By the board
With its tropical decor and naming scheme, Longboards Beach Fired Pizza is bringing “gourmet” pizza to a part of town that could use some fresh dining options. And based on the number of happy faces I saw during my visit, I think they’re off to a pretty good start.
Pizzas are 11 inches in diameter and start with plain cheese ($6.99), single topping ($7.99), or you can build your own five-topping pie for $8.79 (extra toppings are $1, gluten-free crust is an additional $3). The crust on a plain cheese pie was thin and crispy, holding up well under a generous amount of mozzarella and just enough mildly spicy red sauce. We also ordered three signature pizzas ($8.79 each), a calzone ($8.79, three toppings) and a side salad with balsamic vinaigrette ($2.99).
The pizza crusts are pressed into uniform discs, then passed down an assembly line of ingredients from which you can select. There were a lot of options to choose from for sauces, cheeses, veggies and spice shakers, but, thanks to a pretty focused set of folks behind the counter, the process moved along quickly. The line ends at a gas-fired oven that must be cranked up pretty high; we’d barely gotten seated before food started hitting the table. That’s a pretty impressive level of service for a recently opened enterprise.
My friend’s pepperoni, purple onion and mushroom calzone—with red sauce and mozzarella—was sprinkled with oregano, grated Parmesan and olive oil. The thinness of the envelope added a lot of crackle and crunch, without a hint of the doughy uneven quality that I’ve come to expect with calzones. It was a toss up between the calzone and the specialty pie that followed it for best bite of the evening.
That specialty pie was the Woody, a combination of ranch-based sauce, mozzarella, grilled chicken, bacon, artichoke heart, red onion and roasted garlic that was every bit as good as it sounds. I’m not always a fan of white sauce pizzas, mostly due to either blandness or a heavy mayonnaise quality I find less than appetizing. This sauce worked really well with the toppings, and it was all I could do not to wolf that whole thing down by myself.
Barbecue sauce, mozzarella, pepperoni, sausage, jalapeño and salami made up the Shark Attack, a fairly apt name given its bite. The sauce was pretty sweet, but it was tempered a fair amount by the spicy meats and peppers. I actually thought I was going to dislike the combination—not being a fan of barbecue sauce on anything but slow-smoked meats—but it actually kind of worked. If you’re unlike me and love sweet things mixed with savory, this could be the taste sensation you’ve been looking for.
The final pizza—the Islander—started out with a great combination of olive oil, butter Parmesan sauce, fresh garlic, mozzarella, spicy pepper, roasted red onion, scallion and, strangely, honey. The sauce sounded like it might be a greasy mess, but what I could taste of it was quite good. Unfortunately for me, the whole thing was drizzled in a considerable amount of honey. One of my friends really enjoyed it, but she apparently likes honey on anything and everything.
Overall, our group enjoyed a good meal and conversation together, and the kids scarfed down an impressive amount of food in record time—not a bad way to spend a blustery, rainy autumn evening.