Every Friday Roots in Alpharetta features an article on food and dining in a series called Foodie Friday. Today we feature an article from Mike Christensen. Thanks to Mike for filling in for me while on vacation. I’m back to blogging next week. -Lee
There are no fewer than 20 pizza places within the 30004 zip code. While that does count national chains like Pizza Hut, it is a staggering number. How can this area support that many pies? Because Americans consume nearly three billion pizzas a year. Here in Alpharetta, we have a wide variety of pizzas to choose from ranging from New York and Chicago style and Neapolitan, to mom and pop joints vs. national chains. It’s pizza mania I tell ya!
The newest contenders for your pepperoni dollar is the unfortunately named Crust, which is situated in the old Alfrescos location on Main Street. I know that the crust is part of the pizza, but it sounds like a medical condition. Not very appetizing.
The layout inside is very much like Alfresco with a bar in the front, mostly tables and a few booths. The materials inside are nice and inviting. Wood beams reclaimed from a place in Woodstock are hung from the ceiling and wood also surrounds several TV’s. Brick and metal round everything out. It’s all very nice. You can tell time was spent on the décor. One nit-pick about the booths. The pad that you sit on does not stay in place as you slide in. It bunched underneath me and cause great shuffling and rearranging to get comfortable.
Enough HGTV, let’s get to the food, man. The menu features salads, pastas, pizzas and sandwiches or rather “crustwiches”. Those are sandwiches on nice and toasty flatbread. I had the meatball crustwich and found it delightful. It featured sliced house made meatballs smothered in cheese and just enough toast on the bread to give tons of flavor. A winner. We also had the mozzarella sticks and garlic knots. The mozzarella sticks were large and flat. Good crunch, but the marinara sauce was weak, watery and a little overloaded on garlic. At least it does come out screaming hot.
The garlic knots were gigantic. Looked like a nearly foot long breadstick tied in a knot covered with garlic butter sauce. Soft and messy. I hate that there were five. It’s always an odd number. My wife and I fought over the last one.
My wife had salads on each occasion. The Greek salad tasted good, but it looked like it had been though a shredder. It was so very hard to eat with a fork, we needed a large spoon. She also had the buffalo chicken salad. The chicken was very spicy and plentiful. The greens were crisp. It was a much better experience than the Greek salad.
Now, to the pizza. I was going to go with my traditional every-mammal-represented all-meat pizza. However I was drawn to the BBQ chicken pizza. I chose wisely. It was outstanding. Chunks of marinated chicken with red onion mixed in with gouda cheese and drizzled with BBQ sauce all combined for a heavenly pizza trip. The red onion was small enough to lend some flavor, but to not overpower the taste or be too crunchy. The fact that the sauce was drizzled on the pizza and not smothered all over was also an advantage. All the flavors were in perfect balance. A symphony of pizza. The crust was the kicker. Slightly sweet with a hint of pretzel. The bottom was thin and crispy, yet was pliable like NY style. I can’t wait to get it again.
Crust seems to be a good fit for Alpharetta. Locally owned, locally sourced ingredients, and pretty darn good pizza. Owner Darren Henderson has a long pedigree in the pizza business. He spent the last four years as at Blue Moon Pizza, and before that was a managing partner at Carrabbas for 13 years. Pizza is no passing fancy for him. The staff has been friendly for the most part. There are local beers from Jekyll and Monday represented as well as liquors from the 13th Colony distillery in Americus.
Crust has the goods to at least outlive it’s predecessor if not continue on for many years.