Yellow Brick Goes Thick, Launches Pie of the Tiger
Yellow Brick Pizza is making bold moves in 2021, including the launch of Pie of the Tiger.
For the co-owners of Yellow Brick Pizza, the Short North Tavern—a holdout nestled among newer, trendier bars—has become a lucky charm. Within its walls, Faith Pierce and Robert Silver were recently able to launch a new pizza business, and also solve the riddle of how to close their longtime Olde Towne East location without abandoning the neighborhood.
It all started with a barside conversation between Yellow Brick operations manager Melissa Bell and Tavern owner John Allen. When the pandemic hit, the bar shut down its kitchen for good, but its customers wanted something to eat and started looking elsewhere.
Pierce proposed a pop-up that would operate from the Tavern’s kitchen, and Pie of the Tiger was born. It is now open seven days a week “until John Allen gets sick of me,” Pierce says.
The dimly lit tavern is also where representatives from the new Trolley District development approached the pair about opening a location at the new East Market food hall in Franklin Park. Pierce calls the opportunity “serendipitous.” (She and Silver have since closed their OTE shop to focus on their new Franklinton location and will open in the Trolley District later this year.)
Pie of the Tiger started out as a fix for hungry bar patrons but has grown beyond the Tavern’s walls, thanks to creative pizzas, an active Instagram account (@pieofthetigerofficial) and easy carryout, including curbside service on Brickel Street. Those dining in can order and pay directly from a kitchen door-turned-window. The menu changes often but always features fried food, sandwiches and Sicilian-style deep dish pizzas. The 8-inch pizzas are square-cut but not Columbus- (read: Donatos-) style. Instead, they are cut into four squares featuring a thick crust (baked in a convection oven) with delightfully caramelized edges. The crust is close to three-quarters of an inch tall, and the base-to-topping ratio depends on the thickness of your toppings.
For Dill Thrill ($12), the top layer is almost swallowed by the crust. This pickle-laden Pie of the Tiger standard comes with garlic, provolone, hot sauce and Ohio’s unofficial condiment: ranch. The sweet and tangy pickles are the clear star. The combination creates a Nashville-hot-chicken-minus-the-chicken experience.
One special that I hope will return is the Schmear Campaign ($17). The pile of smoked salmon, freshly cut Roma tomatoes, melty cream cheese, house-pickled red onions, whole peppercorns, capers and delicate microgreens easily make up half the height of the pizza. The effort put into the Schmear Campaign indicates that this is not merely bar food.
There are a few stand-out appetizers. Most notable are the Tiger Balls ($6 for five), which are savory, Parmesan-crusted doughnut holes served in a bath of sweet tomato sauce. The Pickle Fries ($9) are intriguing but were sold out by 7:20 p.m. when I dined in.
Sandwiches should not be overlooked. One June special, Thicc Cat ($16), was a physical impossibility. There should be no way that the fillings—an orange and drippy Tiger sauce, capicola, smoked ham, pepperoni, bacon, cheddar, banana peppers, tomatoes and, yes, four fried mozzarella sticks—could fit inside the crusty 8-inch bun, but they somehow did, and I ate it with some help.
Pie of the Tiger is not the place to go for a light meal. It’s a place to go to soak up some booze and occasionally find incredible, creative pizzas made with care. I recommend you stop by. Besides, as Yellow Brick’s owners will tell you, fortuitous things happen at Short North Tavern.
Pie of the Tiger
(Inside Short North Tavern)
674 N. High St., Short North, 380-210-0197
This story is from the August 2021 issue of Columbus Monthly.