After you’ve wrapped up a weekend tour of farmers markets, and both your afternoon and your stomach are feeling empty, do yourself a favor and head east. Nestled next to a poster-bombed record store, just out of sight from the prying eyes of the skyline, the pizza-making mothership of East Side Pies (ESP) has set down its anchor. Hop in the line and pray that at least one slice of their farm-to-table pizza is still available. Every Saturday and Sunday morning, ESP co-owners Michael Freid and Noah Polk hit the farmers markets with a sense of creative culinary enthusiasm.
The latest of the local harvest—the very same you’ve just been perusing—fights for their attention with high hopes of being included in this week’s special. Last week, it was the Brussels sprouts and the ever-geometrically gorgeous, purple fractal cauliflower that had the honor. Last summer, it was the peaches and ricotta.
“I made this spicy chimichurri that made your ears ring!” Freid exclaims with ballooned Dizzy Gillespie cheeks and antler hands mimicking steam from his ears. “But with the peaches, it was really good!” So good, in fact, that the whole lot had sold out by day’s end Monday.
Available just by the slice and only at the Rosewood location, ESP’s farm-to-table treasures never hang around long enough to make it to the menu, but there’s still an amazing lineup of regular hitters to please that primed pizza palate of yours. All of the pies share ESP’s Austin-style crust—a Roman-influenced base that’s more like a thin, crisp cracker than a pie crust—and stand ready to cradle ingredients like artichokes, red potatoes, sauerkraut, roasted eggplant, homemade Italian sausage and homemade meatballs. The menu is absolute heaven for those who love to meander through a million options, but to others, it might evoke a feeling of overwhelming panic similar to that of a last minute deadline. Om shanti, amigo. Take a deep breath and simply order a slice with the spinach curry sauce—a stroke of culinary genius inspired by the kids’ Indian takeout order.
“You know, the kids…the kids who work here,” explains Freid. “Every Monday, they come in here with this spinach slop. So, one day we tried it on the pizza. It worked out.” The explanation doesn’t do it justice; it works wonders.
East Side Pies