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Aug 8, 2010 06:23 PM

Piola in Chapel Hill Open(?)

Does anyone know if this spot opened over the weekend? Driving by I noticed that the "Coming Soon" signs were down and I could swear I saw something that said Now Open. Anyone want to be the one to look foolish (or not) and drive by to check it out? If not, I'll do it tomorrow and report for sure.

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    1. re: LulusMom

      In the East 54 complex. It's the first building (same as where Kerr Drugs is) and the store is on the corner.

      1. re: burgeoningfoodie

        My car is in the shop right now, but I'm hoping to get it back today. If so, I'll try to get by there tomorrow. If not, then (fingers crossed) the following day. Or I could just try calling a bit later today.

        1. re: LulusMom

          yeah well I go by there on my way home so I can definitely check it out.. just didn't know if anyone else on here noticed.. all I do know is Five Guys in Meadowmont is open which is no big whoop for me as I can just as easily go to the Mall... though the standalone shops have peanuts and are usually faster.

          1. re: burgeoningfoodie

            Just tried calling. No answer. Since it is just about 1:00 pm, this makes me think it likely isn't open yet (although sometimes people don't start answering phones until later in the day). Most places have at least some staff around by 1:00 even if they don't open until 5:30. Still, not definitive. So I've sent an email to them asking when they open. BTW, I had no idea this place was a chain. I'd never heard of it before.

            1. re: LulusMom

              Yeah Italian based pizza chain. They opened one in Raleigh a few months ago.

    2. According to their web site, the Chapel Hill store is open. Hours are currently 5 pm to late night, with lunch coming soon.

      I've heard the pizza here is expensive - hope it is worth it.

      20 Replies
      1. re: romansperson

        Huh, that's funny - I guess my email spurred them to change the website. Yesterday morning it still said "coming soon." I'd trust it though, if it now says open.

        1. re: romansperson

          The prices aren't much worse than Bella Mia (going by the Raleigh site's menu).

          1. re: burgeoningfoodie

            I am not familiar with Bella Mia so I can't say whether their pizza is worth it either. I just feel that it shouldn't be an expensive food unless the ingredients and execution are truly exceptional. I am also a total pizza snob, though, so there is that ...

            1. re: romansperson

              Pizza is the simplest thing to make at home. Offset the overabundance of your snobbery and premium price avoidance with your willingness to make your own crust, use fresh NC ingredients (seasonal tomatoes, basil, oregano, etc.) and do you own dishes. You'll cut the cost of your pizza by 50%, double the flavor, and support your local growers at the same time. CHALLENGE, FOODIE!!!!!

              1. re: ToothTooth

                I already make pizza at home and have for years - that's why I am a pizza snob! I end up comparing purchased pizza with what I can make at home and it sadly all too often falls short, especially the crust. Some days I would just like to be lazy and pick up a pie, but have yet to find a truly stellar place ...

                1. re: ToothTooth

                  While you can make a good pie at home, I don't think you can make a great one. My home oven will only hit around 550 degrees, which is too cool for a great pizza with a great crust. That's the beauty of Bella Mia's coal fired oven. They can get them at a proper temperature. The few really good pizza places with the right oven will always have an advantage over a homemade pie. Although I'll take a home made pie over the many lackluster shops out there.

                  1. re: dinersaurus

                    Since the topic of this thread is supposed to be Piola, I am not going to take things further afield arguing any points about making (yes, great!) pizza at home (I am sure there is more than plenty of that already in the Home Cooking section).

                    I hope that anyone who tries this new place out will report back here and let us know what they think. Has anyone tried the one in North Hills?

                    1. re: romansperson

                      Yelp doesn't give them the best review, but I'm not sure if they are franchised or not. The Atmosphere as you can see in the pictures is a little bit Red Robbin like to me. I wasn't thrilled with Bella Mia's pizza and I agree pizza shouldn't be an expensive thing. People love Brixx but I don't get it either. I know they have good Monday beer specials though. As far as pizza at home, I haven't even gotten around to making my own crust (probably because the recipes I have make like 10 at a time and I don't have the freezer space). You can always try grilling your pizza or using cast iron.

                      1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                        I've tried Piola in North Hills and I liked it. I thought it was a nice crust and the ingredients seemed fresh and of good quality. I tried their Napoli style pizza and it was similar to ones that I had in Italy. As a word of caution, their pie does not travel well. We got a pizza for take out and it was a bad move as the mozzerela recongealed on the trip back and the crust got soggy in the box. I would only eat it there. That said, now that Bella Mia opened up, I really don't have a reason to go anywhere else. I think they are making a really great pie and have become my new Triangle benchmark.

                        Romansperson - I wasn't calling you out personally in my post above. Poor choice of words on my part by using the word "you." I was just saying that it's hard to make a really good pie at home in general because, in my view, you need a lot of heat to really do it right. But, to keep things on topic, I'll shut up there.

