Coal Town Pizza in Franklin TN’s Westhaven – Where’s the Coal?

IMG_0878Over on the west side of my hometown, on what we locals call “Old Highway 96,” sits the development known as Westhaven. It’s a rather large somewhat upscale place full of a lot of homes too close together for my comfort. There’s also something a bit “Truman Show” about the sameness of the houses that I am not too fond of. The streets are also like a maze and I kid you not, one night when we were there visiting someone (before iPhone GPS) we could not find our way out without asking a live person for help.

Still, one of the nice things about Westhaven is that in its effort to be somewhat self-contained, they have allowed a handful of local businesses to set up shop. In fact, the Kroger supermarket is the only national chain they have let in. Driving by one day early this year, I was excited to spot from the highway, a newly erected white building with the words “Coal Town Pizza” emblazoned on its side.

If you read this space, you know I love what cooking with coal does to pizza. So, with salivating taste buds, I watched for the opening of Coal Town Pizza. The time finally came when I got Mrs. Pie to take me there for a Fathers’ Day lunch. (Yes, I am still seriously slow in my pizza blogging!)

We got there just after noon time on that special Sunday. Coal Town is an order at the counter place, and it didn’t take long for the Snob to inquire about the fact that there was no coal (or coal oven for that matter) in sight. It was explained to me that they don’t really have a coal oven, but they use a natural gas one that mimics the way coal circulates the heat around the pie giving it that special crispness. Upon hearing this, Mrs. Pie joked as to why they didn’t just call it “Natural Gas Pizza” instead?IMG_0880

IMG_0881Since I have grown to associate coal with Neapolitan Margherita pizzas, I further inquired as to whether I should order their Margherita or Plain Cheese option. I was led to the latter which I went for in the large 14-inch size for $13. Mrs. Pie who is lately staying away from wheat, chose the Cauliflower crust version of the Four Cheese option. (By the way, for the record, I don’t dig cheese blends on my pie.)

These were still strict COVID times, and all pies came in pizza boxes and upon receipt, we took ours to the large, covered patio. Said space sits just beside a comfortable common park area which would have been a great place to take our pies were it not so dang hot.

We both first started with some salads that I would describe as great. My pie, however, would not be worthy of such an adjective. On first glance, inside the box I found a pizza that looked way better on the bottom than it did on the top. It was of near perfect dimensions, with a charred crust indication that it also carried a good crispness. But on top was a glazy layer of off-colored cheese that I knew would not meet my test.

IMG_0884I was right. The cheese was a complete disappointment and plain and simple, failed big-time in the taste department. On the other hand, the “faux-coal” cooked crust was nothing other than spectacular. It was downright delicious and cooked to perfection. It did lack any coal taste for obvious reasons, and I’d also say that the pie was under-sauced as well. Mrs. Pie felt that same way about hers.

Coal Town is a pleasant place and makes a pizza that could be much better. It needs to employ a better cheese and add a little more tomato sauce. Otherwise, it’ll be nothing more than a decent pizza joint for a casual pizza person and not one for the connoisseur or fellow snob.

PIZZA SNOB RATING ***1/2 Working on a Good Thing
Coal Town Pizza
187 Front Street, Suite 103
Franklin, TN 37064
615-807-2445
www.coaltownpizza.com

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