Another week, another new pizza place. Element Pizza opened yesterday on a fairly desolate stretch of Third Street Downtown, so this place definitely has its work cut out in terms of building a customer base.
Element is located in the building that used to house the Plugged Nickel, and I'm glad the new owners kept the feel of the building's former tenant by replicated the frontier-like font on the sign.
Initial thoughts: It's definitely great to have another pizza option Downtown. Element is smart to offer personal-sized pizzas until 3 p.m., which will appeal to the Downtown lunch crowd. The pizzas have very creative topping combinations, and some worked better than others. I liked the pizzas with tomato sauce better than the ones with no sauce.
The group favorite of the four pizzas we tried was the Capicola, pictured at top. It has big discs of delicious capicola plus local hard salami, and those heavy hitters stand up the best against the sauce, a sweet tomatoey sauce with a lot of flavor.
Here's what else we tried:
The Element Salad, with arugula, bibb lettuce, housemade bacon (it's featured on many of the dishes, and it works especially well on this salad), fresh mozzarella and a poached egg (a nice touch). A housemade Caesar dressing was a hit around the table.
House Sausage pizza ($6 for personal pie), with housemade fennel sausage, roasted onions, parmesan and tomato sauce. This one was good, but could've used a little more cheese.
Meat & Potatoes ($7 for personal), topped with house-cured bacon, big slices of roasted potatoes, parmesan and olive oil. There was just a little too much potato for me, but others in my group enjoyed it.
And the Apple & Onion ($6 for personal), our wild card pick, topped with roasted yellow onions, granny smith apples, parmesan and olive oil. This one needed a little something else, either a sauce, or some spice or some herbs.
It'll be interested to see how this place evolves. They're open until 10 p.m. most nights and will be getting a liquor license soon, so it sounds like they're going to try to appeal to both the lunch and the dinner crowds.
A look at the rest of the menu:
STARTERS Crispy Chickpeas, $4.50 Semolina Crusted Calamari, $7.50 Fried Eggplant, $5.50: Eggplant chips with a house aioli
SALADS Arugula House Salad, $7: toasted almonds, goat cheese, balsamic dressing Radicchio Spinach Salad, $6: topped with housemade croutons and roasted red pepper vinaigrette Element Salad, $6.50: housemade bacon, fresh mozzarella, a poached egg and housemade Caesar dressing.
PANINIS (lunch only) Roasted Red Pepper, $6: crimini mushrooms, provolone, whole grain mustard Italiano, $6: mortadella, local hard salami, pepperoni, provolone Supreme, $6.50: bacon, arugula, onion, fresh mozzarella, balsamic Pastrami, $7: roasted red peppers, provolone, whole grain mustard Smoked Turkey Breast & Bacon, $6: provolone, aioli
PIZZA House Sausage: Housemade fennel sausage, roasted onion, parmesan, tomato sauce Salami: local hard salami, cured olives, parmesan, tomato sauce Americano: local pepperoni, crushed red pepper, fresh mozzarella, tomato sauce Spicy Mortadella: mortadella, crushed red pepper, parmesan, tomato sauce Tuna: tuna, cured olives, fresh mozzarella, olive oil Crimini Mushroom: mushrooms, garlic, fresh mozzarella, tomato sauce Apple & Onion: roasted yellow onions, granny smith apples, parmesan, olive oil Meat & Potatoes: house-cured bacon, potatoes, parmesan, olive oil Capicola: capicola, local hard salami, parmesan, tomato sauce The Anchovy: roasted onions, salty anchovies, fresh mozzarella, olive oil Parma: prosciutto, almonds, raisins, fresh mozzarella, balsamic Arugula: bacon, arugula, olive oil, balsamic
Element Pizza 250 N. Third St., Downtown 614-232-8871 elementpizzabar.com Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Saturday