This review also appeared in The Florida Times-Union
Your Pie, a chain based in Athens, Ga., has opened its second Jacksonville location, this one in Tapestry Park on the Southside. Franchisees opened the first on Fleming Island in March. A new entry to Jacksonville’s burgeoning build-your-own quick-service category, Your Pie steps it up from the usual sandwiches and salads to personal pizzas made to order.
The ordering process should be old hat to anyone who has ever eaten at a Subway, and customizable options include dough (including gluten free for an additional charge), sauce, cheese, vegetables (unlimited) and meats ($1 each). The pizza dough is stretched and tossed before your eyes and slides into a large brick oven to bake. Pies are ready for consumption in under five minutes and start at $6.95 for a 10-inch pizza. Paninis and bread bowl salads are available at the same base price, making it a great option for a quick lunch.
A lunch visit with coworkers provided the opportunity to hear a range of opinions on the pies, and all were positive. I found the pizza quality closer to the crowd-pleasing Mellow Mushroom than, say, upscale fare like Pele’s Wood Fire, which was not unexpected at this price point.
I was the lone orderer of a specialty pie, The Nat on wheat (fresh basil pesto sauce, mozzarella, feta, grilled chicken, spinach, and sun-dried tomatoes, $8.95). I liked that the crust was somewhat thin but crisp and substantial enough to not collapse beneath the toppings. Another thumbs up was earned when it didn’t become soggy as I munched my way through the lunch hour.
My coworkers’ orders ran the gamut of Your Pie’s offerings, from a 50/50 pesto/olive oil base and chipotle pesto sauce (“has a kick, but not overly spicy”), to a good portion of the vegetable options (all described as “very fresh”). We all thought the 10-inch pizza was the perfect size for a filling lunch and didn’t even require a side (though side salads, cheese sticks and chips are available starting at $1.35).
Although a side was not required, that didn’t mean I could pass on trying Your Pie’s gelato selection ($2.75 for a small, $3.75 as a combo). This brought the only disappointment of the meal. I sampled the pistachio and found it more sugary than nutty, and decided to go with a salted caramel/tiramisu blend. Both flavors were decent, but were nowhere near the creamy texture and intense flavor of a truly good gelato. Coworkers sampled the fruit sorbets and offered similar critiques.
As the restaurant is newly opened, it was sparsely populated during our meal. I’m interested to see how they will handle a true lunch crush, as patrons deliberating over pizza toppings could back the line up. The personal pizzas at Your Pie are a clear draw for families, and a bonus for parents: a craft beer and wine menu, 2-for-1 during happy hour (weekdays 3-7 p.m. and all day Sunday).