Scoop: NorthSlice Pizza - A New Restaurant Coming Soon to Northside

Finally, pizza by the slice, not just at late, late night (but that too) in my neighborhood in Cincinnati!  And they plan to open in time for Northside's famous 4th of July parade (actually on the 3rd this year).

Turns out that Northside Community Council meetings (3rd Mondays at 7pm) are a great way to get the scoop on what's happening in the neighborhood - imagine that!  Last time, we brought you news on The Painted Fish opening in the old Gajah Wong space on Spring Grove, and now we've got the dish on NorthSlice Pizza going in the old Portofino location near the corner of Chase and Hamilton.

NorthSlice will be open all week for lunch (starting around 11am), dinner, and beyond - every night when the dining room closes there'll be a window for late night ordering.  Did I mention they'd have pizza by the slice all day and night?!  Ever since living in New York City way back when, I've been wishing that a respectable NY style pizza by the slice place would be somewhere near me in Cincinnati.  I am very hopeful this'll be just that place.  They'll be keeping it pretty simple to start, and will be doing mostly Italian - pizza (whose crust will not be super thin, but definitely not thick either), calzones, subs, soups, salads, gelato/sorbetto, and canoli.  A deli case will be stocked with things like olive salad, prepared cold pasta salad, cheeses by the pound, things like that.  There will be bottled beverages along with fountain Coke, and while they won't have a liquor license, you're welcome to BYOB.  They're open to ideas, and do plan to deliver someday.

Mike Aug is a 10 year Northside resident and has a great combination of clearly caring about the neighborhood as well as a background that includes a number of food-related connections.  The inspiration for NorthSlice came from No Anchovies - a sliced pizza hangout in the 90's where Sitwell's is now on Ludlow.  He'd like to have his spot be a similar hangout, and even has a couple items they used to have in the shop now.  Mike told me about how No Anchovies was the first place hip hop shows were in town, before things to moved to Top Cats eventually - sounds like a happenin' place to be!

Mike has worked at the Northside Tavern since it opened, helped open Madison's Markets, put the kitchen in the Gypsy Hut (that's where NorthSlice started, then they were doing it out of the Hideaway), and has always felt a part of the community.  He went to high school with Darren from Shake It Records and has known Dave from the Comet for years - he's wanted to be a business owner and add to the community himself.  Outside of Northside, Mike's also started a deli in Athens in 1990, opened two different Party Source stores, opened the Wild Oats cheese counter, and worked for various distributors, including selling European imported goods to Jungle Jim's.  He definitely wants to work with other businesses and be a part of the neighborhood, and even plans pizzas with names to reflect the local flavor.

As you can tell from above, Mike knows good ingredients.  They'll be some specialty items - sundried tomatoes, feta, etc. - that you can't get at NYPD (the other pizza place just off Hamilton, which is pretty standard), as well as using fresh herbs (and growing their own soon).  He also says they don't cook the sauce, will be roasting the mushrooms before they go on the pie, and they'll be using local and seasonal as much as they can.  Mike said "everybody says better ingredients make a better pizza, but they don't always do it" - he's clearly planning on living up to that statement.  NorthSlice will also be vegan friendly, and they'll be trying to pay attention to different dietary needs.

It's all coming together quite quickly, and they've already been taking some pizza over to Northside Tavern in the evening.  The whole operation is a local one - the work being done is by neighborhood guys, a lot of people are biking to work - sounds like a nice community-based setup.

I'm really excited to have this place around the corner from our house - good luck to Mike and everyone working around the clock to get up and running by the parade!

No comments: