Hello to The Kind Pie in Buckhead. You see, crave worthy deliciousness is something we all obsess about. While achieving that meditative state is difficult and rare, when we do stumble upon such wonderful morsels of yum, those of us lucky enough to have the time will do what we can to feed that obsession [case in point: 3x visits in nine days]. Amongst foodies in the Dirty, nothing seems to draw us out more than the opportunity to expand our waistlines and spike our cholesterol at the mercy of the pizza gods.
Being the creatures of habit that we happen to be, many of us have started to make our way over to The Kind Pie. Within 24-hour of my initial notation on the place, @EggRollStan started abusing TKP’s gratis delivery service, The Bliss followed shortly thereafter, and Live to Feast oozed all over it just a few days later. At the tail end, even the mainstream media is on the trail (ATL Mag’s Bill Addison has been over for a meal). While we wait for further dissemination by foodies, cavorters, and grublets alike, early impressions from this guy are that TKP should easily be considered amongst the best pizza pushing drug dealers in the city.
Located just of Peachtree on East Paces Ferry, TKP has a prime Buckhead location. As I mentioned in the first post on this place, The Kind Pie is actually just a glorified kitchen. While ample in size, you usually won’t find more than one or two people efficiently moving inside. Ordering is done at the window, at which point … you’re kind of left to your own devices. It’s the type of setup that lends itself well to the “underground” cool feel … but it may also lead to long lines if this place picks up as it deserves to. Distinct personality: CHECK!
Two window side tables are all you’ll find here, so if you can’t cop a squat at one of those four seats, car-side consumption may be your best bet. Items are made to order, so don’t rush yourself. If time is of the essence, John (the owner whose last name eludes me at this moment), will gladly take your order over the phone. Better yet, if you live or work in the nearby area, delivery is an option. Though I’ll touch on it a bit later on, of the handful of “gourmet” pizza places in Atlanta … this one travels the best.
If you happen to be reading this on or before April 3rd, I suggest you go by TKP, put in an order, and take a walk to the Atlanta Art Gallery (website). Inside, you’ll find one of the coolest art shows you’ll ever see … they are featuring the artwork of Willard Wigan, who does micro-sculptures. If you have no idea who he is … check out this video. At $5, it’s easily the best bang for your buck that I can think of. Nothing better than to enrich your mind as you prepare to enrich your gut. IN OTHERWORDS: GET THERE NOW!!!!!
The menu at TKP is a bit more expansive than its counterpart at many of the other ATL pizza joints. In addition to a handful of starters, you’ll see a bevy of sandwiches, a slew of pastas, and several concocted pizzas of interest. Everything here is constructed out of über quality ingredients (like 100% Buffalo Milk Mozzarella and San Marzano (DOP) tomatoes) and all of the pizzas can be had with gluten-free dough.
The apps and salads all look appealing, but with such a wide selection of items – I have yet to dive in. The sandwich choices include creative (and humorous) samplings like The Fugazi (Donnie Brasco anyone?) and the Doreen Di Moochi. Whether or not you like the guido-loving humor of the nomenclature, each sandwich is listed with a full onslaught of ingredients … so there’s no doubt about what you’re about to sample. If these freshly made take on prefab sandwiches don’t satisfy, you can construct your own from a ton of toppings (12 meats, 10 cheeses, 14 vegetables) [You can do this with the pies as well]. To date, I’ve had the Johnny Boy (prosciutto di parma, soprasetta, etc.. – $11), the Doreen Di Moochi (chicken paillard – $8), and the Harry (breaded chicken cutlet – $9).
My first impression of the sandwiches was very positive, especially when you considering that they were consumed several hours after assembly. Though they had lost a great deal (as is the law of physics), the ingredients showed a great deal of promise and the bread held up pretty well. On the spot, the gap in quality was not as pronounced as I had hoped. The ingredients themselves were top notch, but the constituent of assembled goods didn’t snap together as I expected. Dissected and picked apart, I’ve found all of the flavor combinations to be spot on. Unfortunately, the bread, while very good on its own, tends to drown out the flavors of what’s inside. It’s loosely based on ciabatta and is baked on site. So while the ingredients are great, and the bread is wonderful on its own, the sandwiches need a little more punch. Also of note, in the case of the chicken cutlet sandwich, I found the chicken a bit on the dry side. While a place like Noon Midtown or Star Provisions are a better choice for sandwiches, you can’t truly fault anyone that puts out eye-porn like this. They just look great in the sun!
As we reminisce about my one throw down at TKP, it’s time we visit with the “Cool Hand Luke” ($16), one of TKP’s two versions of spaghetti with meatballs. Served in a paper-based container, an ample portion of fresh, yet wonderfully al dente pasta was coated with a heavy cream sauce and topped with several plump meatballs. Concocted out of Berkshire pork and White Oak Pastures beef, the meatballs road a pasta wave of flavor. Bites were clean, yet backed with a good bit of punch. Though I go gaga for meatballs that include the holy trio of beef, pork, and veal … these were very good. The sauce, which is listed as Uncle Joe’s gravy, was reminiscent of a Vodka sauce. It was cooked perfectly, not too sweet, and was very subtle against the meat and pasta. While I usually go very light on the sauce, there was nothing to fault in the amount used here. It seems as good a time as any to mention that the utensils at TKP are all biodegradable.
But you inquire: “What about the pizza?” In fact, much of this eating and cavorting was done after I had inhaled one of the best pies I’ve had in some time. Our straight forward and to the point margarita ($15) was so good that I got up and did a jig. I’m not kidding, I really did. These pies, which can take upwards of 30 to 45 minutes to get, are chock-full of awesomeness. They only come in one size, so helps reduce the burden to make yet another choice. As John will tell you, depending on how the dough is stretching at the time, your pizza will probably come in around 16 to 18 inches.
Owner John’s inspiration is clear and deliberate: Brian Spangler and Apizza Scholls is this guys Buddha. What that means here is that the dough won’t be quite as bready as it is at that one place, while it will be slightly denser than it is at that other place. :-) There’s a complexity in the bite that may not hit a home run with everyone who tries it, but … it’s well executed. For me, as with the other great versions of the variant, I love it. The crust on our one sampling came out perfectly crisped, maintained good texture, and was creamy and demonstrative at the same time. Though not my favorite crust in town … it’s awesome.
Meanwhile, the ingredients on this pie were krazy good. This excellence was further accentuated by the Lego-like precision in which the flavors and spices were balanced. The mozzarella was outstanding, as any good mozzarella should be, and the sauce didn’t over power. Instead, each ingredient played its roll, and the ensemble performance was an example of beautiful direction.
When you add the passion and approachability of the owner, the high quality ingredients, and the delicious pizza, TKP is set for success. That they are open until 4am on weekends and they deliver are just two more reasons to say “Love.” This place deserves the long lines, the anxious anticipation, and the rabid following. Time will tell if John can keep it up if/when things get busy. His painstaking care may not translate well to this fast past society we find ourselves in. But, if he can manage to scale the business, keep a smile on his face, and put out a product that at least remotely resembles the deliciousness that I sampled, then Atlanta and TKP are in line for a beautiful romance.