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Published August 04, 2010, 12:00 AM

Restaurant review: A slice of downtown

Pizza place offers affordable option
Spicy Pie does some things right. The downtown restaurant’s hand-tossed pizza crusts are better than the alternative. Offering a reasonable facsimile of a thin crust, double-sized, genuine fold-it-in-half New York-style pizza by the slice makes good sense. And selling the slices for $2 a piece keeps budget-minded family diners happy.

By: Eric Daeuber, special to The Forum, INFORUM

RESTAURANT REVIEW

Spicy Pie

322 N. Broadway

Fargo

Cuisine: American

Ratings:

  • Food: two stars
  • Service: two stars
  • Ambiance: two and a half stars

Spicy Pie does some things right.

The downtown restaurant’s hand-tossed pizza crusts are better than the alternative. Offering a reasonable facsimile of a thin crust, double-sized, genuine fold-it-in-half New York-style pizza by the slice makes good sense. And selling the slices for $2 a piece keeps budget-minded family diners happy.

So far, so good.

Sure, toppings for that cheese slice will cost you extra. But they’re a very reasonable 25 cents a topping. Anchovies cost twice that, but since it’s hard to find an anchovy anywhere in Fargo-Moorhead, these fish would be a bargain at three times that price. If pizza’s not your thing, six inches of a cold cut grinder can be had for $3 to $4.50, depending on what you’d like to taste between the slices. Beer is $3.50, and the $4.50 margaritas are as good as any around.

It’s an affordable array of offerings, but there is a price to pay for the bargains on the menu.

The funky interior, the chalkboard menu, the young talent behind the counter tossing crust like semi-pros, suggest something more than you really get. The paper plates, clamshell salad boxes and service tell you the rest of the story.

In New York, a city famed for its pizza, a by-the-slice place may have a half-dozen pies ready for you to pick from. What you see is what you can buy. No olives? Eat what they’ve got and get over it. The Spicy Pie does it a little differently. It starts with a cheese pizza slice, adds the toppings that you ask for, and pops the slice back into the oven.

Is it a sausage pizza or just a slice of cheese pizza with sausage on it? If it doesn’t matter to you, it’s a good way to have it your way. But if you want a pepperoni and sausage pizza with anchovies, what you really get is a cheese pizza with some assembly required.

The grinders are generously loaded with supermarket-style meat and cheese.

But there’s outdoor seating with a view of the classic revival walls on the old Powers Hotel and service that means well, even if it gets a bit confused at busy times.

The value of the Spicy Pie’s menu is certainly an attraction. Downtown Fargo dining has trended toward the upscale, so it’s good to see an option that can give families a better-than-average fast-food experience in the heart of the city.

Dining details

  • Phone: (701) 356-7437
  • Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday
  • Reservations accepted: No
  • Alcohol: Wine, beer and some mixed drinks
  • Dress: As you like
  • Credit cards accepted: Visa, MasterCard and Discover



Eric Daeuber is an instructor at Minnesota State Community and Technical College. Readers can reach him at food@daeuber.com.

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