Food review: Pieology’s new crust

I hadn’t been to Pieology in a while, but it’s among my favorite pizza places. So when a friend mentioned I had to try the new crust – Pie Rise Crust – I didn’t need more urging. A reason to eat a whole pizza? Why not?

And I wasn’t disappointed. In fact, I went back the next day, and then today, a few days later. The Pie Rise Crust made such an impression on me, that the Little Caesar’s Deep Dish pepperoni pizza now is no longer my favorite. It’s the Pieology Mega Meat on Pie Rise Crust.

Let’s start with that crust. Like the original and the cauliflower Pieology crusts, the area where the pie toppings and cheese sit is thin. But the Pie Rise Crust has a subtle extra depth and crunch along with a chewy kick. Like all their pies, the bottom of the crust carries both a waft and flavor of a hint of smoke that is the result of its bake in an open-fire oven on what appears to be a stony surface. It’s an open-kitchen concept, so you can see all of this happening.

The real treat is the outside crust, which rises and bubbles to a crisp golden finish. Every bite is a crunch into an airy morsel of chewy cheese-stained perfection. It reminds me of a smaller version of crust ends of those pizzas you can buy at corner shops in New York City. This was the winner for me. Every bite of a slice of pizza was in eager anticipation of getting to the crust.

While the flavor of fresh-baked bread as the pizza foundation is delicious, it is thin enough that it doesn’t overpower the toppings.

Guam’s Pieology is consistent. And I generally get the same thing: the Mega Meat. Every pie they’ve made for me has the same amount of marinara sauce and cheese and both those toppings always taste the same, and always are in proportions that compliment each other. Their marinara sauce is tangy with a saltiness that balances out the creaminess of the cheese. And that cheese (which must be mostly mozzarella with a hint of parmesan) is oozy-gooey, with peaks of slightly-burnt areas that add to its rustic flavor.

The pepperoni is pepperoni. I’m glad they were out of meatballs so I could ask them to double up on the bacon. Oh that bacon crisps up in the oven and those juices melt onto the pie creating a new layer of flavor.

The prices at Pieology are perfect for someone with my appetite, but might be a bit stiff for someone who can eat a lot. To put my appetite into perspective, I’m not the kind of person who normally would wax a mountain-piled plate at the fiesta. The $15 or $16 I’d spend on a pizza at Pieology is enough to fill me up with a slice to take home and eat as a snack later (air fry, don’t microwave for the reheat). You can compare that against the $24 large pan Supreme at Pizza Hut, which would be three whole separate meals for me, or a whole Deep Dish pizza at Little Caesars that (if my memory serves me right) is between $10 to $12 depending on their specials. The difference is that once I’m done with three slices of a Pizza Hut or one slice of a Little Caesar’s pizza, the rest languishes in the fridge. I just don’t have it in me to eat that much dough and grease two days in a row.

The restaurant smells of baking savory goodness. Sweet yeast mixing with the crusting of cheese. It’s clean; always clean, which unfortunately is not something that can be said reliably about many Guam restaurants.

One change about the Tamuning Pieology’s operations sticks out to me: on all three days I went the past week, they had only two workers behind the counter and the manager on duty during lunch hour. I remember there being more. Maybe they had to sacrifice hours, shifts, and employees so they could avoid raising prices. After all, food prices have increased dramatically in Guam the past three years. I have to wonder whether that sacrifice might be wearing down the workers, though. I mean, they were busy. They didn’t make any mistakes with my orders, but they also were so urgent about their work, they did not have time to smile. No one was rude or discourteous. But, aside from the manager, no one was personable.

Maybe that’s a generational thing, though. I don’t know. It didn’t offend me. I just noticed it. I also noticed that the pizzas took about 3 minutes to make, 10 minutes to bake, and just a few seconds after that to get in front of me, so I very much appreciate their urgency.

What I failed to do was to fill out one of those suggestion cards (I didn’t check to see if they had any), because I do have one minor complaint. The music at their Tamuning location is too loud, and the acoustics do not help. I’d also ask that they stop playing reggae music, but that’s a bit unfair since that’s really just a personal preference. At least the music wasn’t Nikki Minaj rapping about her anatomy or her newest rivalry. Or Fox News or CNN.

Otherwise, Pieology it is for my next pizza craving, and for the foreseeable future of pizza cravings. And cheese bread. And those refreshing drinks.

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