Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Artisan Pizza Co. (Mars): Take 'N Bake Pizza

About a month ago I learned of a new "take 'n bake" pizza place about to open up in Mars, in the same plaza as McGinnis Sisters and Stonepepper Grill.  I was quite excited about this because one of my favorite places while living in Columbus, OH was Mama Mimi's Take 'N Bake Pizza.  For anyone not familiar with the concept (and it seems the few people who walked into Artisan Pizza Co. while I was there didn't), take 'n bake pizza shops basically put all the raw ingredients on a pizza pie for you and you take it home and bake it yourself.  Because the ingredients are freshly made, the pizzas taste superior compared to frozen pizza, and because the pie is essentially homemade, it is much healthier than delivery.  I think of it as a cheater's version of homemade pizza. ;)

Artisan Pizza Co. opened just two weeks ago on May 4, 2011.  I was out of food at home this past weekend and had no time to shop or cook, so I thought it'd be a good excuse to pay a visit to Artisan to see what they have to offer.  Here are a couple pictures of the menu I snapped with my phone so please excuse the poor quality, but since Artisan's website is pretty bare-bones right now I thought it would be helpful for people to see what they have:

I was immediately drawn to the creative Signature Pie options.  I placed an order for a medium Chicken Apple Sausage and waited as one of the staff behind the counter hand stretched my 100% whole wheat pizza dough and assembled my pie with fresh ingredients and tender loving care.  I'm serious, that's the feeling I was getting from the super friendly staff here.  They seem very knowledgeable and passionate about the quality of the pizza, took the time and patience to explain how exactly they make the pies and gave me instructions on how to bake it at home.  They checked in with me as I waited to keep me posted on their progress.  After about 10 minutes, my shrink-wrapped pizza pie was ready to take home!

Shrink Wrapped Chicken Apple Sausage Pizza Pie from Artisan Pizza Co
The raw pizza pie is shrink-wrapped for you to take home.

Instructions on Take 'N Bake Pizza
Easy-to-follow baking instructions.

Raw Chicken Apple Sausage Pizza Pie from Artisan Pizza Co
The raw Chicken Apple Sausage Pizza pie.
Smoked chicken apple sausage, sliced Granny Smith Apples, Red Onion,
Mozzarella, Ricotta, chopped Walnuts, Garlic, and Olive Oil Glaze.

Chicken Apple Sausage Pizza from Artisan Pizza Co
After 12 minutes in the oven: The finished product!

Chicken Apple Sausage Pizza from Artisan Pizza Co
A slice of Chicken Apple Sausage Pizza.

So how was the pizza?  I was pretty satisfied with it in general.  Now, it wasn't the best pizza I've ever had in my life, but it's important to appreciate Artisan for what it is - that it should taste like homemade rather than restaurant-made pizza, so to compare it with what you're used to at top-notch pizza restaurants might not be entirely fair.  The 100% whole wheat crust does taste very wheaty, which is something the staff at Artisan had helpfully warned me about and that I knew I wouldn't mind, but if you're not into the wheat taste then you might want to go with white crust.  The crust itself is thin but not super crisp, though I suspect one may make some adjustments to the bake time to achieve the desired level of crispness.  (I had baked mine for 12 minutes, but according to the instructions you can leave it in the oven for up to 15.)  The ingredients were good, though I felt the balance was tipped towards the cheesy side, and I didn't taste as much of the Granny Smith apples as I would have liked.  The walnuts were a very nice touch though.  All in all, I liked Artisan Pizza Co. and am willing to give them a little slack for being brand new.  And I do intend to go back if I ever feel like some take 'n bake pizza.  I'm generally partial to veggie pizza, so I'm thinking that might be the next on my list to try.

Restaurant info:
Artisan Pizza Co.
560 Adams Shoppes, Mars, PA 16046
On the web:

Artisan Pizza Company (Take 'N Bake Pizza) on Urbanspoon