There are currently 36 pizza joints listed in the yellow pages for the Boise area (this doesn't include multiple locations for chains). So what puts Piehole toward the top of the list? Is it their late night hours? Their screaming-hot deals for a slice? Their fun, quirky staff who always greet customers with an enthusiastic hello? Or is it simply their delicious, New York-style thin crust pizza that I love to cover in grated parmesan and red pepper flakes, fold in half and devour in all its hot goodness? It's all of the above plus one. Piehole brings up distinct memories of my youth, when dressed in Vision Street Wear and flipping a Robert Smith 'do, I crawled the streets of my hometown with $2 in my pocket and a hungry belly. If only Piehole had existed then, I'd have been able to sustain on more than coffee and cigarettes.
I usually visit Piehole late at night, after bar crawling has left me famished and needing sustenance. So visiting them during the day sober and before the lunch rush offered the enticing promise of being able to really appreciate their freshly cooked goods. I purposefully skipped breakfast so I could load up on lunch.
My friend and I entered the funky, artsy and graffitied domain that is Piehole and approached the counter. They always offer two daily special slices in addition to their regular staples of cheese, potato-bacon, pepperoni and, my personal favorite, fresh basil with red peppers. On this visit, they had a special with enchilada sauce, salsa, meatballs, onions, tomatoes, jalapenos and cheddar cheese that looked interesting. I opted for the other special, though, a creamy alfredo-pesto with tofu, mushrooms, feta cheese and sun-dried tomatoes.
The servers were friendly (as usual) and accommodating. My friend and I both had the S3 special, any slice/salad/soda for $6. She had spinach salad, and I had Caesar. In addition, we tried their breadsticks ($3.50). We were torn between ordering garlic or cheese breadsticks, so the counter girl offered to give us half of each. The garlic sticks were my favorite. Although the cheese breadsticks were also yummy, they weren't as flavorful. The garlic sticks definitely gave me something new to add to my midnight cravings list.
We sat down to devour our slices. Mine was extremely flavorful with a crisp crust, and I loved the tofu, feta and pesto combination. My friend had never been to Piehole before and absolutely loved her slice of basil and red pepper pizza.
With nine specialty pizzas on the menu (ranging in price from $14.25-$18.75) and 34 toppings to build your own (a 19-inch cheese pizza is $11, add-on toppings are $1-$1.25), there is definitely something for everyone. After 10 p.m., cans of PBR are a buck, so unless you're a beer snob, you can toss some back and eat to your heart's content without breaking the bank. Other beer offerings include $2.25 domestic bottles (Rolling Rock, Kokanee, Bud Light), or for the micro and import lovers, Red Stripe, Scrimshaw, Sierra Nevada, Broken Halo, Skull Splitter, Rogue Dead Guy Ale and many others are available for $3 a bottle. In summer months, beer on tap is usually available as well.
Another very cool thing is that Piehole delivers to the downtown area when staff is available. Using only the power of their own two feet, deliverers run fast through sun, rain, snow or sleet to ensure customers get their fix of piping-hot pizza pie. With slices starting at $1.70 for the basics and $2.20 for the daily special, you can eat lunch or dinner with little more than the change you dig out of your dirty laundry. The best perk: Piehole is open late. What's not to love?
--Rachel Abrahamson thinks garlic sticks should be the official bread of Idaho.