Pitch Pizzeria in Scottsdale has a plush patio. Out on that patio, threaded overhead with string lights, flush with languorous diners, you can sit back with coal-fired pizza and Pitch-branded wine from Napa Valley.
The Scottsdale restaurant opened in November 2017. Owners Brian Bale, Matt Wymore, and Dean Leisman have two other Pitch locations in Nebraska. Though the Scottsdale Pitch crafts pasta in-house and serves meatballs, it isn’t Italian. And it isn't just a place that slings tomato-sauced pies. “A lot of people label us as a pizza joint,” he says. “But we’re not.”
Pitch is a huge, nicely designed restaurant with friendly service that feels slightly hokey. The food is somewhere on the dartboard between Italian, California-style, comfort food, and pizzeria.
Pitch's oven was custom-made in Seattle. It reaches 700 degrees, hotter than a home oven, but not close to the incendiary temperatures of many pizza joints today. Most pizzerias in these Sonoran parts use wood for fuel. Pitch uses coal. Coal is pitch-black. Hence Pitch’s name.
The oven is the centerpiece of the restaurant but is only used to cook a fraction of the restaurant's dishes. These include pizza, wings, salmon, duck, and long-stem artichokes.
“We’re definitely chef-driven,” Bale says of Pitch’s approach to cooking and eating. “We make everything from scratch in the morning. We make all of our pasta in-house. We grind all hamburger on-site.”
Pizza is in the Neapolitan style. Coal firing imbues pie bottoms with a black blush, crust with a firm crunch. Pizza ranges from ultra-classic (Margherita) to ultra-novel (a Thai pie with peanut sauce and pickled ginger).
The menu has some range. Pasta is made onsite and includes gnocchi and seafood ravioli. There are truffle fries and Comte mac and cheese and a tomahawk pork rib-eye. Starters include calamari, half a dozen kinds of wings, and crab cakes. You can mix and match any two small plates for $13 – maybe olives and cauliflower, or fries and pistachio-dusted Brussels sprouts.
Given all the north-of-the-border and east-of-the-Atlantic menu options, the appearance of tacos seems dubious. Pitch’s chef, however, comes from Oaxaca.
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Manuel Carino moved to the States when he was young. He started at Pitch in Nebraska as a dishwasher. He worked his way to the stove, and then to executive chef.
Pitch is as much about the patio as the food. It is broad and luxurious, with cars passing on the road (people cramped inside), and a cutting-edge boutique office complex across the way. The restaurant has a homey feel. (“We cut every pipe ourselves,” Bale says of the wine cellar.) The patio feels like somebody’s really nice porch, an easy place to kick back with wine or coal-fired pizza.
Pitch Pizzeria. 6350 East Thomas Road; 480-252-7500.
Monday to Thursday 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.