Just go ahead and add Dino’s Tomato Pie to all Seattle’s best pizza lists — maybe at the top.
Pizza perfectionist Brandon Pettit has done it again. Dino’s Tomato Pie opened just last week on the curve of Capitol Hill’s Olive Way, and it’s already a mob scene. Unlike Pettit and partner Molly Wizenberg’s revered, restrained Delancey in Ballard, Dino’s is also a scene fit for the mob: old-school, East Coast all the way, with pebbly-textured red plastic water glasses, booths with fake-marble Formica tables and a custom-carved oak bar back. (The figures on the latter are Bacchus and Venus, not Pettit and Wizenberg, though some might say, same difference.) Specialty cocktails include Long Island iced tea, and even the website is a retro eyesore/delight.
But the proof’s in the pie — and the pie is just awesome. Where Delancey’s wood-fired, Neapolitan-style pizza attains refined excellence, Dino’s square-format, thick-crust version achieves stuff-it-in-your-face, Jersey-style greatness. (They make thin-crust too, but no one in their right mind would order that with thick like this.) Of course, Pettit had four brick ovens made to his specifications on-site, but, he says, it took figuring out that the pans had to be properly blackened to get the pie exactly right.
Dino’s Tomato Pie
1524 E. Olive Way, Seattle; 206-403-1742,
Hours: 4 p.m.-2 a.m. daily
Etc: credit cards accepted; no barriers to access; mostly 21-and-over
The menu: Refreshingly concise, Dino’s menu offers two salads — “regular” and “fancy” — and six house pies (half-and-half pizzas are allowed, if they’re all white or red sauce). The build-your-own option comes with a warning that more than three toppings “WON’T BE ANY BETTER.” Wine costs $6 a glass.
Don’t miss: Even thick-crust haters will love Dino’s superrich Sicilian version. Approximately an inch high, the crust still stays light, honeycombed with air bubbles; the beautifully, unevenly burnished bottom bears a bonus edge of caramelly blackened cheese. Bright, fresh-tasting tomato sauce and high-quality toppings crown the glory.
Also don’t miss: The mural in the back hallway (no spoilers).
The setting: Installed in a former check-cashing place, the set piece that is Dino’s already feels like it’s been there forever (and the vintage family photos are real, including one from Pettit’s prom). The soundtrack perpetuates the time-travel: Cyndi Lauper, the Bee Gees. It’s dark, and when it’s full, it’s loud. Expect to wait — it’s probably going to be full a lot.
Summing up: One fancy salad was enough for two at $9, while an eight-slice Sicilian-style pizza for $26 was enough for three or possibly four hungry people (and made outstanding leftovers).