Lately, Mrs. Pie and The Pizza Snob have spent some Saturdays exploring our ever-expanding Nashville. Sipping some juice in the late afternoon over in the hip Germantown district, I went for broke and suggested we grab a nibble at the nearby 312 Pizza Company. Long on my list of pizza places to visit, its name of course refers to the area code for Chicago which as my readers know, is not favored pizza territory for the Snob.
For me, eating Chicago pizza is like the recent presidential election – a lesser of two evils. While I don’t dislike Chicago deep dish, let’s all agree that it’s a casserole, not pizza. So when forced to do as Chicagoans do, I opt for their thin crust (or tavern style). While much less desirable than New York style, I have on occasion found it to be tolerable.
After Mrs. Pie bought into my plan, we disregarded 312’s lovely sleek and modern interior on this pleasant fall afternoon, and opted instead for a table on their small outdoor patio. While waiting to order, I had two thoughts about the significance of eating Chicago pizza today. One was that the Cubs were playing that night at Wrigley Field in the World Series. The other was that many of my friends were in Chicago for an Elvis Costello concert. Having come close to attending the latter, imagine my surprise when our waitress introduced herself as “Alison.”
Peeking inside, 312’s walls were lined with Chicago memorabilia and in honor of this evening, several diners were wearing Cubs jerseys. With many transplants now here and a steady flow of tourists from up north, 312 is one now of several spots offering Chicago pizzas in Nashville. (The Snob has sampled Old Chicago and Little Chicago.)
Not all that hungry, Mrs. Pie and I decided to just split a 12-inch Thin Crust cheese pizza ($12.99). We were in disbelief when told that our pizza would take between 30-40 minutes. While we could understand that for a deep dish, I couldn’t for the thin crust. Well, maybe Alison misspoke since I clocked ours in at a reasonable 19-minute delivery.
There upon arrival it came in that awful crisscross cut of square slices. The bottom crust was pure white and char-free although it did carry some moderate crispness. It was also quite salty—perhaps a tie in to “tavern style” and the need for an accompanying beer? And while I’d hate to be wrong, like some others I have had in this genre, I detected provolone cheese (or at least a mix) as opposed to the usual New York mozzarella.
As much as I disfavor this type of pizza, 312 stands out as the best I’ve had in this style, winning primarily for not being a nasty oily mess. But, for whatever reason, even when I have found a Chicago thin pizza that I have reasonably enjoyed like this one, it never fails that I reach a point where I have had enough (my stomach reaches a screeching halt) and just don’t want any more. That happened here and we left a few crust-less middle pieces behind.
From what I hear, 312’s deep dish is great. So if pizza from the Windy City is your thing, but you instead find yourself in the Music City, this is a place you probably should check out.
PS Conrgats to the Cubbies!
PIZZA SNOB RATING *** ½ Working on a Good Thing
312 Pizza Company
371 Monroe Street
Nashville, TN 37208