Pi-Craft has only been open for a couple weeks but it didn’t take long for people to recommend that I visit. I didn’t know much about the restaurant but hoped it was similar to Crust’s version of fast casual pizza with customizable toppings. So when my Dad wanted to grab lunch with my brother and me, I figured this could be a place that we could all enjoy.
The restaurant is located on Niagara Falls Blvd, however it’s very close to the 290 exit and far away from most of the chaos that can be found on that street this time of year. We visited the restaurant for lunch on Black Friday and avoided most of the traffic and walked into a half full restaurant. Immediately we were impressed with the design of the restaurant, the owners have done a great job creating a very specific atmosphere. There is a lot of copper and wood, the lighting fixtures have an industrial look at and there’s long communal tables in the dining room. It reminded me of Chipotle in a lot of ways, which isn’t a bad thing. Considering this is the ‘first’ Pi-Craft, it already looks like a well established franchise and I mean that in a good way.
- Restaurant Type: Fast Casual
- Cuisine: Pizza
- Location: Tonawanda
- Prices: $Pizza 9.50
The menu and ordering system is pretty straight forward, you decide on your crust and proceed down a line where you pick out various sauces, cheeses, meats, vegetables and ‘finishing touches’ to your pizza. The owner/managers were very eager to explain everything to customers who might be confused and they mentioned several times that almost everything was prepared in-house. The other big deal is the unlimited toppings, for $9.50 you can order a pizza and go absolutely crazy with what you want on top. My Dad went simple and ordered cheese, mushroom and cherry tomatoes. My brother went a little bit more crazy with pepperoni, banana peppers, olive tapendae and arugula. I decided to take it to the max; I ordered their fresh mozz AND mozzarella curd, spicy pulled pork, onion jam, cherry tomatoes, tangy tomato sauce and finished it with arugula and a spicy chili sauce.
The first thing I noticed was the crust, considering I loaded the pizza with a lot of toppings it held up well. You could still hold a slice of pizza and it didn’t fall apart. The pizzas I believe are par-baked and then cook on a conveyer belt. They didn’t have any char but the crust was crunchy and the outer crust still had a nice chew. The toppings were impressive; the spicy pork had subtle heat but had a good pork flavor and the tomatoes and mozzarella were fresh. My brother and I both ordered our pizzas with the tangy tomato sauce and in retrospect we’d probably order the plain next time, my Dad seemed to really enjoy it.
It’s not the cheapest lunch (it came to ~$12/person with drinks), but it’s a pretty good option for both quality and quantity in the Northtowns. The managers were very outgoing and walked around to the tables, asking if there was anything they could do better and were looking for any constructive criticism. A single pizza could easily satisfy two hungry diners but we managed to finish all three during lunch. Instead of the normal boring Pepsi/Coke drink options, they have several organic juices/teas and a selection of Johnnie Ryan sodas on ‘draft’.
I obviously didn’t try all of their combinations but there isn’t anyone doing this type of fast-casual-build your own pizza in the Northtowns (that I know of). Their location isn’t exactly ideal, it’s a little too close to the exit and their plaza isn’t very convenient to enter/exit. That said, I plan on stopping by again on a lunch break and suggest anyone who lives and works in the Northtowns to give it a try.