If there's a prix fixe menu, we've never been there.

Cincinnati Bites
Mushroom and Swiss Burger from Main Street Cafe from

Posted Thursday, December 21, 2017

Fireside Pizza, founded by Mike Marschman, started off as a roaming "Pizza Wagon" trailer he hauled to food truck events, Findlay Market and other area farmer's markets. In 2014, Marschman parlayed his success into a brick and mortar location at the old Walnut Hills Fire Co. #16 building on McMillan St., a gutted, 150-year-old firehouse. I remember enjoying a slice from the former wagon, which had a makeshift wood oven attached, way back in the early days, back when the 8451° building downtown was still a parking lot and food trucks would still periodically park there serving lunch.

We stopped by with a group of friends for a makeshift birthday party of sorts, after the man of the hour had chosen Fireside. The interior sports ghostly reminders of the firehouse's history and former glory. Exposed brick reveals an original series of murals --some are busts of former firefighters past, while others are lists of old firehouse locations displayed near a preserved fireman's pole, which disappeared into an opening in the ceiling above. A couple vintage video game machines complete the ambience.

firehouse wall mural Firehouse mural

Fireside's menu is blissfully abbreviated: if you don't like pizza, or one of their two salads, then you've come to the wrong place. There are no sandwiches, no other sides. Pizza, my friend. Just pizza. Several local and domestic beers flow from taps and bottled alternatives are available, as well as a full bar. Chicago-style root beer and Coke products round out the fountain drinks.

There are six specialty, wood-fired pizzas available, including a regularly changing seasonal pizza. During our visit, it was the "Meatballer," topped with garlic-Parmesan cream sauce, basil, Parmesan and mozzarella cheese, Roma tomatoes, red onion and near golf ball-sized meatballs. Diners can also customize their own pizza using the available meat, cheese, veggie and sauce options. Pizza sizes come as either a 9-inch or a 14-inch.

Greek pizza 9-inch Greek pizza

My girlfriend choose the 9-inch Greek ($9), a sauceless pizza with olive oil, provolone/mozzarella mix, spinach, red onions Kalamata olives and feta cheese. She added artichoke hearts. I selected the Meatballer ($9), while the rest of our group selected variations of the Redlegger (red sauce, mozzarella, pepperoni, red onion and roasted peppers) and the classic margherita.

Once our orders were placed at the counter, there wasn't much of a wait before the first pies began to roll out. Mine arrived first, and was a glorious pizza to behold, at least when viewed from the top. The crusts at Fireside are blessedly thin and crisp, and my toppings were nicely arranged and very appetizing.

Alas, as I bit into the first piece, I realized that the bottom had been burnt. Not just mildly, but nearly inedibly so. Still, it didn't stop me from powering through half the 9-inch pizza, as I found the meatball and topping combo hearty and delicious. And there was something to be said about eating a pizza with an ash-like, carbon aftertaste in a remodeled firehouse. If the pizza had just been removed from the oven a minute sooner, it would have been perfect.

Meatballer pizza 9-inch Meatballer pizza
burnt pizza Burnt bottoms, burnt bottoms, talk about charcoal, my pizza's got 'em :(

On the other hand, everyone else in our party was quite pleased with his or her respective pies. So out of six people, Fireside managed to burn the pizza of the lone food blogger of the group. Not very good at Russian Roulette, this restaurant.

But given how much people rave about Fireside, and given my past positive experiences back during the mobile wagon days, I'm going to assume my burnt pizza mishap was an odd anomaly.

For those who enjoy a smoky, relatively thin crust, wood-fired pizza, Fireside remains a solid bet.

Fireside Pizza Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Fireside Pizza

Price: Moderately Expensive ($11 - $16 per person)
Service: Good
Rating: 3.0 out of 43.0 stars






Other Recent Reviews

  1. Sandwichy Impressions: Fond: Lunch & Deli
    -posted Tuesday, April 3, 2018
  2. Our first look at Cooking with Caitlin's restaurant
    -posted Monday, March 26, 2018
  3. Chicken Impressions: Revolution Rotisserie & Bar
    -posted Saturday, March 17, 2018
  4. Seitan Worship: Losantivill3
    -posted Wednesday, March 7, 2018
  5. Chinese Impressions: Kung Food Chu's AmerAsia
    -posted Monday, February 26, 2018
Ratings Legend
four stars = Outstanding
three stars = Good
two stars = Fair
one star = Poor
  • From Leslie about El Trio Mexican Grill:
    El Trio closed last week :(
    posted: Tue., Apr 3rd, 2018 @ 3:19 PM
  • From TJ Jackson about Bourbon Smokehouse:
    Best pulled pork in town: webbs bbq in Newport, open ONLY on Fridays. and cheap.
    posted: Thu., Feb 1st, 2018 @ 12:39 PM
  • From Natasia Malaihollo about Dope! Noodle and Dumpling Shop:
    Thank you for the review and background on the restaurant history! I was a huge fan of huit and super disappointed when they “closed.” Was wondering what’s going on with this musical chairs of a restaurant strategy so thank you for clarifying!
    posted: Fri., Jan 26th, 2018 @ 6:50 PM
  • From Jeff about Dope! Noodle and Dumpling Shop:
    Thanks for the thorough review! It honestly does seem like a new restaurant is opening every other day..but the thing about the wait staff..they might be getting paid a higher hourly rate because they are only open for lunch. I’ve worked at a restaurant where I was paid $10 an hour but the owner kept the tips, it sucked but sort of made sense for the lunch shift.
    posted: Fri., Dec 22nd, 2017 @ 9:00 PM
  • From heather about Wild Eggs:
    we liked it too - things are fresh and made from scratch and high quality - good experiences all around
    posted: Wed., Dec 20th, 2017 @ 10:55 AM
  • From Cincinnati Bites about Dope! Noodle and Dumpling Shop:
    Thanks for writing, Heather. I definitely like their other restaurants. Lalo's pazole and fish taco are better than Mazunte's, I think. But I agree they are definitely hit-or-miss. I'm still rooting for them, though. There's talent there. :)

    posted: Mon., Nov 20th, 2017 @ 1:30 PM
  • From Heather JOhnson about Dope! Noodle and Dumpling Shop:
    I tried Huit & Lalo and they were both expensive and so mixed - one thing great - another thing barely mediocre. More of the same it sounds like - hits and misses for a really expensive lunch. Nope on Dope.
    posted: Sun., Nov 19th, 2017 @ 12:41 PM
  • From TJ Jackson about Udupi Cafe:
    I do not know if it is truly a match for the product you remember, but Frostop Root Beer is sold at Jungle Jims and is a personal favorite of mine.
    posted: Fri., Sep 29th, 2017 @ 6:00 PM
  • From Jones about Haru Korean Restaurant:
    As a long time reader, I found this review to be one of your loveliest and most enthusiastically vivid. I can't wait to try this place!
    posted: Tue., Aug 29th, 2017 @ 9:48 AM
  • From Jordan about Grand Central Delicatessen:
    yes!
    posted: Sat., Jun 3rd, 2017 @ 12:16 PM
Where The Locals Eat featured blog
Cincinnati Web Design | Cincinnati Mobile Web Design