The other day my father was enjoying a rare (and well-deserved!) day off from his busy medical practice. He offered to treat us to lunch, and I suggested we go to . It’s one of those places I always drive by and wonder how the food is, so I was excited to try it out.
One of the first things you notice when you walk in is the big coal fire oven. With the pizza makers tossing dough in the air with expertise, already you’re impressed with this place. It’s so nice when you’re at a restaurant and you can see them making the food.
The restaurant is clean and bright, and has both tables and booths. The booths are an added bonus for parents with small children, because when you’re juggling a two year old and a 6 month old, as in my case, the last thing you want is to have them sit on rock-hard chairs at a table in the middle of the restaurant.
The menu at Coal Fire has a little bit of everything Italian. Their signature dish, of course, is their pizza. They offer regular pizza with a choice of three sauces, classic plum tomato, signature sweet and spicy, and spicy. They also have margherita, rustic red pepper, and fiery sausage pizzas.
All of their pizzas are made with homemade dough, sauce and cheese. Homemade cheese…yummy. In addition to their pizzas, they also have salads, pasta dishes, sandwiches, and sides. The menu offers something for everyone, even vegetarians like myself, which I always like to see at a restaurant.
After looking at the menu, we decided to try their Margherita pizza, a House salad, and a Grilled Caesar salad. Both salads were phenomenal, and I don’t even like salads! The House salad has fresh lettuce and vegetables, tossed with a light vinaigrette. The Grilled Caesar was a first for me. I’ve never had grilled lettuce before. When I read the description, the thought of grilled romaine lettuce didn’t really sound that appetizing, but, oh was I wrong. Grilled lettuce is delicious.
Here, they served it with shaved Parmesan cheese and a slice of grilled bread. The lettuce has such an interesting taste when grilled. Since the Caesar dressing is made with anchovies, I opted for plain romaine and added salt and pepper. I could have eaten that alone and been happy.
The pizza here is as fresh as the salads. The pizza crust is thin and crispy and delicious. The sauce has such a fresh tomato taste, you know you’re eating homemade sauce. It’s topped with fresh mozzarella and chopped fresh basil. After having this pizza, you can definitely tell the difference between Coal Fire pizza and delivery pizza.
The prices aren’t that bad, either. A large Margherita pizza costs around $16, and the salads are between $6-$8, but they feed 2 people. The pasta dishes range from $12-$16, and the sandwiches are around $8 each.
Overall, this is a great place to get fresh-tasting food for a good price. I definitely know where to go for great pizza now…and grilled lettuce!
Coal Fire is located in the shopping center at the crossroads of Snowden River Parkway and Rt. 103, directly in front of the Shipley’s Grant neighborhood. Their address is 5725 Richard’s Valley Grant, Ellicott City and you can find them online here.