Many restaurants use glitz, glam and garish decor to attract customers through the doors and to their tables.
Others, however, build years of reputation and prestige as their primary selling point, making themselves establishments and staples of the community.
Firebird Pizza and Pasta is a true staple of Pleasant Grove that I had been looking for an excuse to dine at ever since my family moved closer to Pleasant Grove. The divey eatery is right off of Pleasant Grove’s Main Street, positioned just outside of the Ace Hardware in an unassuming, yet vaguely inviting old diner.
Inside, it’s exactly as I’d expected a community establishment to look — a few booths, some tables and a TV with ESPN quietly humming in the corner. Delivery is the obvious option for most Firebird fans, but we live just outside of the delivery area, and we felt like dining in would be a fun departure from the norm.
The menu is full of, you guessed it, pizza and pasta options. Firebird has many original specialty pizzas that caught my eye, like the Lemon Pesto or the Chicken Bacon Ranch. My wife and I decided to both order ourselves a 10-inch pizza, though we stood motionless at the menu for a good beat.
The cashier insisted one of us try the Urban Cowboy, with a zesty homemade base, Canadian bacon, pepperoni, Italian sausage, jalapeño peppers and (I know, people have feelings on this final topping) pineapple. I chose that, while my wife’s appetite landed on the Sizzling Firebird, with firebird sauce — a tangy sauce akin to barbecue sauce — red peppers, soft feta cheese, mozzarella, pepperoni, bacon and ranch dressing drizzled on top.
To get a more comprehensive selection of the menu, and so we didn’t have a meal essentially made of carbs, we ordered a small buffalo chicken salad to share. But because we’re not perfect, we also ordered a shareable side of loaded cheesy bread, topped with bacon, cheese and tomatoes.
The salad was first to our table. The leafy bed of lettuce and arugula was topped with crunchy bacon, moist chicken, tangy crumbles of blue cheese, ranch and buffalo sauce. The other typical toppings, like tomatoes and croutons, complemented the salad. Each topping combined pretty well with the salad as a whole for a tasty appetizer, each bite just as enjoyable as the previous. It was, unlike many salads, loaded with toppings and we were left with a tin of toppings by the end of the meal.
The cheesy bread was next, and at this point, my stomach was already telling me to slow down. A feeling of fullness was fast approaching, and a sense of dread, that I might not make it to my first slice of pizza, was settling in. I indulged in just one slice. The gooey cheese was stringy and scrumptious, topping a perfectly cooked crust. Firebird is known for its crusts, and I was excited to see what this meant for the pizzas themselves.
I was not disappointed. My first bite into my Urban Cowboy pizza was heavenly, with a thoroughly baked crust base lying underneath the overflowing toppings. Firebird is also known for really laying the toppings on thick, which if you don’t like a fully topped pizza, is something you should be aware of. I, on the other hand, loved it. The pineapple bits’ sweet notes sang perfectly in tune with the spicy jalapeño, while the robust, meaty flavors danced along to the zesty base. I felt like doing a boot scootin’ boogie or maybe a little “Old Town Road” with this Urban Cowboy.
My wife’s Sizzling Firebird impressed upon me why it was the namesake of the restaurant. This pie was our definite favorite of the two ordered. The salty feta and the smooth ranch drizzle paired perfectly with the mild chunks of red pepper. The bacon was a pleasant crunch on the fluffy crust. If the Urban Cowboy made me want to dance a jig, the Sizzling Firebird made me feel like flying away, if not weighed down by the assured excess of the daily recommended intake of carbs.
Unsurprisingly, my wife and I grabbed a couple boxes for the other halves we couldn’t finish, an enjoyable snack we absolutely revisited once our heart rates dipped a little from the overindulgence on food.
I was also impressed by the price tag for each pie. Most large — 14-inch — pizzas were around $15 each, and specials, like the $30 two pizza and cheese bread family special, are routinely offered to make Firebird as affordable as it is appetizing.
While I can’t speak much to the pasta end of Firebird Pizza and Pasta, I can assuredly guarantee that this restaurant is a happy departure from the typical pizza delivery of the larger chains. Restaurants like this are staples of the community for a reason, and if it isn’t already, it will be a staple of your dining out experiences.