1309 21st Street | Sacramento, California
I never use this phrase, and I mean it in the most endearing and honorary sense, but Pieces Pizza is that crack! In terms of pizza by the slice restaurants, I will go on record as saying that Pieces is quite possibly the best pizza I have ever devoured. It’s the most expensive, but the heartiest and freshest slice you’ll find.
Located on 1309 21st St., across from Washington Mutual, Pieces is a little tricky to spot if you don’t know it exists. An illegible neon sign hangs in the window, but it is best recognized by the many patrons who dine in the restaurant’s outside seating. The atmosphere inside is equally modest, with home-style tables and chairs, a mural and a dizzying amount of flyers for upcoming local shows. One thing that immediately struck me about the joint prior to indulging in my first slice was the music they had playing. On my first visit they were playing Organized Konfusions’ Stress: The Extinction Agenda (I pay very close attention to these things and never forget such trivial moments), and have continually proven their fine taste in music with my every visit. Eating in at Pieces is almost like hanging out in your living room, and while some might scoff at that, I happen to enjoy the low key comfort and casual vibe of the restaurant.
Upon entering, there are always at least three different pizzas to choose your slice from. Pesto and pepperoni are the mainstay slices, and combinations, Hawaiian or vegetarian are also frequently ready. On occasion, you can find more unusual slices like a sun-dried tomato and blue cheese crumble, or maybe a chicken and bacon and slice. If you don’t find something you like, they will make to order, but be prepared to hang out for a minute. One of the restaurant’s defining traits is they use only fresh ingredients. The vegetables are still full of life and taste, and the meats are always juicy and full of flavor. They serve light on the sauce (which I like) and lay on a thick layer of cheese (again, which I thoroughly enjoy). As mentioned, a slice is a little expensive (running from $4 to $6), but they are huge and fitting for an entire meal. A regular slice is often too big to fit entirely on a plate. I’m telling you, one slice is a meal, and while I’ve seen the brave try to take on two slices they inevitably fall short.
Their portions and fresh ingredients are all worthy of praise, but what makes Pieces that crack is the crust. I don’t know what they do to it, (I suspect a lot of butter) but it is fucking incredible. If you’re there with me, I will give you uncomfortable glares until you offer me your crust; it’s that good. I swear it’s in the crust that lays that secret to all my cravings. It’s not overly thick or fluffy, but again just right (due to the hand-tossing no doubt) with the ends rolled into tunnels of buttery and cheesy awesomeness. It’s crispy and never soggy, and also makes for a sturdy handle if you’re eating with the taco fold method. They need to make bread sticks of the crust, and if they do, I hope they name it after me, because there is no way a mans life can be immortalized with more honor than having a doughy stick of carbs named after him.
If the above-mentioned facts weren’t enough, Pieces is open late into the night and come 2 a.m. is often full of like-minded drunkards looking to consume a sponge for all the liquor. They also serve beer (I believe four different kinds including Stella), but don’t go in at 1:45 with the intention of furthering your night of drinking as all alcoholic beverages are collected as soon as the clock strikes 2″¦trust me, I made the mistake last night and watched four full pints whisked away to who knows where. Also worth noting, their tip jar is a pitcher full of water, which I was told is to deter theft. Ingenious!
So yeah, I jock Pieces pretty tough. The food is great, they’re open late and the staff is always real cool. I ate twice there last night so pardon me while I lace up my running shoes.