Monday, April 29, 2013


A good foodie friend of mine lives in Dripping Springs, and has always lamented the lack of quality restaurants in her area. Well, things are a changin'. Pieous, a pizza spot, has opened on Hwy. 290 just before the Nutty Brown Cafe if you're coming from Austin. And while it's not actually in Dripping, it's close enough that my friend has now been several times, and invited me to go with her last Sunday.

It's a cute red building and a big dirt lot in front with plenty of parking. When you walk inside, it's a nice open room with a mix of communal seating, counter seating, regular tables and even a patio.
You go to the back corner to study the menu and order. Now they've only been open about two months, but there were no paper/printed menus to hold in-hand and look at, as all the menu items are listed on the chalkboard. I think if I hadn't been there with friends who had been a number of times, I would have been a bit overwhelmed! I hope they will consider adding some printed menus because it got crowded up at the counter, and if you're a few people deep in line, you can't read the board. Now I swear I didn't notice this before on their Facebook page, but there is a link to their menu items.
Here's the pizza menu and your choice of toppings.
We ordered the Fat Queen, which has sopressata, pepperoni, and sausage, and as you can see, nice amount of toppings. The pizzas are probably about 12" (maybe a bit bigger?) in diameter. One pizza and a salad would probably be good for two people. (But we were three hungry people, and not afraid of leftovers.) The pizzas cook very quickly in their wood-fired oven. The outer crust is lightly crisp and nice an chewy. You can taste the yeastiness of the crust. I would have liked the bottom crust to have been a bit crisper, but this is still extremely good pizza.
And we had the Bacon Bleu, with bacon marmalade, gorgonzola and mozzarella cheeses, and arugula. As you can see, there was plenty of arugula, but not quite enough bacon marmalade. Being the bacon lover, I wanted more bacony goodness distributed more evenly across the crust. But when you did get a bite of the sweet and salty bacon jam, the lightly bitter arugula, and the pungency of the bleu cheese, you had a near-perfect mouthful of food.
Pieous occupies the old Cartwright's BBQ spot, and when they went out of business, they also left their smoker.  Pieous realized they couldn't just leave it there unattended, so they are smoking some beef and making pastrami. And not just any pastrami, really good, moist pastrami, that's almost like a brisket.  I've never really been a pastrami eater, but my friends insisted that we get the pastrami plate! I think I am now a pastrami convert! Very moist, tender pastrami, lightly pickled onions, a couple of mustards, and some sourdough bread. It's also generous portion of meat for under $11. 
The husband and wife owners also came around to check on their customers and to make sure everything was to your liking. They have three young children, so it's a very child-friendly place. So much so, that one whole section of their beautiful chalk art decorated interior is a corner for kids to draw on. I loved all the chalk art, but more importantly, it also tells a story about their food.
They also offer a variety of desserts. See the cookie under the middle dome? It completely filled a standard white paper plate! Tasted like it was made with butter too.
So take a little drive just west of town. Pieous has a different style of pizza than the "other" popular places in Austin; it's not cracker-crust thin, or uniformly crispy throughout, or huge slices that you fold in half to eat. These are special creations. And as you would expect with a small family-owned artisinal business, you can see and taste the pride that went into making your food. And yes, Pieous pizza does make you happy.