Saturday, April 19, 2014 · 1:33 p.m.

Date Night Dining: Community Pie

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New York-style pizza is finally at Community Pie. The Demarco (cheese and basil) was the slice of the day. (Photo: Staff)

The idea behind this series is fairly simple: My girlfriend and I will go out to eat at a Chattanooga-area restaurant and then describe our dining experience there. Keep in mind that this is not a food review per se, but instead an attempt to relate to readers our single, one-time experience at a restaurant. It just is what it is, as they say. There will also be pictures. Lots of pictures.

About us
I am a 30-year-old voracious eater of anything weird, while my girlfriend, age 25, is the complete opposite. This makes dining for us a strange affair. I enjoy a tremendous amount of flavor and complexity, but her M.O. is "simple, no frills." These dining adventures will test both of us at various restaurants around Chattanooga. This week, we visited Community Pie for a Sunday brunch featuring the tasty New York-style pizza recently added to the menu and a couple of Neapolitan favorites.

The restaurant
Our Nooga.com office is located in the Loveman’s Building on the same block as Community Pie, which makes frequent dine-ins and takeouts possible on a regular basis. As quickly as it opened, Community Pie became one of my favorite restaurants in town, despite the initial glitches. What has happened is that this restaurant has taken pizza in a completely different direction than what Chattanooga has seen before. The atmosphere is the perfect mix of classy and divey (like some of my other favorite restaurants around town), with quick service and a beer menu that rivals any tap around town. Lauren and I arrived at 11:30 a.m. for a pre-church crowd brunch of pizza and, for myself, a bloody mary. We were also eager to try the New York-style pizza we’d heard so much about. We love the atmosphere, food and staff at Community Pie. This visit was no different.

The bloody mary is very spicy and the perfect end/start to your Sunday morning. (Photo: Staff)

The service
If every restaurant had servers like Community Pie, the world ... well, I don’t really know how to finish that sentence. Let’s just say the service there is always wonderful, and the staff is immediate with recommendations. Our server, Jessica (although Lauren and I are not 100 percent sure on her name), was my favorite kind of server: upbeat, enthusiastic and knowledgeable. The great thing about this restaurant in particular is that the pizzas are cooked at such a high temperature that they can be prepared and served in a matter of minutes. It also means you can sample a few different items without spending an hour in the building. Which is exactly what we did.

Garlic bread knots with marinara dipping sauce. Yes, please. (Photo: Staff)

The appetizer/drinks
"What could be better than knots of bread with garlic?" Lauren asked as we ordered a plate of knots of bread with garlic. "Nothing, maybe love and kisses," I responded. We are cute. Jessica told us about the half-price bloody mary special, and I couldn’t resist—even though I don’t particularly care for bloody marys. Lauren ordered an iced tea. The garlic knots were delicious, as they usually are, with the holy triumvirate of deliciousness: bread, butter and garlic. My bloody mary was VERY spicy, and I regretted it immediately. For fans of bloody mary cocktails, this might be the holy grail. However, for me, the spice was just too much to handle, and I only drank about a quarter of the glass in hesitant sips. The pizza is the star at Community Pie, and we were eager to dig in.

The pizzas
I love the addition of pizza by the slice, available for between $3 and $3.50. Community Pie now offers a daily slice, featuring the opportunity to try a specialty New York-style pizza in smaller quantities. This day, the daily slice was the Demarco, described on the menu as "a tribute to one of the greatest pizza makers in NYC [with] fresh and shredded mozzarella, hand-torn basil, extra virgin olive oil and pecorino romano." Lauren said this was a "really, really good, basic slice of pizza," and I agree. There’s just something about being able to fold a slice of pizza and stuff it into your mouth that is incredibly appealing to me. Each of us ordered a Neapolitan-style pizza to sample. Lauren opted for the simple Margherita pie, which was "so thin you could see light through the crust and toppings if you held it to the light," she said. Jessica suggested to me the chorizo pizza with Spanish chorizo, poblanos, fresh jalapeños, smoked mozzarella and chipotle honey. This pizza rocked my tiny world with flavor. It was savory (chorizo), spicy (poblanos, jalapeños) and smoky. On the back end of each bite, a delicious spicy honey lingered on the taste buds. I may have found a new favorite pizza in town. Thanks for the suggestion, Jessica.

Chorizo Neapolitan-style pizza was among the best pizza I have tasted. (Photo: Staff)

Dessert
Because they are owned by the same person, Mike Monen, patrons can also sample delicious Milk and Honey gelato after their pizza. We chose a chocolate Oreo/milk and honey combo that ended our meal with a sweet and satisfying conclusion. You owe yourself a cup of this delicious gelato.

You cannot go wrong with any flavor combination from Milk and Honey. (Photo: Staff)

Would we go back?
I usually wax on here about a location, but I don’t feel it’s necessary in this case. Community Pie is excellent, and you will no doubt have a fantastic meal. Of course we’ll be back. Our meal was about $50 with tip. 

The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.

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