Friday, August 19, 2011

Tale of the Pie: Olce Pizza Grille

Sometimes, you just don't feel like going out to eat. Maybe you had a particularly bad day. Maybe you just don't feel like driving. In my case, I am feeling under the weather. My head is cloudy. My throat is scratchy. My body feels generally weak. If I were to put money on it, I would say it is probably time for my yearly sinus infection. In any event, when Spicy Hawaiian started talking about going out to grab a pie, I just wanted to say "No." I would take anything as long as it did not require my departing from the house. However, I could tell that she really wanted to try something off of the Philadelphia Magazine Pizza Best Of list, and I certainly didn't want to let her down. So I dragged my tired carcass off the couch, and we headed out for a little pizza.

After sampling the offerings at Cedars' Olce Pizza Grille (there's an accent on that "e," but I am too lazy to figure that out), boy, am I happy I did.

My hopes were raised as soon as I entered the development that houses Olce. It just felt like a nice, homey vibe. There's a promising-looking restaurant right next door, and it also features an optometrist and a pet boutique, all of which are housed in buildings that resemble log cabins. It sounds lame, but the place just relaxed me. Once we entered the building, I found that the service went just as far to make sure you were at peace. Right away, the place looked incredibly kid-friendly, which is a major concern when you have a potentially crabby Saucy Jr. in tow. A waitress named Christine jumped right away to check on our table and, when she took just a couple seconds, a guy making the pizzas hopped to it asking, if we were helped, directing us to a potential table, etc. Attentiveness to the customer! What a concept! When Christine reappeared, she had our table all set up, including a baby seat. The friendliness of service set a terrific tone for the rest of the evening.

Being that we have a kid, we were quick to settle on what we wanted to eat. We decided upon a Margarita pie, since I am a little bit unadventurous when it comes to artisan pies, and a Picante, since we both are fans of spice in our cuisine. As we waited, the very outgoing (but not annoying) Christine brought us a bowl of "pickles." I put the pickles in quotes as these were not your average everyday Vlasic joints, but clearly some cucumbers that they had whipped up on-site. They were simple and delicious. Very refreshing.

The pies emerged quickly and they looked spectacular. It was clear that they had not sat in the back at all. These babies were piping hot and ready to go. The Margarita was very good. I had actually felt bad about ordering it because Philly Mag had dapped them for their toppings. It seemed really dumb then to get a Margarita. However, the crust on this pie was perfectly done. Just the right amount of floury feel and taste. Just the right texture. Just the right foldability. My first reaction may have been to say that it was a little light on the sauce. It didn't seem to be popping out of the pie the way I would usually want. But as I bit into it, I realized that it was just the right amount. First of all, it tasted like a tomato fresh off of the vine. It wasn't, in fact, a sauce so much as a series of ideally spread tomato chunks. The other thing is that (and this is somewhat crazy for me) I so enjoyed the taste of their fresh mozzarella that the two put together seemed like a perfect balance. The Margarita was so good that I knocked back maybe five of their thin, conservatively sized slices.

Next up was the Picante, and I am pleased to say that the joys just kept coming. The first thing I noticed upon looking at the pie was that they stepped it up a little bit with the sauce amount. Very wise choice on their part. The sauce provided a wonderful balance for the spice of the pie, which was provided by hot peppers and a pleasantly spiced Italian sausage. As for the crust, it was for the most part as great as the Margarita, but there were two slices that featured perimeters that were a little burnt. When you got to the area, you could definitely taste the charring. However, it was not enough to detract from the slice and it in no way affected our overall enjoyment of the pie. Bottom line is there were no leftovers on this night. Both pies, by the end of our visit, were as nonexistent as the sport of soccer's U.S. fan base.

There are a few other factors that would drive us to recommend Olce as a destination for the pizza lover. There is the fact that it was a BYOB. There is nothing like knocking back a slice or two with a fine red and in this case you do not have to pay exorbitantly for the privilege (in our case, we had a bottle of Jargon Pinot Noir, a moderately priced twist cap with a fine taste and distinctive flavor. Then there is the fact that they were not only laidback about kids, but also sizable parties. I would imagine you would have to make a reservation pretty far in advance (the dining room is somewhat small), but there was a rambunctious ladies night taking place while we were there and neither the proprietors nor the assembled diners made much of a stink about it. Finally, the price is right for this place.Two pizzas and a savory cannoli ended up costing us about $33 with tip. Not bad when you consider that Christine was so nice and friendly to our little guy that we probably gave her a 25 percent gratuity.

Hopefully, the next time you decide to go out for a pie, you are not as sick as I am right now. But whether you are or you aren't, the fact is that Olce Pizza Grille's terrific creations will serve as the perfect remedy for your pizza cravings.

Pros: A very good crust, toppings that were very flavorful, very well distributed ingredients, tasty sauce
Cons: One or two slice crusts were slightly burnt
Olce Pizza Grille
3401 Skippack Pike
Cedars, PA 19423

Olce Pizza Grille on Urbanspoon

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