When I first heard a pizza restaurant was opening in the heart of Chattanooga’s Southside, I was a little uncertain. I do love pizza, but I am somewhat leery of the clientele a pizza place can draw.
It’s not anybody’s fault, per se, but the promise of a hot meal for a couple of bucks can be a magnet for vagrants, homeless people, junkies and the poor. A lot of factors can exacerbate this problem, such as proximity to both public transit and pre-gentrification neighborhoods. If a place is open late at night and serves beer, it makes it even worse. Let’s face it… what blue-collar Joe want to grab a quick, cheap slice as he walks home after a hard night at work?
Trust me, I lived in New York City so I know what I’m talking about here, and the idea of pizza place coming to Jefferson Heights immediately raised red flags for me. But I’m pleased to report that Southside Pizza has overcome my initial apprehension and delivered a pizza dining concept that’s totally in synch with the style and flavor of my adopted Southside home.
First of all, the floors are polished concrete. Everyone who knows me knows I love polished concrete floors, and Southside is truly a concrete floor Mecca! The design style is sparse and minimal, hewing closely to the hip urban loft paradigm. A delightful vintage menu-board with retro-lettering hangs over the register, but don’t let it fool you. This menu is very of the moment, most notably, the sinful prices. I was relieved to see that the prices for pies and slices were comfortably out of the range of homeless people, vagrants and the other less-than-desirable elements who still traverse Main Street’s urban artery.
The slices are on the smaller side, which is great for me because I usually can’t eat very much pizza. I think charging a little higher prices for smaller slices will force some Chattanoogans to think critically about their dietary intake, which is definitely a good thing for the whole community!
As of right now, there’s not a gluten-free option, which is a shame as my oldest child, Salinger, has quickly developed a gluten intolerance. But Southside Pizza only recently opened, and are yet to unveil some tantalizing new options, such as gelato, appetizers, and exclusive Southside delivery. So maybe we’ll see some gluten free options in the future!