- Lex Nelson
- A "slice" from Coned is sure to bring out your inner kid.
Eating pizza out of a cone is both nothing and everything like eating ice cream: The process is the same, but it rings an entirely different bell in the brain. While licking an ice cream cone is simple, biting into a cone-shaped sheet of dough brimming with melted cheese, mushrooms, black olives and sauteed onions somehow requires brow-furrowing concentration at every bite, following by pauses to marvel at the fact that the operation went well.
At Coned (2976 E. Overland Rd.), the Meridian brick-and-mortar location of the food truck with the same name, employees get to watch kids and adults have this first-time experience every day, and it's hard to imagine it would ever get old. Similarly, it's difficult to fathom ever getting tired of using the machine one employee called the "cone press"—a futuristic silver contraption that turns dough balls into par-baked cones in 20 seconds flat.
To operate the press, a woman in blue rubber gloves drops golf ball-sized rounds of dough into cone-shaped slots; when the dough is in place, aluminum cones descend from above, squishing the dough and cooking it just enough so that it holds its shape. The half-baked cones sit in rows behind the counter, waiting to be filled with layers of pizza toppings and baked the rest of the way upright in an oven. The whole process, from ordering at the counter to having a pizza cone in hand, takes less than five minutes. Cone presses—technically called commercial pizza cone forming machines—go for just under $2,000 on Amazon.
Painted on one wall of the shop, which is filled with long bar-style tables, are the words: "Smile, There's Pizza," and that childlike glee at the novelty of the concept takes center stage. It would be a stretch to call Coned's pizza artisan; clearly, the restaurant is all about the experience. Still, the ingredients, like pineapple, sausage, pepperoni and locally sourced mozzarella cheese, are fresh and hand-packed to order, layered inside each $6 cone. They also offer half-sized cones for kids (PB&J cone, anyone?) and will fill pizza dough with Bavarian cream or ice cream from The STIL in downtown Boise for dessert. No matter what the filling, the speed-cooked cones seem to be leak-proof, maintaining a crispy crust that crunches with every bite.
For both children and children at heart, eating at Coned is an adventure to undertake at least once.