Yes, I am a little late to the game, but have you heard the news? Nashville has a fantastic new pizza spot that although much different, may just help you overcome the loss of the unforgettable Joey’s House of Pizza. The place I am talking about is Smith and Lentz Brewing and Pizza and it resides over in East Nashville. And upon your arrival, don’t let all those big beer-brewing devices fool you. This place is serious about its pizza.
My initial visit was on my birthday when Mrs. Pie let me pick the venue. I was following up on a tip from my fellow music and pizza aficionado Mike “Grimey” Grimes who first told me about the place. I also received a follow-up referral from Gregory Gillaspie of GaGa’s Grandma Pies’ fame. I guess all those “G’s” were a foreshadowing of the great gourmet pizza I was about to experience.
So, we made it to S&L in the evening and parked right in front of their shiny brick and glass front façade. Forgive me for failing in my East Nashville history, but I don’t recall what the space was before they came into being. Likewise, while it was sure spiffy inside, I could not tell whether the building was new or refurbished.
We grabbed a tall table from which we viewed the large open room which features a long bar to the left and a kitchen and pizza oven in view in the rear. Without hesitation, we ordered the “Cheese Pie” for $24 which listed its ingredients as “crushed tomato, garlic, oregano, mozz, olive oil, parm.”
On first glance, it was hard not to admit that the S&L pie looked strange. In fact, all of the speckled-looking bits on top made it look like it was suffering from some strange disease! However, it didn’t take more than just a few bites for me to wonder when the last time was that I had such a uniquely wonderful and remarkable pizza. After all these years you would have thought that there was no room left for originality in pizza-making but then there was this creation.
The flavor was original, incredible, and likely owes a lot to the large chunks of oregano and garlic scattered on its surface. As the photo below reveals, the crust took a heavy char which contributed to its fine flavor, but surprisingly, said crust was softer than its appearance would suggest. Regardless, it held up firm enough to savor its delightful fluffy taste and texture. The cheese was also spot-on refreshing and not over-provided. The use of crushed tomato instead of sauce made for an interesting blend as well. A delicious experience that left little to take home as leftovers.
Let’s just say that if you love pizza and are visiting Music City, Smith & Lentz needs to be high on your list of places to visit. And for yours truly, it won’t require a birthday for me to revisit this exceptional place!