You still can't see films at the beloved Clintonville cinema due to the coronavirus, but you can sample the enticing pies dished up by its new, in-house restaurant
Rather than promoting movies, the art deco-style marquee above the entrance to Studio 35 Cinema & Drafthouse currently reads: “WASH YOUR HANDS!”
Talk about a sign of the times.
Speaking as a longtime fan of Studio 35 — an appealingly irreverent, recently renovated movie theatre and bar that for decades has allowed booze and food into its darkened aisles — I can’t wait until the coronavirus pandemic abates so it’s safe to watch another film inside the iconic place that opened in the 1930s. In the meanwhile, I’ll be happy to support the quirky establishment by enjoying the fare prepared by its welcome new, in-house restaurant called Fibonacci's Pizzeria.
Previously, the theatre had an agreement with a neighboring pizza shop to bring in food. But just weeks before the pandemic hit the fan, Studio 35 opened Fibonacci's Pizzeria, which features a fancy, high-ticket pizza oven. Pending reopening as a cinema, the theatre currently operates like a carry-out pizza place that, in true Studio 35 fashion, serves enticing pies that offer classic and contemporary qualities.
In case you’re wondering, “Fibonacci” alludes to a mathematical sequence that relates to spiraling patterns found in nature, economic trends and the “golden ratio” — the latter of which supposedly describes an aesthetically ideal proportion.Get new dining reviews delivered to your inbox: Sign up for our daily newsletter
Those heady references don’t lead to empty promises because Fibonacci’s produces serious 12-inch pies (most are $15). The pizzas are distinguished by handmade dough and thin, Neapolitan-style crusts with puffy edges and desirable “leopard-spotting” char patterns. Unlike others of this ilk, Fibonacci’s toasty and pleasantly chewy crusts don’t disintegrate under the weight of flavorful, often locally sourced toppings.
Wonderfully zesty and crisp “cup and char” pepperoni from Columbus’ Ezzo Sausage Company plays off chile-spiked, house-made hot honey on the excellent Hot Swarm pizza. Creamy ricotta and good-quality mozzarella soften the delightful sting of this dynamic and fashionable flavor-bomb influenced by Brooklyn-born pizzerias such as Paulie Gee’s.
I also loved Pizza the Hutt, another gloriously greasy pie “gooped up” (the menu’s description) with six melted cheeses. If you’re in a more-is-better mood like I often am, adding sausage ($1.50) — Fibonacci’s uses Ezzo’s, which is fennel-seed-scented, spicy and cut like pepperoni — makes the irresistibly salty and comforting pizza even better.
If you’re in a less-is-more mood, try the OK Margherita pizza. Fibonacci’s house-made sauce, which is slightly smoky and tastes of concentrated tomatoes and herbs, shines strongest on this stripped-down pie adorned with basil leaves and blots of fresh mozzarella.
To order a notably flavorful vegetarian pizza, remember The Alamo. Topped with convincing vegan chorizo, corn, peppers, onions and diced tomatoes, The Alamo is a Tex-Mex pizza reminiscent of the popular Spicy Yuma pie baked by Harvest Pizzeria.
Fibonacci’s smartly designed menu includes two tricked-out salads. Beets, canned black olives, carrots and cherry tomatoes lend interest to the mesclun-based House Salad ($7). It’s perfectly fine if you’re seeking roughage.
Sticking with what this place does best — bake good, house-made dough in its high-toned oven — try a sandwich ($9, served with chips). Fibonacci’s are elevated by crisp, thin house bread that resembles toasty pita pockets.
The Miracle Mike, made with chicken (tender, nicely seasoned, chopped), plus aioli, lettuce, tomato, onion and provolone, is somewhat like a chicken shawarma. I enjoyed the Luca Brasi — a killer Italian sub-style assembly suitably named after an assassin in “The Godfather” — even more.
Fibonacci’s best deal might be its House-Made Pepperoni Bread ($8). Related to rectangular, thick and indulgent Detroit-style pizza, it has a hefty, oil-enriched crust that effectively fries to a crisp in patches. On top are layers of pepperoni, melted cheese and herbs.
If such feel-good treats are the only “coming attractions” to look forward to for the time being, well, things could be worse.