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Apr 15, 2008 05:52 AM

Coal Fired Pizza - Greenville, SC

Coal Fired Pizza is a (relatively) new pizza place at the corner of Pelham and 14. It markets itself as a "Pizza and Wine Bistro" and I have been looking forward to trying it.

Went last night. Dark, small space, with warm hardwood floors, large bar area, but a mostly disjointed main dining space. Also a small outdoor patio (when it's not 40 degrees outside). There was an odd (?) interesting (?) wine "station" that very well might be cutting edge technology (?), but the idea of swiping a card and punching a button to have my glass of wine dispensed is not what I expect, or want, out of a wine bar.

It was very busy when we arrived at 7:30 (tons of young children too), but we were promptly seated right in front of the dough station - where the staff was rolling, tossing, and preparing the pizza dough. Menu was very pricey for suburbs and pizza place, even if they are deeming themselves a wine bar. It offered several interesting looking salads ($13-$18), a dozen appetizers (90% with mushrooms, FWIW) ($13 - $20), a small sampling of pastas($unsure), and a decent selection of meat (filet, veal, lamb), seafood (snapper was the special, scallops, shrimp) and chicken (italian classics like parmigiana) (entrees $20 - $35), and a large selection of build your own or specialty pizza (small $12-$18, large $18 - 23). We also learned of the specials for the day when the table next to us was seated (long after our ordering) and their waiter informed them of such an offering, while our server did not mention anything at all.

The wine list was large, with what seemed to be a fair selection. We came to find out that all wines marked with a small dot were out of stock and that was about 75% of the menu, which left only high priced ($45 and up) bottles of mediocre wine available. We opted for beers instead. We overheard management telling an irate customer beside us that they are in the process of switching out their wine list and reworking it - but still.

We ordered a shrimp appetizer that stated on the menu (for 2 people) and a large pizza (for 3-4 people) with the hopes of having lunch today. Our appetizer (I can not remember the name of it) arrived and while the red sauce it was covered in was nice, it wasn't special. The dish consisted of 3 (yes, 3) shrimp that had not been cleaned correctly and were overcooked for $13 - oh and some white beans were mixed in as well.

Before ordering, we had contemplated one of their specialty pizzas, but ended up going with a very basic Margherita. Simple, easy to compare to other pizzas, and really quite easy to execute well. Pizza arrived and I apparently eat far more than the average person b/c the large pizza was not so large at all. We dive right in to discover only a vary sparing amount of bufalo mozz, a sprinkling of basil, and approximately 4 plum tomatoes that had been halved. The crust had a nice texture from the coal fire, but was bland and in several places was WAY overcooked. The toppings were bland and there simple wasn't enough of them.

Service was way off. There were excruciating pauses in delivery of service items and our waitress joked with us that we surely wouldn't want to look at the dessert menu since we finished our large pizza. We waited once seated for menus. We waited to place drink orders. We waited for our pizza. We waited and waited and waited for our check. And we waited even longer than that to get our card back after paying.

I was so disappointed when we left. We spent $45 on a "large" pizza, a 3 shrimp appetizer, a Newcastle, and a Stella. I wanted Greenville to have a good pizza option and a wine bar, even if it is out in the 'burbs, but I just can not go back.

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  1. authentic Greenville dining experience ;-)

    Thanks for that detailed review...your experience will save me the trouble..or at least if I go, I'll know where to be careful and what my expectations should be. I am fascinated by the "wine bar" description. Wine vending machine, perhaps?

    3 Replies
    1. re: danna

      somewhat vending machine - very much "soda fountain at a fast food restaurant" only all in chrome finish. just bad, very bad.

      1. re: ap65065

        you should go post that on "wine" or "not about food". I would be interested to hear if this is a trend nationally. did you get a straw ;-)

        1. re: danna

          oh my - this is what I found after a very quick google search. coal fired pizza has the set up similar to the 2nd photo in the slideshow under "commercial" - the one where she is pushing the button and out the wine comes.

    2. Good to know. And I wanted to try this place out last Sunday, but it was closed. I guess, in the end, being closed on Sunday helped me out...for once! Usually, things closed on Sunday just leads me to frustration. Let me tell you, it's especially difficult to entertain the in-laws on a cold rainy Sunday when nothing's open...