After a week delay due to a ventilation issue, PizzaFire opened its Woodmere location at 3439 W. Brainard Rd today. I have been highly anticipating the opening of this new-to-the-area restaurant because my kids love similar restaurant concepts such as Piada and Chipotle. At PizzaFire you start with a crust and add ingredients while your pizza is prepared before your eyes.
First, I think the location is excellent. PizzaFire easily accessible from Chagrin Blvd, but is located just west of Eton, avoiding the parking madness that tends to multiple during dining hours. They also offer a small outside seating area with four small tables which I suspect will fill quickly on sunny days. The restaurant itself is modern and clean with large windows. Pretty much what I would expect from a fast, casual chain.
When you get in line, you start with the dough. It also already been rolled and stretched and placed on individual cutting boards on a rack waiting for your personal toppings. PizzaFire offers a gluten-free dough for an additional $1.
After the dough is slightly re-stretched, they add the sauce and toppings. PizzaFire has six different sauce options as well as five different varieties of cheeses. Additionally, there are twelve meat toppings and seventeen veggies to choose from. I once said if I had to eat only one food for the rest of my life, it would be pizza because of the incredible flavor variety. I think PizzaFire has almost every imaginable flavor combination covered. I was also impressed with the fresh appearance of all the vegetable selections. If it is your first visit you may want to take a few minutes before getting in line tolook over the menu and make your selections. If you don’t feel like diving into the choose-your-own-topping world, PizzaFire also offers several specialty pizzas.
I was extremely impressed with how quickly the line moved and the workers were all incredibly friendly. I ordered a specialty pizza, The Cleveland, which was topped with pepperoni, sausage, red onion, mushrooms, and PizzaFire’s authentic Neapolitan red sauce. My pizza was done approximately 5 minutes after my order was complete!
Although my pizza looked delicious on top, the burnt edges were a bit of a red flag so I lifted my pizza for a closer look – burnt!!! Unfortunately, this burnt flavor overpowered most of the other flavors except for the red onion, which was basically raw. One side of my pizza was less burnt, so that is what I ate. I will say the Neapolitan red sauce was excellent with a just right amount of spice. However, the raw red onions were really over powering and the mushrooms were raw and slightly slimy. The pepperoni were good, but the sausage reminded of when I used to grind meat for the kids when they were younger. I understand why it needs to be ground so fine for quick baking, however, there was something off about the texture of the sausage. It seemed very processed to me.
I may give PizzaFire another chance in a few months, maybe give them some time to figure out/calibrate the oven. I think it is a fun concept and with a little fine tuning with the oven could be an excellent fast casual dining option on the East side.
PizzaFIre Woodmere is open daily from 10:30am to 11pm. They also have free cookies on Thursdays (wait today is Thursday….where was my cookie??) starting at 11am while supplies last.