It’s not uncommon for us in our intense negotiations about where to eat, to pull out our phones and start perusing options. Usually not five minutes into the process one of us is cursing in frustration. I bet you can guess why.
How many times have you tried to go to a restaurant website to find out pesky, teeny tiny details like when it's open, or take a look at the menu, or (God forbid) ascertain its address, only to find that information buried behind a giant flash object, or on a page that it has no business being on? I just want to know when you open for lunch, dammit. But I’ll never know because you’ve decided to bury your navigation in some sort of monstrous flash carousel that won’t load. Smooth move, ex-lax.
A good menu, much like a good mobile site, can be hard to pull off. As I mentioned, David and I have had a fair amount of experience viewing restaurant websites, and we’ve seen the good, the bad, and the unusable. While some restaurants seem to be getting wise to the fact a mobile friendly site (Nada finally figured it out this year) is necessary, it’s rare to find a restaurant that seems to get it right from the start, just like with a menu.
So we’re happy to report that Pi’s mobile site is one of the best we’ve seen, and the menu isn’t too shabby either. First, the site, designed by Boxing Clever in St. Louis.
Holy crap! Contact information right on the first page! A phone number! A map to tell me where it's located! The menu, front and center! A big button to order online! All in a nice, simple, high contrast black and white theme that is easy to navigate and devoid of clutter or dancing slices of pizza. This is how you do a mobile site for a restaurant, folks.
Now, on to the menu. We’ve tried Pi’s pizzas twice now (once for takeout, once dine-in), as well as a variety of their appetizers and sides.
While takeout is great, if you’re getting the deep dish style pizza, we recommend you dine-in. They’ve got a nice beer and cocktail selection, so that’s a plus.
Exhibit A: Dining in with a nice adult beverage
We tried the Pi Ravs, which were larger than I thought they would be and (I think) made in house. The tomato sauce on the pizza and appetizers from Pi is top-notch and we really enjoyed it.
We also got the not-so-cinis, which are like arancinis except baked, with fontina, mushrooms and kale. I enjoyed both, though the not-so-cinis are probably the healthier option of the two if you’re into that kind of thing.
We tried the kale-ifornication salad, which comes with toasted chickpeas and pickled onions. David’s had it twice now and really likes it.
I also ordered the beer & cheese soup, which was good, but more of a dip than a soup--it was a little too salty to eat on its own.
Sodium doesn't count as long as you don't know how much it has
When Pi first opened, they had a special pizza with goetta and skyline on it. While I think both on the same pie is overkill, I was very pleased to see goetta as a topping--surprisingly, it’s hard to find around here. While I didn’t see the goetta on the menu during our visit, I asked if they still had some and they’d be willing to put it on my pizza.
Our server responded “We don’t have goetta, but we have gorgonzola so that’s kinda the same thing.”
Erm, no. Busted.
After we explained that goetta was a meat and oats combo, not a cheese, and our server admitted he was from Houston and had no idea what goetta was, he went back to the kitchen to check. I got my goetta. I am very appreciative that Pi made the extra effort, and I want to ask them to take it a step farther--to place goetta on the menu as a regular topping.
If you agree, please let them know on Twitter. Together we can make the dream of goetta St. Louis style pizza a reality! Seriously Pi, you’ve already got Graeter’s ice cream as a dessert on the menu. Let’s go whole hog (pun intended) here and embrace the Cincinnati spirit.
David and I will be back to Pi to try the thin crust pizza, and I like that they have gluten free crust as well as a lot of vegetarian options. A thing to note about the deep dish pizzas--they take some time to cook, so if you’re in a rush, call ahead (or order on their aforementioned mobile site) or order some Pi Ravs instead.