Peace, love, positivity — and great scratch recipes! Those are the variables that go into every morsel at Catch-A-Fire Pizza, according to Ethan Feller, front-of-house manager at this interesting eatery. Interesting in part because Bob Marley, his works, and his philosophical positions are the touchstones of the entire operation.
Marley, you’ll recall, was a Jamaican-born musician, singer and songwriter credited with bringing island reggae music from obscurity to global attention. He plied his trade from the early 1960s to his death at 36 in 1981. During his career, his reputation was built on the spirituality of his music and his outspoken support for a more engaging, accepting, inclusive social fabric worldwide. At the Blue Ash location on Kenwood Road, you’ll note a stylized image of Marley in the foyer area, along with a smattering of quotes from his songs. “Catch-A-Fire” comes from Marley’s album of the same name, released in 1973 to a groundswell of critical acclaim.
So, Marley. But what about those pizzas? My suspicion is that both Marley and Jewish diners-out would and will, respectively, love the pizza menu section devoted to vegetarian selections. Before we explore options, some facts: the pizza dough is made from scratch in the eatery’s kitchen; pizza sizes are ten and sixteen inchers; gluten-free vegan and cauliflower crusts are available; the cheese blends are proprietary, prepared for Catch-A-Fire restaurants only; the ovens are wood-fired, using carefully aged and kiln-dried applewood and hardwoods; ovens top out at seven hundred to one thousand degrees Fahrenheit; there are a slew of toppings too numerous to mention that include sauces, cheeses, veggies, greens/herbs, peppers, olives, and vegan options for pepperoni and sausage.
Leading the hit parade among vegetarian choices is a cheese pizza entitled One Love — it’s the pizza we enjoyed. One Love features traditional red sauce under, and four cheeses on top, namely mozzarella, provolone, asiago, and Romano. Diners may sub nut-free pesto for the red sauce if they want. We did the red, and the pizza is delicious with that sauce. For me, there is something special about a pizza done in a wood-fired oven. The crust is simply better, dryer, crispier, the way pizzas taste and chew in Italy. Hard to beat pizzas prepared that way.
We ate our pizza with an accompanying salad—a great combo. At Catch-A-Fire, you have a choice of house, Caesar, arugula, and grain of truth, which brings together olives, artichokes, peppers, roasted tomatoes, chickpeas, and red onion with an arugula base and vinaigrette dressing.
Other vegetarian pizza selections include Vegetables United, Natural Mystic, Mellow Wood, Mr. Brown, and Vegan Vibes. Also, there is a Towne Square Sicilian pizza choice, in both vegetarian and cheese varieties.
Before there was pizza, there were Boursin potato skin appetizers to eat. The skins are found in the Fire Starters section of the menu, where there are six selections in all, five of which are okay for kosher-style diners (meatballs feature cheese in the meat mix). These potato skins are scrumptious! According to Feller, the potato skins are a crowd favorite: “Everybody loves them. The Boursin, which is an herbed cream cheese, is made in-house. We scoop out the centers of the roasted potatoes, top it (fill the hole left by the scooped-out potato) with cheese and roast it again.” Personally, it is hard for me to imagine anybody not liking those potato skins; they are that good.
In the sandwich department, one stands out for kosher-style diners: the veggie. This sandwich is served on a Sixteen Bricks artisan roll, with chips or a side salad. Featured on the special roll are marinated shitake mushrooms, artichoke, baby spinach, roasted tomatoes, red onion Calabrian chili, goat cheese, the house four-cheese proprietary blend and basil-balsamic dressing. I’m betting this veggie option packs plenty of flavor and plenty in which to sink one’s teeth.
Part of the cachet of Catch-A-Fire Pizza is its commitment to local, sustainable partners, along with its One Percent For the Planet membership. The menu states the following: “We seek out the best local sources to create food that tastes better, helps community farmers & entrepreneurs, and benefits our planet.” The sustainable partners are listed above the statement. As for the one percent part, this worldwide organization’s members pledge one percent of annual income or salary to bettering the planet. Monies pledged are given to organizations focused on reversing environmental degradation and the like. Must be a mitzvah, don’t you think?
See you at Catch-A-Fire Pizza!