Like many of you I consumed copious amounts of cheap pizza and beer during college. Tuesday night regularly consisted of a large Papa John’s and a sixer of High Life. Calling this a guilty pleasure would be an understatement.
My formative educational years might have passed, and I might prefer to ingest — and imbibe — more wisely, but my love for pizza and beer has not waned. So the opening of Natalie’s Coal-Fired Pizza and Pies & Pints in Worthington had my interest piqued.
Both restaurants feature thin crust pies with a variety of imaginative specialty versions and excellent beers. But I wanted to know whose pizza and beer combination is better?
Natalie’s describes its pies as “Old World New York-style cooked in a high temperature coal-fired oven,” which translates to a crispy, thin crust with a slight char flavor. With fresh-made dough and top notch ingredients, the Greenwich Village (Italian sausage, sauteed peppers, caramelized onions and mozzarella) was absolutely delicious.
Selecting from Natalie’s brews was difficult. There were a number of solid options among the 12 drafts, but nothing I hadn’t had before. So I moved over to the bottle list for an Ohio-made stout. The pie, when combined with a Rust Belt Coke Oven Stout, brought on rueful indignation of my watery beer and chewy pizza crust past.
Pies & Pints, a West Virginia-based chain, also serves New York-style pizzas that are quite delightful. The crust is similar to Natalie’s, but not as thin or crispy. The toppings on the Classic Pizza Pie (sausage, pepperoni, mushroom and banana peppers) were fresh and excellent, but I preferred Natalie’s sausage.
While I liked Natalie’s pizza more, when it comes to beer, Pies is the best in Worthington (Bob’s Bar is a Clintonville bar). The 40 taps are filled with great brews from Fat Head’s, Jolly Pumpkin and Weasel Boy. The Stillwater Cellar Door, a Saison finished with a touch of sage, was utter joy with my pizza.
So I didn’t really determine which pizza and beer joint had the better combo; the pizza edge went to Natalie’s and the beer to Pies. I did learn that a crappy mass-produced delivery pie and even crappier beer is no way to live, especially with options like these two.