                        1. re: dinersaurus

                          Not only high heat but a lot of time to slowly develop the dough. I don't know about others but I don't have the time-- or patience-- to properly make pizza dough.

                          1. re: bbqme

                            Weekends are good if you are going to make Peter Reinharts original Neopolitano dough otherwise you could use his Artisan Breads Every Day version.

                            1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                              bbqme; you can buy the pizza dough they serve at Panzanella at Weaver St. Then make your own, I keep intending to do this so I can't comment on the quality but it's in the frozen section next to ice cream.

                              101 E Weaver St, Carrboro, NC 27510

                              1. re: Rory

                                Rory, this is GREAT info. Thanks.

                                1. re: LulusMom

                                  I've tried Piola. It was OK. One pie was undercooked, the other pie - half was undercooked (failed to rotate?).

                                  Menu descriptions are better than the actual food. Salads were your basic bagged lettuce varieties.

                                  As a former pizza cook in several restaurants, I think pizza is only as good as the person putting it together and cooking it. I find most pizza joints inconsistent,
                                  Piloi included.

                                  The Pioli bar made me a vodka a 16 oz glass!! WTF? Bartender said "that's how we make them here." Apparently the rest of the free world gets it wrong?

                                  1. re: Fu Dee

                                    depending on the length of the pour, that glass might be a feature, not a flaw. If it's a normal pour, 2 oz of vodka in 14 oz of tonic & ice hardly seems worth the bother

                                    1. re: brokegradstudent

                                      I'm not THAT big of a fan of tonic water. A heavier pour and 4 slices of lime and I'd be set for the night.

                                      1. re: brokegradstudent

                                        Exactly. The size of the glass doesn't really tell you much. Most mixed drinks are still only 2 (possibly 3) oz. of liquor per.

                                  2. re: Rory

                                    I've tried Trader Joe's pizza dough and wasn't too happy. Once it's been cooled down I don't know if you can get that nice soft texture again. But mybe Weaver St.'s is better. I have on occasion gone by Alfredo's at University Mall and gotten them to sell me a couple of fresh dough balls. That has worked out well.

                        2. re: dinersaurus

                          I tried Bella Mia last week. I was expecting a very crisp exterior on the crust, not so much.

                  2. re: romansperson

                    The good news - it's open. The bad news - it's open. We live in Chapel Hill and make the long drive to Cary to Bella Mia for pizza. So we thought we'd give Piola a try on Monday, when Bella Mia was closed. The best way to tell you about our pizza is that it had no soul. It had crust. It had sauce. It had basil. It had very fresh mozzarella. But no taste. No solo mio. Salad was nice and fresh but bringing a bottle of olive oil and balsamic to the table for dressing is what we can do at home if I'm too lazy to make dressing. When I go out to eat, I expect better. With all the Italian lights and stuff hanging on the ceiling, the room is remarkably sterile. It doesn't smell like a restaurant; it smells like a newly built hotel. Service was perfunctory. And the food, well, it's not bad. We were just hoping for something terrific. After trying Paoli, I can assure you Bella Mia has nothing to worry about.

                    Bella Mia
                    2025 Renaissance Park Pl, Cary, NC 27513

                    Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC

                  3. Just back from a few days away and found an email saying that they open for dinner this week, starting at 5:00 pm.

                    1. Just went there today for lunch. Quick review: pizza was good (nice thin crust), service was spotty.

                      I ordered a pizza and a side salad. Just before, I heard someone at a table next to me order the same thing and the waitress asked if he wanted the salad first. That should have made me suspicious. Who eats a salad *with* their pizza? I wasn't asked if I wanted my salad first (by a different waitress). Sure enough, the guy next to me gets his pizza then, 30 seconds later, a server delivers his salad.

                      A few minutes later out comes my pizza. Then, the server brings the salad. I tell him I don't want it since I expected it before my pizza. He says "OK" and returns. You can guess what happens next. The check arrives with the salad still on it. I tell the waitress and she goes to have it removed. No problem there. She did apologize (in a kind of someone-else-messed-up kind of way) saying she put in the order for the salad first but didn't know why it didn't come out.

                      I was a little surprised because a woman at that same next table was extolling the virtues of Piola describing how someone she apparently knew there would train the pizza makers how to make the pies in what she called "the Piola way". I expected better service especially since they've been open for a while now.

                      I really liked the pizza and will probably return. This could have been a one-of-a-time (well, two-of-a-time, I guess) thing with those particular staff. We'll see. Piola's pizza was good but not so good that I'll keep going back if it happens again.

                      1. Someone mentioned that the 29th of each month they have bottomless gnocchi... can anyone confirm or deny this?

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                          Confirmed. I saw it on the menu when we were there today.