The west side of Radford Main Street boasted one of the city’s legacy restaurants, The Pizza House. We couldn’t tell you how long it was there; it was just always there. Then we noticed construction, and before we knew it, The Pizza House became Brick House Pizza. Under new ownership with a modern attitude toward pizza, Brick House Pizza has a new menu, a new vibe, a new bar, a new wood-fired pizza oven, and West Main Street still has a community gathering place.
The original brick walls with big street-side windows create a cozy look. The tin ceiling is high. The bar has flat-screen televisions and 10 taps featuring mostly craft beer, including a sour beer and a cider. Wooden tables in the dining area are spaced for conversation. A stage by the window foretells live music is part of the Brick House plan. In the background we heard Bachman Turner Overdrive’s “Taking Care of Business,” classic rock, great idea.
The menu is quite simple, with appetizers, salads and pizza. You can start your meal with cheesebread ($4), a Buffalo chicken dip with tortilla chips ($5) or the wood-fired meatballs ($6). We had the meatballs on more than one of our visits because they are just good. Covered in a fresh and chunky marinara sauce, they are tender and savory. Made with pork and beef, you will think to yourself these would be great as a pizza topping. And, they are!
We came here for pizza so don’t hate us for skipping the house salad ($5) and the spinach salad ($6). We also breezed right on by the chicken wings (six for $6 and 12 for $10).
For nostalgia buffs, you can order a Pizza House Original Pizza. Don McClean’s “American Pie” was playing as we contemplated trying an original. We were told they used pre-made crusts for the originals, so we passed.
“Smoke on the Water” by Deep Purple cued up overhead as we contemplated a wood-fired 14-inch hand-tossed Brick House pizza. We had friends with us so we ordered The River ($12) and the Brick House ($18). Just to be clear, we ended up taking a few pieces home that night. (Tip: heat up leftover pizza in a skillet.)
The River pizza is described as a classic Margherita pizza with tomato sauce, mozzarella and fresh basil. To prevent repetition we will just say the crust on all the pizzas was special and required munching even after the toppings were gone. Being wood-fired, expect your crust to have a few charred places and a smokey flavor. The simplicity of this pizza allows you to appreciate the mozzarella and the fresh basil, which are not overpowered by the tomato sauce.
Everyone noticed when Kansas’s “Carry On Wayward Son” began, so we carried on to the Brick House pizza. It is the most expensive pie on the menu, topped with pepperoni, ham, Italian sausage, bacon, red onion, mushrooms and green and red peppers. Underneath was the subtle tomato sauce and just enough cheese to hold it all together. The crust was up to the challenge of supporting the toppings if you used two hands.
A return visit included music from Elton John and Billy Joel. The Wildwood White pizza ($15) gives you the opportunity to add a topping of your choice to a white sauce with mozzarella and feta cheese. Here is the opportunity to break a vegetarian’s heart if you want to add pepperoni, bacon or other meats. But Tom Petty and the Heart Breakers started to play so we added black olives to accommodate the vegetarian at the table.
There is a gluten-free crust available made with rice flour for $11; add your own toppings from a traditional list. This is also the base price to build your own pizza on their hand-tossed crust starting with tomato sauce and mozzarella.
Respectfully recognizing Radford’s history is the Ingles Ferry ($15). Toppings include mozzarella, ham, pineapple, bacon and fresh basil. Did you know Ingles Ferry transported pineapples across the New River? We didn’t either. There is also the Mary Draper ($14), which is simply mozzarella, red onion, mushrooms and peppers.
We appreciated the classic rock all through our visits. Brick House Pizza has hosted several local bands and plans to feature live music often. Tuesday nights from 7 to 9 p.m. they host a drop-in jam session. Follow them on Facebook for more information.
Each of our visits also included running into friends. Brick House Pizza has earned a following, a deserved one. We noticed a steady stream of people coming in to pick up take-out pizzas. During our visits we experienced friendly and enthusiastic service.