A little while back I asked GLOBers what restaurant made the best Philly Cheese Steak. Of course we received a lot of good suggestions, and Piesano's Stone Fired Pizza's Philly Cheese Steak was right at the top of the list. I make an excellent Philly cheese steak sandwich myself. But growing up in Melbourne, Florida, my favorite go-to place for food and hanging out was Charlie's Pizza on U.S Highway 1 near the Eau Gallie Causeway. It might have been the aged grill that Charlie used to cook the mushroom, peppers, onion, garlic, and chopped steak conglomeration, but to this day I haven't enjoyed a steak sandwich as tasty as that great high school memory. All that said, Piesano's Philly Cheese Steak is an excellent sandwich with perfect sautéed onions and peppers topped with a delicious coating of yummy, gooey, melted provolone cheese. The steak is thinly sliced steak and pulls together all the other flavors. The Philly Cheese Steak rolls are not too thick but easily wrap around all the ingredients. I would have no problem suggesting Piesano's Philly Cheese Steak to a hungry lunch time carnivore. Thinking about it GLOBers, back in the day before thin sliced, pre-packaged steak protein, the grill cook would chop his meat for the sandwich from a nice cut of sirloin steak resulting in cubed, diced pieces of delicious red meat. This created a unique texture, bite size taste of spicy protein. That's how I cook my cheesesteaks at home. Maybe that's what's missing from todays' steak thin sliced sammies . . .
- Mike Sanford
Italian lunch stop works for this Piesano
By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor
It was shortly after Lynn Dirk and I sat down at the bar at the new Midtown Piesanos on the corner of University Avenue and 13th St that I knew this new additional location for the local, well-regarded pizza restaurant was going to do well.
"Check this out Mike," Piesanos's General Manager, Ryan Zachow, said waving at a long line of beer taps behind the Piesano's bar. We have 40 taps available connected to 40 different kegs back in our cooler. Ryan was quick to point out that selections from Swamphead and First Magnitude breweries, the newest Gainesville craft beer are proudly included.
The Piesanos crew spent a lot of time and money remodeling the old Beef O'Brady's pub into a stylish restaurant ready to handle the pizza-pie eating, beer-drinking gators of all varieties.
"Sure we expect to do a big student crowd late in the evening, but we also want to let people know this is an excellent family restaurant too with lunch specials and awesome dinner entrees," Ryan added.
Along with a very impressive bar, Piesanos has booths, tables, and a customer-friendly high-top table that can accommodate larger groups of 12 or more.
Since I consider myself a lunch-time eating professional, as I looked over the Piesanos menu, I quickly realized there were a multitude of lunch and dinner choices -- the menu is not for the faint at heart with an extensive menu of Italian and American cuisine entrees, appetizers, baked breads, soup, salads, pizza, calzones, subs, burgers, sides, a kids menu, and desserts. Oh, they also have veggie selections, gluten-free crust, and 30 different pizzas on their Gourmet Specialty Pizza Category. The Piesanos menu is available at the link below.
The GLOB's Content Editor and I were ready to see what Piesanos had to offer. We decided to share a personal pan pizza and an order of Eggplant Parmesan.
The affordable Personal Pan Pizza made sense since we were also ordering an entree. The pie was cut into four slices. Lynn and I had broccoli and spicy Italian sausage topping our pizza, and we were pleasantly surprised that there was left over eggplant and side spaghetti to take home.
The Piesanos red sauce had a certain identifiable spiciness that was pleasing. The Italian sausage enhanced the heat and added a savory flavor to the pie that had the GLOB Master smiling. The crust was very crunchy and somehwhat yeasty and Ms. Dirk detected corn meal in the somewhat crust, which was slightly thicker than a typical thin crust.
The pizza was very good, and I look forward to returning to Piesanos with pals so I can taste the MANY different pies over time.
I had to smile when the Eggplant Parmesan entrée arrived with my share of pasta and red sauce in separate plate. I'm sorry, if you have read any of my other Italian lunches you already know noodles and tomato sauce, with or without a spoon, are wasted on the GLOB Master. I guess I will be going to my grave missing the savory, home cooked joy of these two ingredients that I believe need bountiful assistance from almost any other other ingredient to get me a little excited.
Remembering that we started lunch with a nice helping of warm, complementary garlic rolls and with an oil dip that was more like Italian dressing, we were eating a lot of food at Piesanos.
My share of the Piesanos Eggplant Parmesan was ample and cheesy with large pieces of eggplant in every bite. It was a very good entrée, however I did add my remaining pasta and red sauce to the mix as the eggplant needed a little more sauce.
This was fun lunch experience. The Piesanos bar is a very cool, friendly place to enjoy lunch and watch the light show reflecting off the countless wine glasses about the beer taps as rainbow colors, one slowly after the other, lit up the glasses. It's probably even better at night.
I'm going back to Piesanos. I just checked their menu and they have Shrimp & Mussels. They also have Fra Diavolo: "Garlic, white wine, and spicy marinara." Come on -- any lunch stop that talks about Diavolo certainly gets the devil in me.
The Pluses and Minuses of Piesanos:
Piesanos + indicators: A lot of lunch time choices here. Excellent pizza, 40 beer taps!
Piesan's - indicators: I'm thinking this larger than the average lunch stop for midtown could get crowded really quickly/
Be the first to offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about Piesanos, Midtown. Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments. - THANKS!
- Phone Number: 352 375-2337
- Address: 1250 W University, Avenue, Gainesville, FL 32601
- Urban GLOB Location: Midtown
- Web Site: Piesano's Stone Fired Pizza, Midtown
- Latitude: 29.652377
- Longitude: -82.338769