Cheap Eats: Cabbage Pie
There's a lot more than pizza going on at the new Cabbagetown eateryMonday May 25, 2015 04:00 am EDT
Open since March, Cabbage Pie calls itself "an Italian pizza bistro," but that description belies the assortment of cuisines available at this neighborhood joint. Located in the former home of Village Pizza, Cabbage Pie fills the gap left by its predecessor, and then some. The menu is grounded with Italian mainstays like calamari, fettuccine, and paninis, but it also includes outliers like chicken wings and sweet potato fries. On May 15, the restaurant added barbecue items such as pulled pork, ribs, and pork shanks — complete with a root beer barbecue sauce — to the roster. With so many options, it's hard to stick a label on Cabbage Pie. Classifications aside, the restaurant serves quality food with a charming vibe, perfect for a laid-back first date, happy hour with the gang, or an unfussy weeknight dinner.
COMFY AND COZY: While there are young couples, chatty groups of old friends, and neighborhood regulars all nestled inside on any given night, it's easy to walk in and find seats without a reservation or long wait. Much like its menu, Cabbage Pie's interior is a hodgepodge of mismatched furniture, original artwork, and quirky touches such as a lampshade made of sculpted spaghetti-like lucite. At night, candles flicker atop the dining room's 15-20 tables. Grab a seat at one of nearly 20 bar stools or get cozy on the antique velvet couch in the dim back corner. The staff is friendly and unhurried, adding to restaurant's ambient warmth.
DÉJÀ VU: Cabbage Pie shares its owners and chef, Darvelio Ramirez, with Old Fourth Ward's Bantam Pub, which explains some of the overlap between establishments. Bantam fans may recognize familiar dishes such as Bantam's Angus burger ($8), steamed mussels with garlic cream ale sauce ($10), hummus served with pickles and olive tapenade ($9), and seafood pasta packed with scallops, salmon, shrimp, and mussels tossed in a buttery sauce ($16). The carryovers feel a touch more upscale than Cabbage Pie's more casual and wallet-friendly originals. In general, the priciest items here can cost around $14–$16. But there are also cheaper options such as the Low Country-inspired Stewnami, a steal at $5, and a slice of cheese pizza for $3.50.
MISC MENU: Even though "pie" is in the restaurant's name, pizza is actually listed last on the menu before desserts, as if urging visitors to try other dishes. The seafood-packed Stewnami may seem out of place, but it might be the best bargain at Cabbage Pie. A 10-year-old recipe created by the restaurant's owner, Tim Lance, it won the 2014 Beltline Boil, chosen by the crowd. The bowl comes out steaming and loaded with clams, crab, shrimp, scallops, vegetables, and peppers in a rich burgundy bisque. It's enough food for a meal on its own or, for those feeling generous, to share. There are also plump and meaty smoked bourbon chicken wings ($5 for six, $9 for 12) that come with perfectly crispy skin and house barbecue sauce, hot sauce, and blue cheese dressing on the side.
SLICE IT UP: If the test of a good pizza place is how well it executes classics like cheese and margherita, then Cabbage Pie passes with flying colors. Cabbage Pie's doughy crust supports just the right amount of sauce, gooey mozzarella, and toppings. Think Mellow Mushroom-style, with slightly more chew in each bite. Most slices are $5.50 and are roughly the size and weight of a large paperback novel. There are currently 13 pre-selected varieties, spanning from Mexican to Greek to Hawaiian. Cabbage Pie also recently rolled out a build-it-yourself option for custom creations. One of the most popular specialty pies is the Dream Pizza, a meat-lover's fantasy topped with ground beef, bacon, ham, Italian sausage, pepperoni, and salami. For the meat-averse, there are vegetarian and vegan options throughout the menu, as well as gluten-free crust.