“I sat down with our cooks and bakers to drill down on a simple idea: how to make a better pizza. Not better than anyone else—better to our taste. For me, I like something other than Neapolitan style, which is the trend now. I was looking for a firmer crust. A slower heat, a longer bake. The best cheeses in the world. I think people recognize that no matter what you’re making—whether it be a taco or mac and cheese or a pizza—you can make something really low end and awful, or you can make it to that high end of imagination and thoughtfulness and care. I personally love cooking at the big stone hearth oven at Serious Pie. It’s cooking like the cavemen. Just you and the fire.” — Tom Douglas, owner, Serious Pie
In the last two decades, Tom Douglas has become such an industry it can be hard to remember why we fell so hard for him. Serious Pie reminds us that he is the culinary maverick who freed fruit from the garnish ghetto and made upscale restaurants safe for burgers.
In this warm, little 48-seat ski-cabin of a room, Douglas distills his signature playfulness. A salad consists of red and golden beets, whole pistachios, shreds of mint, and anchovies. Shockingly, naturally, it’s a stunner. A peach from the Pence family orchard in Wapato (meaningful to food nerds and, it turns out, anyone with taste buds) arrives sliced and strewn with basil and pine nuts, alongside a schmear of the sweet creamed mozzarella, burrata. It’s perfect. Fruit still looms large in Douglas’s universe.
And when your pizza emerges from inside the big wood-fired oven—all funny-shaped and topped with Penn Cove clams, housemade pancetta, and lemon thyme; or Spanish truffle cheese with roasted chanterelles—it’s the finest pie you’ve ever tasted, and you can’t decide if that’s because of the blue-ribbon toppings or the chewy, golden, melt-in-mouth crust. Suddenly you’ll recall that this man also owns the Dahlia Bakery.
The mastery extends through dessert, where potent Italianate fruit-and-pastry masterpieces come with a side of raw guilt when you see the knot of hungry diners at the door. Yes, there’s always a wait. Yes, tables are communal. Nowhere in the Douglas empire are his graceful, good-humored servers more vital to the operation. Serious Pie is not a place to linger over fine Italian wine or boutique beer, though seriously comfy stools (this restaurateur thinks of everything) invite it.
It’s a joint to enjoy some of Seattle’s giddiest yet most exacting cuisine, performed with the kind of focus and immediacy that Douglas’s big corporate outfits don’t allow.