Overall Experience - 9.2
Summary : Delicious and creative pizzas just outside of Charleston make for a winning combination.
Over New Year’s, I spent a couple of days down in Charleston, South Carolina. It was my first trip to the state, and some pizza was definitely a must. Over the years, I’ve heard so much about how great of a food city Charleston is, and I was excited to try many of its famous restaurants like Husk and Hominy Grill. However my research about pizza in the area, let me to a spot about 20 minutes outside of Charleston proper: EVO Pizza (1075 East Montague Avenue). In case you’re wondering, EVO stands for Extra Virgin Oven.
The restaurant is one large room which seats about 40, along with a bar on the left side when you walk in which seats another 10. On the Friday night I was there it was packed and we had to wait about 30 minutes for a table. Although it didn’t necessarily strike me as a neighborhood spot everyone seemed to know each other. I guarantee my girlfriend and I were the only tourists in there.
There are many things that I really like about EVO. First off, their menu is focused. They only have eight pies available. And almost everyone one of them was unique — meaning that I had never (or rarely) seen the combinations of toppings before. Take, for example, their Chorizo and Pumpkin pizza featuring: garlic pinenut pesto, fresh dried cured chorizo, roasted local pumpkin, fresh oregano, wood fired corn, gouda, mozzarella, and parmesean. We didn’t get this pie. Not because it didn’t sound amazing! But because there were so many other delicious sounding pies on the menu.
Ultimately we ordered four pies. Really two pies are enough for two people. But it was the first pizza I’d had in 2015, so I guess I went a little overboard. However, another thing I like about EVO is that you can order 8 inch or 12 inch pies (we, of course, went with the smaller size). The difference in price is only $2 per pie. So I’d almost always recommend ordering the larger pie. Unless you are already ordering twice as many pies as is socially acceptable. Here are the pies we got:
basil pesto, house mozzarella, parmigiano-reggiano
red sauce, fresh basil, house mozzarella, parmigiano-reggiano
Mushroom & Havarti
basil pesto, local mushroom ragout, roasted garlic
havarti, mozzarella, parmigiano-reggiano
pistachio pesto, split creek fromage blanc, creme fraiche,
ground pistachio, mozzarella, parmigiano-reggiano
I loved all of the pies. But when you’re presented with such interesting options, it’s probably okay to avoid the Margherita pie if you need to narrow it down. I can’t really pick a favorite among the other three. I thought that Bianca pie was especially delicious. The basil pesto, while not overwhelming, combined with the two cheeses on that pie to make a hit. Basil pesto was also featured on the Mushroom and Havarti pie, but even less prominently. I thought this was the heaviest of the pies. But I love mushrooms and I love garlic. So I was totally into this pie too. And finally… the Pistachio Pesto pie. I thought this was super creative and unlike any pie I’ve ever had. The “pesto” here might be a misnomer — every definition I can find about pesto lists basil as an essential ingredient. I’d think of this more as “pistachio sauce” — which contains ground pistachios which are mixed with olive oil and salt before being applied to the pie. Throw on some cheeses and dig in.
I can’t think of much I’d change about EVO. They have a good beer list. The service was great. The prices were reasonable (the most expensive 12 inch pie tops out at $15). And we even managed to get a bubble on one of our pies. If that wasn’t a sign, I don’t know what is. EVO is among the best pizza places in the country.