Harvest Restaurant owners Reza and Lisa Shapouri opened Oro Valley’s newest pizzeria quietly last September, but it’s certainly left its mark — its char, if you will — on Tucson’s far northwest side culinary scene. Charred Pie stealthily slid into the space left vacant by Harvest Moon and later Sakura Sushi next to the Century Theaters at Oro Valley Marketplace and diners are abuzz about its amazing eats.
Reza Shapouri did his homework. After enjoying wood-fired pizza in a Phoenix eatery, he bought an outdoor pizza oven and got to work on perfecting a recipe over the next year and a half. Just as he got things dialed in, he met Chef Luke Smith and decided it was go time. And the pies started flying. Actually, they began spinning. The wood fire/gas combination oven that serves as the visual centerpiece in Charred Pie is unique (and may be the only one of its kind in the state). It spins the pies so they evenly enjoy its 800-degree heat for three minutes or so. The house-made dough is cooked through and kissed with a perfect char making it easy to handle and capable of inducing eye-rolling ecstasy on the palate. No joke. It’s that good.
What exactly is the formula for such creations? It seems to be fifty-fifty ingredients and process. “We use a more germinated flour with more structure to it and we mix our own yeast,” explains Shapouri. “The dough is mixed in a special Italian mixer that uses a paddle, a gentler process, to let the yeast do its job.” This process takes a little longer, but it’s well worth the time investment by Chef Luke and his team. That dough, topped with imported tomatoes tasty enough to be eaten on their own, as well as myriad other beautifully fresh and creative ingredients, gets fired to perfection and voila! Pizza pie to die for.
Standout pies include the traditional Margherita (red sauce, mozzarella, basil and extra-virgin olive oil); the Prosciutto & Arugula (also featuring red sauce, mozzarella, ricotta, red onion and pecorino), and the Sausage & Fennel (red sauce, mozzarella, Italian sausage & roasted fennel). If you’re not a pizza fan, the Roasted Veggies & Hummus sandwich (veggie hummus, roasted portobello mushroom, onions, red bell peppers, avocado, and radish sprouts on house-made multigrain bread) is uhmazing. The Bloody Mary Grilled Cheese and Korean Wings are simply outstanding finger-licking options. The latest addition of Charred Eggplant (oven-roasted eggplant, red sauce, Parmesan Reggiano, ricotta, basil and extra-virgin olive oil) is making quite the splash. Trust us when we tell you that plans for a return visit will be solidified by the second bite of whatever is ordered.
Beyond offering excellent food, incredibly friendly service and inside/outside dining make this a great spot. But it’s going to get even better with renovations to the patio that will allow for all-weather dining with a view. Work to enclose the patio for a slightly modified (clear enclosure) alfresco experience should be complete by July.