Pizza worth waiting for

Fourth Street has its share of new and trendy spots to dine and imbibe. Nick Gore's GoreMade Pizza, which opened last September, feels like it's been a neighborhood staple for decades. The wood-fired pizza joint—a cart-to-table success story—is pleasantly lacking in subway tile, Edison bulbs and succulents. The focal point of the dark, bare-bones restaurant is a sizable wood-fired pizza oven imported from Italy. It's all about the pizza.

GoreMade's fold-and-eat slices—filled crust to crust with locally sourced and seasonal ingredients—please both crust people and toppings people alike. The simple menu features a small selection of suggested pizza options (with punny and insider-y joke names like Clintonvillain, named after a Facebook group for Clintonville's snarkiest), salads and a charcuterie board.

GoreMade's menu also takes a page from Alana's Food and Wine with a surprise pie ($18), a chef's whim that comes with a $2 upcharge. I wasn't surprised to find my order of the latter to be topped with many items adorning the “seasonal toppings” scrawled on a chalkboard: an enjoyable combination of Brussels sprouts, tangy Peppadew peppers (a new-to-me pizza topping), smoky bacon and squash sauce (a GoreMade original), topped with a balsamic glaze. The combo of ingredients showcased Gore's mastery as a chef and was well worth the extra fee.

Another must-have is the Annie Social ($16). Its decadent toppings of bacon, feta and red onion (“basically fat and salt,” said a friend) don't seem too bad for you when balanced with a crust so thin that each bite makes you hungrier.

Service can be sluggish due to a combination of a sparse wait staff and a backlog at the pizza oven. If you go in super hungry, keep in mind that the charcuterie board ($14)—expertly made with meats and cheeses familiar to patrons of the local farmers markets—features warm cheese-topped crust that has to be wood-fired, and thus needs to queue up for the oven just like the pies. Order a salad (market price) to start. This generous pile of flavorful greens lightly mixed with a sweet dressing will help stave off the hunger pangs while you wait. Or better yet, enjoy a cocktail from the bar (or an Ohio-sourced beer) and slow down for a leisurely dinner. It's well worth the wait.