PW Pizza, 2017 Choteau Ave., 241-7799

With the plethora of pies available in the Lou, it takes a lot for a pizza place to stand out, but since opening last summer, PW Pizza has managed to elevate itself above the fray. The restaurant is the latest culinary endeavor from Paul and Wendy Hamilton (hence the PW), the duo behind a multitude of popular local eateries such as Eleven Eleven Mississippi. The new restaurant shares space with some of the  Hamiltons’ other endeavors: Vin de Set, Moulin Events and The Malthouse Cellar, in the historic Centennial Malt House building at 2017 Choteau Ave.

We stopped in early one night without calling ahead, and the place was packed. The food, though, was worth the wait. We began with an order of Pop’s Meatballs ($8) from the Appetizers list. This spicy starter featured a substantial portion with plenty of tangy marinara sauce and pecorino romano cheese. We then split a small version of the Our House salad ($5, large available for $8). The small was definitely big enough for two to share. It was a hearty mix of greens, pepperoni, tomato, red onions, peperoncini and pecorino romano, all tastefully dressed with a tangy vinaigrette.

The menu also boasted a good selection of roasted oven sandwiches and calzones, which we made a note to try next time around. On this visit, though, we wanted to focus on the pizza! The pizzas available were all the same size, and yielded eight good-sized slices. The PW menu offered a build-your-own option, with a ton of topping choices, and original, honey wheat or gluten-free crust varieties. Daiya cheese substitute was available for those who don’t do dairy. There also were a multitude of pizzas with toppings already picked out under sections like Paul’s Picks, Wendy’s Fav’s, Classics and Chef’s Choice. With that many choices, we decided to try two variations on one pizza, so we ordered one that was half Spicy Lei from Chef’s Choice ($7, full available for $14) and half Pepperoni from Classics ($6, full available for $12). On the Spicy Lei side, we had tomato sauce, a really nice house-made chorizo with a hint of cinnamon, fresh pineapple and mozzarella. The pepperoni side had plenty of the namesake meat, as well as oregano and mozzarella. Despite the variety of ingredients, all of the elements on our pizza were cooked well.

We capped off our meal with a huge slice of Chocolate ‘Urban Chestnut Stout’ Cake ($5), made with that tasty local brew. It was rich and dense, and we had to pace ourselves accordingly after all that pizza!

The bar at PW only served beer and wine, but we were told customers could bring cocktails in from Vin de Set, if desired. But with some 40 beers in cans or bottles and eight more on draft, and 11 wines by the glass on hand, we found we didn’t need any additional beverage options!

We also were extremely impressed with the way the kitchen got our food out so quickly, despite the crowded dining room, and our waitress was  extremely friendly  and attentive. Combine that with great food, and we think PW Pizza ranks with the best of the local pizza purveyors.

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