Tyler's Pizzeria and Bakery dishes up unique inventions alongside classic pies
I had no idea how great CroissantZas would taste from eyeing them on a plate underneath a glass dome in Tyler's Pizzeria and Bakery. In fact, I had no idea what a CroissantZa was.
But after inhaling one of the so-wrong-it’s-right flatbreads — essentially a slice of pepperoni pizza hybridized with a crinkly, flaky, buttery, multi-layered croissant — I bought another to confirm it was actually so good. That was the best $4.25 I spent all week.
I was surprised by the wanton deliciousness of the innocuous-looking pre-baked CroissantZa, but I wasn’t shocked that Tyler's Pizzeria and Bakery — a quirky little shop in a Reynoldsburg strip mall — would provide high-quality products for relatively low prices.
That impression began to gelwhile scanning the “About” section of Tyler’s website before I visited. There, amid phrases such as “Slow Food Revolution” and name-drops of Thurn's Bakery and Deli, Omega Artisan Bakery and Great Harvest Bread Company — the name-drops reference places where Tyler’s eponymous chef-owner Bryan Tyler once worked — the portrait of a labor-embracing baker with a distinct culinary vision and uncompromising aesthetic emerged.
That vision and hard work combine with experience, talent and good ingredients in the 11-year-old Reynoldsburg operation to produce impressive breads, pastries and pizzas. The latter, which are cooked in a wood-burning oven that perfumes the unassuming shop, are closest in style to thin Neapolitan pies with toasty-and-puffy edges, but Tyler’s pizzas are sturdier and cheesier and have a little New York style in them, too.
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A small Autumn Swoon — the heftiest pizza I sampled — was a terrific meal and deal that fed two enthusiastic shiny-faced eaters for just $12.50 (where applicable, prices are for not-so-small “small” items; Tyler’s large pizzas are generally $4 more than a small). The lusty pie featured Tyler’s fine crust and pleasantly acidic and concentrated-tomato-tasting pizza sauce topped with loads of oven-browned Monterey Jack and crumbled Italian sausage enhanced by diced onions and banana peppers.
Playing “what’s in name” with the garlic-kissed Pigskin Pie ($11.25) can be fun. Three little pigs are alluded to in the pizza’s title — zesty pepperoni, sausage and diced ham — and they team up for a pig-out touchdown.
Playing that name game with the Pauper's Pie ($11) is misleading. Sure, only one little piggy goes on it — chopped good bacon — along with spinach leaves and diced red onion. But a blanket of melted cheese, tangy white sauce and fresh garlic made it a pretty rich-tasting pizza.
No meat was needed for Tyler’s focaccias — made-to-order disks that resemble Tyler’s pizzas with puffier crusts and olive oil “sauce” — to become as good-tasting as they were good-looking. Two predesigned models are offered: The super-comforting Potato Focaccia ($10.50) with thinly sliced tubers, onions, basil, cheddar and mozzarella; and the garden-conjuring Veggie Focaccia ($10.50) with diced green pepper, thinly sliced tomato, onions and mozzarella.
The Calzones and Strombolis I tried (nearly identical half-moon savory pastries) were heavy-duty beauties with crackly golden-brown shells. The skillfully produced and surprisingly huge, molten mozzarella-enriched turnovers are a fantastic deal at $6 apiece, too. Fillings ($.50 to $.75 extra) include the expected pizza add-ons and some of the best chicken I’ve had from a pizza place.
Tyler’s is a small operation and I strongly suggest phoning in all pizzeria-style orders. When you show up, I further recommend grabbing some of the available baked goods, such as a loaf of the honey-kissed Sweet Rustic Bread ($5); addictive Zucchini Bread ($5) that's moist, cinnamon-scented and almost like coffee cake; a first-rate Cheese Danish ($2.25); a fine Chocolate Croissant ($2.25) packed with good chocolate; and every single CrossantZa still in the shop.
Tyler's Pizzeria and Bakery
7516 E. Main St., Reynoldsburg