Gourmet Pizza on the Cheap

If there’s anything I love in this world when it comes to food, its a well-crafted pizza with fresh ingredients. Recently I’ve found that Charleston has a good number of places offering exactly that. I’ve still got a bit more pizza exploration to do, but so far the pizza spots that are highest on my list are Gale Restaurant (new to Charleston!) and Baker and Brewer. Keep reading to find out what makes the pizza at these restaurants so delicious.

Baker and Brewer

Baker and Brewer is a restaurant/brew house that was born from a collaboration with EVO pizzeria and Holy City Brewery. There is a very broad selection of experimental beers from Holy City Brewery that are all brewed on site, as well as delicious and unique pizzas, salads, and sandwiches made by the expert EVO bakers. I’ve dined at Baker and Brewer a couple times in the past month, mainly because I love how well they are practicing social distancing, the food and beer is amazing, and I love the casual atmosphere.

Of all the menu items I have tried so far, my favorites are the basil and mushroom pizza ($15), the peach salad ($9 for small size, $12 for large), and the wood-fired broccolini ($7). The basil and mushroom pizza was super cheesy, yet full of vibrant flavors from the sweetness of the red onion and the savory flavor from the mushrooms. The pizza dough had the perfect mix of doughy, yet crunchy texture.

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The peach salad was the perfect complimentary item to pair with this pizza. The peaches were fresh SC peaches and were of ultimate ripeness. They were mixed with fresh, multi-colored cherry tomatoes, chickpeas, mushrooms, Kurios farms bibb lettuce, roasted corn, pickled jalapenos, toasted almonds, and topped with a gorgonzola vinaigrette, as well as some shredded cheese. The fresh vegetables used in the salad provided so much juicy sweet and savory flavors. It’s safe to say this salad was gone in just a matter of minutes.

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The broccolini was a real treat. Who ever heard of topping broccolini with beer cheese? I sure haven’t, but let me tell you, it’s truly an amazing dish. The unique thing about this beer cheese is that it is vegan (where are my vegan foodies at??)! The cheese is carefully drizzled on top of the roasted broccolini and topped with espelette and cashews. This dish really impressed me. The cheese really tasted like cheese, except with more flavor and I loved the heat provided to the dish with the espelette topping and the crunch provided by the cashews.

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Gale Restaurant

Gale was welcomed into the Charleston restaurant scene a couple months ago, though they unfortunately had to close for a few months after they opened. Luckily, they are now back up and running and serving up some truly delectable and fresh pizza, sandwiches and salads. Recently I ordered takeout from Gale and enjoyed it with my mom on her porch. We ordered the broccoli rabe pizza ($14) and paired it with their peach panzanella salad ($11..can you tell I love peaches?!). The pizza was topped with fresh roasted broccolini, confit garlic, lemon zest, and smothered in the creamiest whipped ricotta cheese. I’m pretty sure my taste buds exploded while eating this pizza, as it was full of so many delicious flavors and had ultimate cheesiness. My favorite thing about this pizza however, is that it was one of the most fresh-tasting pizzas I have eaten in a long time. The dough had the most delicious soft and doughy texture and you could tell that alot of love had gone into the making of this pizza.

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The peach panzanella salad (somehow forgot to take a photo if it) was crazy delicious. It was complete with fresh and juicy peaches, clemson blue cheese crumbles, tomatoes, basil and crispy fried bread chunks. As much as I love peaches, I think my favorite part of this salad were the fried bread chunks. They were almost reminiscent of fried food you would get at a carnival, but suprisingly made this salad all the more delicious. I highly recommend!

In terms of affordability, I would definitely shoot for Baker and Brewer. None of their pizzas are more than $15 and their apps are all under $10. Gale has a bit heftier pricing, though the quality of their food definitely makes it worth the splurge if you feel like treating yourself!

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