Pie 360 delivers the goods -- a custom pizza made in front of your eyes that's ready in minutes.
The folks who gave us the artisan pizza restaurant Coal Fire are capitalizing on the fast-casual concept with their fledgling offshoot in Canton.
There's more to come, said Erik Thorsvik, the chief marketing officer of the Ellicott City-based Coal Fire Group that oversees Coal Fire, Pie 360 and Nottingham's in Columbia. In the next several months, look for Pie 360 stores in Rockville, Washington and Alexandria, Va.
Besides pizza, Pie 360 offers paninis, sandwiches and meal-size salads like a kale health salad or Asian chicken salad. You can also build-your-own salad.
Specialty pizzas, including a traditional Margherita or Greek one with feta cheese, take the pressure off decision-making. Adventurous diners can create their own pies, from a white or wheat crust to four toppings from dozens of choices.
The 10-inch pizzas are $7.95 with an additional charge for extra toppings. Each one is cooked in a 700-degree oven in three to four minutes, Thorsvik said.
On "Thirsty Thursdays," customers can drink $2 beers or wines all day. The pizza combo is an everyday good deal for $12.75 and includes a side salad or "famous" banana pudding, and a fountain drink.
Scene & Decor The comfortable dining room seats 70 inside and 16 outside. Customers order at a counter and carry their food to their table. Big windows let you people watch as Canton Crossing shoppers walk by.
Appetizers None specified on the menu
Entrees We had the "ring of fire" specialty pizza ($7.95) with zesty banana peppers, Italian sausage, spicy tomato sauce and mozzarella. We liked its heat, and the regular crust was a nice crunchy base for the toppings. We were surprised the sausage was thinly sliced like pepperoni instead of in chunks, but it was still flavorful. We became fans of the Southwestern Cobb salad ($9.45), which featured a big bowl of crisp romaine lettuce, black beans, corn, cheddar, bacon, egg, tomato and tiny chicken cubes, tossed with a zingy chipotle ranch dressing, and were pleased to have leftovers to take home.
Drinks Fountain drinks, two wines (pinot noir and chardonnay) and several beers, including Natty Boh, Loose Cannon and Flying Dog
Service Counter service and self-serve sodas. The staff was friendly and brought us our pizza when they saw we were sitting at a table with other food.
Dessert We highly recommend the banana pudding ($3.95). This is an excellent rendition of the homey dessert with vanilla wafers tucked into the lush pudding that tasted like real bananas. There is also an assortment of individually wrapped Hope's cookies (95 cents each) from a Pennsylvania-based company. We especially liked the white chocolate macadamia indulgence.