired nicely with the pizza (I’m not too picky on wine as long as it’s not too bold of a red). I was never offered to get a new one (which in the server world seems like a no-brainer…more wine=more money=more tip) so I opted to just have my water refilled (which I also had to ask to be done once it was empty).
Would I go back? Absolutely! My service wasn’t so bad that I’d never step back into the place but do be prepared and know…it’s a new restaurant, there is a lot of hype around it, a lot of people are trying to eat there, and a obviously new staff still learning the ropes. I do find that a few months of business helps everyone settle into their routines and can up the standard of service.
Maybe my standards are too high?…I’ve yet to find a place in Lexington that blows me away…even some of my favorite spots have mediocre service.
I like to be real with you guys so I hope you can appreciate that. Pies + Pints would still be a place I’d urge you to give a try. What I love/hate might be something someone else feels the exact opposite about and that is absolutely ok!