Earlier this year, the Snob reported on the entry of Night Train Pizza to the close proximity of Nashville’s trendy, but mostly touristy, area known as The Gulch. Well, more recently, a famous Brooklyn pizza joint called Emmy Squared, opened shop in Gulch central, taking over the site of the 404 Kitchen right next to the landmark Music City bluegrass venue, The Station Inn.
I had first thought that the 404, a classy restaurant that took only it’s door number for a name and didn’t even post a sign, had shuttered. However, I have since learned that they have simply moved to a bigger space up the street, and their related boutique 404 Hotel still sits atop Emmy’s.
Nashville was Emmy’s first venture outside of their home base in Brooklyn. (They have since added location #3 in Manhattan’s East Village.) A wife & husband venture, in a strange way, their place got popular in Brooklyn for serving up a Detroit-styled square slice and making a fantastic burger.
If you are not familiar with what Detroit does to its pizza, I would say that it’s a square that’s maybe half as thick as a traditional Sicilian square and is cooked much crisper with a caramelized-cheese layer atop the end crust. It’s what the Jet’s Pizza chain is known for, but please don’t let that scare you away from Emmy’s.
Sometimes it’s hard for the Snob to get wildly excited about any kind of square slices, but Emmy’s Brooklyn pedigree and the initial buzz about the new Nashville spot got my attention. So, not being afraid to step outside of tradition, earlier this year before the thermometer hit triple digits, I grabbed a new musician pal of mine, Jonny P., for an early dinner at Emmy’s. (I later made a return visit with Mrs. Pie just before penning this piece.)
The Gulch is fairly friendly to parkers, and I paid the cheap fare in the lot behind The Old Hippie across the street. Reservations recommended and in hand, we made our way into the small clean and classy room just off the sidewalk. Emmy’s has seating inside affront the bar, in a small front patio and weather-permitting, out front on the sidewalk. All said and done, the smooth style of this place feels just right for the Gulch, and Emmy’s is getting the crowds to prove it.
Saving the burger, which some (including local newspaper The Tennessean) now claim to be the best in Music City, for another time, and skipping over their fine-looking salads, my pal and I went our separate ways for our pizzas. I got the “Red-Classic” with just cheese and tomato sauce ($13) and his was like mine but with some stuff on it.
After a short wait, the pies came served inside metal trays and were placed atop some pizza platforms. They looked enticingly good although perhaps a bit small in size for their price. I liked how the crisp end crust towered over what would prove to be tasty cheese and a slightly sweet tomato sauce blended together down in the valley below.
Cut into six small slices, it was served nice and hot. The crisp end crust was both deliciously crunchy and chewy at the same time, while the insides were a bit “juicy” helping keep something this crisp from being the least bit dry. The soft melted cheese and tomato sauce came together to create a bit of an “ooze” as you ate. The end crust with that caramelized cheese coating on top took the prize as the best part of this pizza. (Jonny P. says that’s what “reeled him in” to like it as well.)
Emmy’s makes one tasty pizza that sure puts Jet’s to shame when it comes to the Detroit-style. But, getting back to basics, it’s still quite un-classic to the Snob and disappoints me as much as its succeeds. It’s just not pizza-like enough to fully satisfy a slice-folder like me. Still, there is something about this happening place and its food that I love. I plan on coming back, and I suggest that you try it was well. Burger for me next time for sure!
PIZZA SNOB RATING ***1/2 Working on a Good Thing
404 12th Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203