January 15, 2009 | 9:00am
The man and his oven (photo courtesy of vincentsoncamelback.com)
One of the Valley's superstar chefs, Vincent Guerithault, has a relatively new addition to his benevolent empire: pizza. Vincent's Back Door opened last summer with Friday-night-only service behind his Vincent Market Bistro, next to his Vincent's on Camelback, near the corner of 40th Street and Camelback.
Just a half-mile away is the extra-extraordinary pizza of La Grande Orange, and while Vincent's 'za isn't nearly as remarkable as that LGO stuff, it does have a lot going for it: Vincent's is cheaper, quicker, and a heckuva lot easier to pick up. The missus and I live only a few blocks from LGO and love its pizza almost as we do each other, but sometimes even our love can't withstand the hassle of picking up a pizza at LGO. Anyone who's ever been there knows what I'm yapping about. Parking there has become unbearable, and even the "curbside service" can drive you crazy.
So, Vincent's is a more-than-suitable backup plan. Just give them a call, choose from 13 varieties, wait only 10(!) minutes, pull up behind the restaurant (where they cook them in a mobile kitchen), hand 'em your eight bucks, and zoom away with your food. Easy as (pizza) pie.
The Margherita: A solid, if not exactly zesty, option. (photo by Laura Hahnefeld)
The Ratatouille pizza is likely my favorite. It's loaded with vegetables, so much so that you'd best eat this pizza quickly before the crust collapses under the weight of the veggie goodness. There are onions, zucchini, roasted red peppers, olives, and probably two or three other veggies I'm forgetting. Highly recommended.
I think it's cool that Vincent's, a bastion for fine dining, is offering this considerably less expensive option for those who may not have the scratch to dine at this other ventures. I mean, if you can, you'd do well to try out the main restaurant, the Market Bistro, and his Saturday-morning farmers market-esque events. They're all excellent, and the pizza venture is a good way to sample his goods.
I'd love to hear what you think of Vincent's 'za or about some of your favorite budget-oriented dining options. Just e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vincent's Back Door
3930 East Camelback Road
Hours: Monday through Friday, 5 to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.