It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say pizza has risen above the status of any and all other foods — enough so the dish could even be considered a separate food group in its own right. There are those who could expound on the intricacies of traditional Neapolitan style pies and others who have written books dedicated to the sanctity of New York’s authentic pizzerias. All of which is to say, you can’t be blamed for thinking there’s nothing new to be seen or tasted when it comes to the subject of pizza in 2016.
However, you’d be wrong. For proof, you’d need to look no further than a small, new-ish pizzeria right here in the Valley. Called My Slice of The Pie Pizzeria, the strip-mall restaurant blends New York pizza traditions with the bold, spicy flavors of the Southwest to produce pies that are novel if nothing else. And some of them are actually pretty good.
If the proposition of an al pastor taco cross-bred with a wide, thin-crust pizza sounds like heresy, then you may as well turn back now.
For all others, a good place to start with the restaurant’s menu is the Elote Flatbread, a bread-based creation that serves as a perfect example of how My Slice of the Pie turns familiar Mexican fare into fun food you can’t help but crave. A base of soft, stretchy pizza dough arrives topped with olive oil, garlic, roasted jalapeno, and mayonnaise before being finished with generous amounts of sweet corn, cotija cheese, Tajin seasoning, and more garlic. The result is a flatbread that perfectly emulates the sweet, spicy flavors of Mexican street corn with the added benefit of being easy to eat with one hand. Be warned, however: Like many things on the restaurant’s menu, a few bites of this dish are likely to leave your lips tingling.
For a cooler start, the restaurant’s version of garlic cheese bread is also worth a try. Appropriately labeled Pan Con Ajo y Queso, this carb-lover’s appetizer combines the usual ingredients — garlic, olive oil, butter, cheese, oregano — with roasted jalapenos for a subtly Southwestern take on a classic pizzeria dish.
You can build your own pizza at My Slice of the Pie, choosing from either a traditional marinara sauce base or Southwestern one that includes fire-roasted habanero. But even the options to add “spreaders” including jalapeno puree and premium toppings such as chorizo and fire-roasted artichokes wouldn’t justify skipping the restaurant’s signature pies.
One of the most popular is the Supremo, which includes both pollo asado and chunky crumbles of locally made Schreiner’s chorizo, plus diced green chiles, roasted corn, cilantro, and red onion. There’s traditional mozzarella cheese in there, too, but it’s complemented with both cotija and asadero cheeses. Two slices of this pizza won’t make a light meal, but the combination of flavors — and especially the greasy, fatty mouthfuls of chorizo — mean you’ll have a hard time resisting a third.
Also popular is the restaurant’s playfully named Al Pastor, What? Pizza. It takes the smoky, sweet flavors of an al pastor taco and presents them in an uncommon way. You’ll never be satisfied with a boring Hawaiian pizza again after trying this culinary mash up featuring cubes of perfectly-cooked pork, grilled pineapple, sliced red onion, cilantro, and both asadero and cotija cheeses. An artful drizzle of fire roasted jalapeno puree adds depth, while the bites of sweet pineapple offer bright contrast.
The third, and perhaps our favorite of all the restaurant’s Southwestern pizzas, is the beefy You Gotta Carne Asada pizza. It’s a messy endeavor to take on this pie, which features cubes of chargrilled carne asada plus red onions, thick slices of roma tomatoes, and mozzarella and asadero cheeses. These alone would make for a weighty slice of pizza, but the whole thing is then crowned with circles of fire-roasted tomato salsa, avocado puree, and crema. It’s spicy, meaty, and utterly decadent — the kind of pizza you can only manage to confront in between sips of ice cold beer. (And speaking of beer, My Slice of the Pie scores major points for its BYOB status. From noon to 10 p.m., diners can bring their own beer, wine, and spirits to enjoy with their food — though there is a small corkage fee and limits on the amounts of booze allowed per person.)
There are options for vegetarians, too. They include the Veg and the Southwest Veggin’ Out, the latter being the more interesting option, assuming you can handle some heat. This pizza comes layered with roma tomatoes, diced green chiles, roasted corn, red onion, roasted garlic, cilantro, cotija, and queso fresco. Imagine a giant taco salad dumped out onto a pizza base — minus the taco shell, of course.
And if you’re still skeptical about the idea of pizza topped with ingredients more typically found at a taco shop, know that My Slice of the Pie owner Randy Bortin isn’t new to the taco game. Most recently, the restaurant industry vet worked for Kahala, as in the Scottsdale-based company known for franchising quick-service restaurants including Cold Stone Creamery, Samurai Sam’s, and America’s Taco Shop. There’s also the fact that Bortin’s sister-in-law is the one and only America Corrales of America’s Taco Shop, who used to own several of the restaurants along with her husband, Terry.
Initially, Bortin wanted to open My Slice of The Pie up the street in the former Mama Mia Brick Oven Pizza space on the southwest corner of 40th Street and Indian School Road. When the deal on that space fell through at the last minute, Bortin says he had to sell his house in the neighborhood in order to get the restaurant’s current home. “I went all in,” he says. He’d already started working on the menu with a chef friend he knew from college and who currently lives in California, but who returns to the Valley to help Bortin tweak and expand the menu from time to time.
Down the line, Bortin hopes to add a bring-your-own-vodka Bloody Mary brunch to the restaurant’s offerings. Imagine a Bloody Mary bar alongside breakfast pizzas topped with potatoes, chorizo, and egg.
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For now, the restaurant’s sticking to dine-in, takeout, and limited delivery. Bortin says there’s no specific delivery area, though diners can usually count on getting their food brought to them if the order comes from within three or four miles of the restaurant. For larger orders, they might drive much farther, he adds, saying, “I hate saying no, so we’ll do whatever we can, whenever we can.”
Arcadia residents might be familiar with the Pig’s Meow, a popular neighborhood bar located just a few doors down from My Slice of the Pie. Well, the restaurant closes several hours earlier than the bar, which is known for offering vintage video and board games alongside a menu of beer and wine, but when it’s open, My Slice of The Pie will happily shuttle food over to the popular watering hole. Now that’s some synergy we can get behind.
My Slice of The Pie Pizzeria
3724 East Indian School Road
Elote Flatbread $5.50
12” Supremo $16
12” You Gotta Carne Asada $16
12” The Southwest Veggin’ Out $14