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Hagerstown restaurant turns pizzas into delicious works of art

August 18, 2013|By ANNE CHOVEY | Special to The Herald-Mail
  • A flame-cooked Greek pizza is one of many tempting pies at at Flying Pie Co. in Hagerstown.
Ric Dugan / staff photographer

Don’t mistakenly call Flying Pie Co. a pizza shop.

This one is more special than that — it makes pies. The company’s Potomac Street location has seen a bunch of other restaurants come and go, but I think this one might just stick around for a while.

My friends, Pap Ricka and Mack Aroni, recently invited me to join them for dinner.

As with previous versions of the restaurant, there are two sections to the place. We entered through the door on the right into the bar area. We wanted dinner, so we didn’t stop, but it was inviting enough to contemplate future after-work stops for a beer.

A hostess met us and ushered us into the dining room on the left side of the building. We were able to sit wherever we wanted and she gave us the menu.

Flying Pie has craft beer in bottles and on tap, as well as a pretty nice selection of wine. We ordered a couple of beers and looked around.

The restaurant has made the most of its historic setting. The wood floor and tin ceiling look authentically old without looking run-down. Strings of small white lights illuminate the dining room, which offers lots of tables and chairs.

What grabbed our attention the most had to be the big wood-fired oven in the corner. Flying Pie sent its chefs to Seattle to learn how to use the oven. According to the menu, the food might look darker than usual, but “charring is part of the wood-firing process.”

The menu began with a couple of appetizers, such as red pepper hummus and flatbread or “bay bites,” which are crab, roasted corn and tomato on crostini.

Salads and sandwiches followed, and included a “Southwest Salad” of black bean corn salsa, chicken, avocado, roasted tomatoes with a jalapeño ranch dressing, and a roasted turkey bacon sandwich with cheddar cheese and cranberry aioli.

There were a couple of entrées as well — cedar plank salmon with lemon herb butter served over asparagus and hand-cut filet mignon with scallion-rosemary butter.

Of course what I wanted, and what dominated the menu, was pizza.

The pizza comes in one size, but in many varieties. The Irishman has potatoes, bacon and cheddar, and is topped with sour cream and chives. The Goat Herder has basil pesto and is topped with goat cheese, red onion, spinach and roma tomatoes.

Our waitress told us the top two favorites were the Maui Wowi — ham, bacon, pineapple, red onion and tomato sauce; and the NY NY —steak, sausage, bacon, pepperoni and ham with tomato sauce and cheddar cheese. It was very hard to decide.

After much deliberation, Pap got the Greek Chicken and I got the Rasta Pork. Mack declined pizza altogether and went with a Cuban sandwich. True to his name, however, he got a side of macaroni and cheese.

As we waited for our food, I noticed that there was plenty of wait staff, and they were pleasant and efficient. It felt to me as if someone had invested sufficient amounts of time and money to make Flying Pie a success.

Our pizzas came to the table in mouthwatering splendor. They were slightly misshapen, reflecting that they were freshly handmade. The crusts were browned and the cheese was gooey. I couldn’t wait to dive in.

My Rasta Pork had shredded pork and bacon with a jerk glaze on it, giving it a barbecued tang. It also had Monterey jack cheese and pineapple, which heightened the sweetness.

But the best part was the crust. Flying Pie gives each diner his own pizza cutter, so you can decide how big a slice you want. The crust made a lovely crunch and then gave way as I plunged the cutter into it. Crisp yet not hard, it was perfect.

Pap’s Greek pizza had feta cheese, chicken and roasted red peppers. It was topped with fresh greens and a beautiful drizzle of balsamic vinegar. It was pretty to look at with a taste to match.

Mack loved his Cuban with pork, ham, cheese and pickle. His macaroni and cheese was amazingly cheesy with browned, crispy edges. Mack thought it might even be a bit too cheesy, but Pap and I disagreed. The cheese was velvety, creamy and thick, and was neither runny nor dry. We loved it.

Pap was able to finish about two-thirds of his pie. I managed only half. When we reheated them later, we lost that beautiful crispy crust, but the flavor was still terrific.

As we were leaving, our waitress told us the downstairs lounge would soon be open. I am looking forward to that, as it will bring back memories of long ago when that location was a favorite late-night venue.

Check out Flying Pie Co. You can do your part to bring downtown Hagerstown back to life and enjoy some amazing food.



Anne Chovey is a pseudonym for a Herald-Mail freelance writer who reviews restaurants anonymously to avoid special treatment.



Restaurant review

Flying Pie Co.

4 1/2 stars (out of 5)

Food: 4 1/2 stars

Service: 4 1/2 stars

Ambiance: 4 1/2 stars

Value: 4 1/2 stars

Address: 43 S. Potomac St., Hagerstown

Hours: Closed Mondays; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday; 11 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.

Phone: 301-739-4372

Food: Wood-fired pizza, sandwiches and salads. Several vegetarian options are available. You can also design your own pizza with any toppings you wish.

Bathrooms: Large and clean. No accessibility issues noted, although they are a bit of a walk from the dining room.

Parking and handicapped accessibility: Parking is available nearby on the street at meters or in the parking deck. No accessibility issues were noted.

Reservations: Accepted, but are not necessary.

Website: www.flyingpieco.com; also on Facebook



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