Dallas’ Pie Tap Is a Lively Pizza Place
Talk about a happening place: Dallas’ Pie Tap Pizza Workshop + Bar was virtually full and the patio was packed during its recent media event. The Design District location is one of the two for what is obviously an expanding chain, and the strength of its business is a reminder that well-run hospitality venues can thrive beyond the boundaries of mainstream locations — this one is on the far western edge of the neighborhood. With such low land pressure up Riverfront (née Industrial) Boulevard, expect to see more hospitality development in this part of Dallas. (Next up for Pie Tap, meanwhile, is Plano’s busiest intersection, Park and Preston.)
This is a pizza place at its core, and Pie Tap produces a fine pie. The crust transitions from thin in the center to a puffy cloud at the edge, and Pie Tap astutely offers a choice of side sauces for crust dipping (goat cheese fondue, house ricotta ranch, and organic marinara). The house specialty prosciutto pizza ($16) is highly recommended — La Quercia prosciutto, medjool dates, pistachio, arugula, and Parmigiano-Reggiano are draped with a band of thin house ricotta and dashes of balsamic vinegar. The prosciutto’s earthy flavor came across especially clearly in our appetizer of spiedini ($10), a mouthwatering satay style serving of melted fontina wrapped in slices of the prosciutto. Cheese and meat — it was angelic. I moved up to the archangel level by dousing the whole thing with the black pepper conveniently provided on the table.
We also tried the pappardelle and Bolognese ($16), one of the house-made pastas. I loved the texture of the pasta, but my advice to chef John Hrinkevich and crew would be to crank up the fennel seed in the Bolognese. In fact, with such strong pasta made here, how about offering one in a cream sauce instead of pomodoro? Linguini carbonara, anyone?
Pie Tap’s newest toy is a rotisserie from France, which — obviously — adds rotisserie chicken to the menu. It is being incorporated into a chicken pie and a chicken melt (great for lunch). Veggies receive top-tier menu status with new sides like cauliflower mash, quinoa and corn, mac and cheese, broccolini and mushrooms, and roasted Calabrian potatoes.
Beverages at Pie Tap are primarily aimed at a cocktail- and beer-drinking clientele. A good selection of cocktails run at a reasonable $10 (approx.) each. The beer selection offers about 20 all-craft brews, many from Dallas. Most interesting, from a personal perspective, was the high quality of the wines. Pizza places with good wine are rare — ironic considering the centrality of wine in pizza’s homeland. Pinot noir from Saintsbury ($13/$65) and chardonnay from Franciscan ($11/$55) were just two examples here. One feature that was so clever that I felt compelled to post it immediately on Facebook was a “wine flight” of any three wines on the wine-by-the-glass list ($14). More restaurants should consider doing this. One tip: Replace the beakers with small wine glasses, maybe stemless examples. With wine, glassware matters.
Customers varied from couples to foursomes to families with children. General manager Rachel Drill explained that a lot of the clientele comes from the new apartment developments in the Design District. Given the new build underway, this augurs well for the future. Tables vary from standard units to high counters served by stools. There is also a bar area.
Out-of-town business travelers and day visitors will be pleased that the Design District location is just a few minutes’ Lyft ride from LUV and just off the freeway from downtown to DFW.
If pizza, good beer or other drinks, and a casual, fun atmosphere are what will make your day and solve your problems, then Pie Tap is your solution.
Noise level (Decibel 10): 84 dB