Nestled in a Meridian strip mall is Pier 49 Pizza, the only Treasure Valley location of a regional chain. Pier 49 serves San Francisco sourdough pizza, so when you walk into the restaurant the theme is nautical: The booths are capped with roped posts like piers and the upholstery has sailboats and seagulls. On the walls are several vintage-style posters of San Francisco. There were also a couple of arcade games, a pizzeria requirement.
Pier 49's menu features appetizers, salads and hot sandwiches, but my dining companions and I were there for the delicious-sounding gourmet pizzas. We noted that Pier 49 did not serve beer, unusual in a sit-down pizza restaurant. Pier 49 seems to have arrived at the San Francisco theme by way of Utah.
The prices, even for pizza, were a bit steep, by the slice or by the pie. However, the slices turned out to be pretty robust and Pier 49 runs frequent specials. We tried the Lombard Street (BBQ chicken), the Little Italy (pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, tomatoes and green onion on ranch sauce) and two pizzas-pepperoni with fresh tomato and a mushroom and garlic-to go. Everyone seemed to agree that the first bite of the first slice was OK-not glorious, but pretty good; the sourdough crust was interesting, if a bit buttery. It took a couple of bites to sense that something wasn't right. The BBQ sauce on the Lombard was too sweet, the ranch on the Little Italy overpowering and the cheese on all of it rubbery. As we were trying to figure out what the pizza reminded us of, somebody said it was like "fake pizza"-the kind you get at a stadium where pizza is second to hotdogs.
In addition, Pier 49's crew was having a bad day. They were disheveled and neither friendly nor efficient. They forgot to put the tomatoes on the large pepperoni we ordered to go (no big deal), and when I brought it back to get 'em sprinkled on, the staff was put out. When they finally fixed the pizza, the woman at the counter let me know it was ready with a "get over here" gesture from across the room instead of bringing the pizza to our table.
If Pier 49's prices were low, you could forgive the mediocre food. If the food was great, you could forgive the premium price. The service, though, is what really needed work.
-Sara Beitia is still putting on her winter weight.