Fast food is not supposed to be this good, this fresh, this local. I cringe at the thought of even calling it fast food. The thing is, PI Craft is fast and convenient, delicious, and affordable. It’s the new fast food.
- Signature Mexican PI in the works
- Begining of a signature Chipotle PI
- Chipotle PI, before
- Mexican PI, after
- Chipotle PI, after
- Homemade Apple Pie
We’ve seen bits of the same concept at Chipotle with the delicious, fresh food, crafted by the eater. PI Craft is similar, and then some. Where Chipotle has just a few options, PI Craft is the same – half pizza, whole pizza, focaccia-wich, or chopped salad. Where Chipotle has just a few ingredients, PI Craft has many options for sauces, cheeses, meats, toppings and garnishes. More on the pizza art later.
PI Craft is a locally owned-and-operated restaurant with plans to expand to surrounding areas. The flagship store in Tonawanda, fired up their ovens about three weeks ago. While some “mom & pop” restaurants might still be trying to get it together at this point, these guys are off and running. PI Craft has been well thought out by the Develder Restaurant Group, also owners of the Ember Woodfire Grill in Livonia, N.Y. After some research they decided that parts of the menu they created at Ember Woodfire Grill would be great in a faster concept where full, sit down service is not necessary. Not a decrease in customer service or quality, just less time and money for the customer. “We have the first conveyor brick oven in western New York. We make from-scratch pizzas, focaccia sandwiches, and chopped salads all in about 6 minutes. Almost everything is from scratch. We don’t even have a microwave or fryer in our building. ” said Manager Jason Singer of Hamburg. You can tell by tasting the product that the ingredients are of good quality. They plan to source locally whenever possible. “We even offer the local Johnny Ryan sodas on our fountain and serve several organic drinks and snacks in addition to home-made apple pies.” said Singer.
I ask you not to judge a book by its cover here. As history has taught me, the outside of a restaurant is not always predictive of what’s inside. From the street, Pi Craft looks ordinary. Walk inside, and you will find a well designed space, with an industrial vibe, high ceilings and inviting decor. The attractive design makes you want to hang out and spend time. A big menu hangs from the ceiling, inviting diners to craft their own meal. (Notice the crafty wall art to your left.) I’m a big fan of the full disclosure of ingredients – it’s all there for you to see as you make your way through the line. Take your food to go in a personal PICraft pizza box or stay and enjoy the experience at a long table on a bench or stool. The design reminds me of Chipotle – and I love it.
The pizza art begins with house-made crust (multigrain or gluten free) prepared ahead of time and charred a bit so that the endless toppings you choose to heap on don’t make a soggy mess – at all.
“There are thousands of potential combinations that customers can create or they can try one of PI Craft’s signature PI’s.” says Singer. I suggest taking a look through the menu before you arrive so you can really nail your pizza art when you get there. The signature PI’s include -Chipotle, Classic Cheese, Ham Artichoke, Mexican, Meat & a Veggie White Pizza. We tasted the Chipotle & Mexican, both delicious and very different. Not your average pizza thanks to the toppings which pack on the flavor. I’d highly recommend either PI. Or get crafty:
To finish off the PI, they utilize a new, unique, and fast-firing technology: A 700 degree stone conveyor oven to put out your food -fast.
The focaccia-wich is offered in Cheese, Steak, Pesto Chicken, Meatball, Hamjam and Veggie. Chopped salads include Chick Pea, Mexican and PI Classic. YUM! The homemade apple pie is good too with a pastry-like crust. See the full menu below.
PI Craft’s location in the North Towns offers convenient access to UB students, mall-goers and passersby on the 290. Maybe it’s considered a hike for South Towners, but we’re going to go ahead and say it’s worth it. The idea is quality food the way people need it these days – fresh, quick and affordable. PI Craft emphasizes hospitality first and it shows. I suggest you visit and enjoy for yourself.
1750 Niagara Falls Blvd, Tonawanda, NY 14150
Hours: 11am-9pm everyday
Additional parking in the back