A wood-fired oven housed in a converted shipping container is the centerpiece of this quirky Chinatown International District spot.
At the crest of the Chinatown International District, on a triangle patch of land, sits the oddest of restaurant ventures.
It’s a pie-and-pint shack, rimmed with dozens of Brobdingnagian sunflowers that look like tropical creatures, heads nodding under their own ponderous weight.
The inside looks even quirkier: a shipping container outfitted with a wood-fired oven and a door so the staff can walk to the chicken coop for eggs that will go on top of the prosciutto-arugula pizza.
Here at Humble Pie is where Williamsburg hipster farming project meets the Appalachian front yard.
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It’s a hick-chic, commune-vibe, wind-energy joint that belongs on some obscure island in the San Juans.
Yet here it is, and here it’s been since the summer of 2013, drawing families in the South End and scrubs from Pill Hill. Come 4 p.m., the cheapskates bike over for the $5 happy-hour pie (a 14-inch pizza) and the $3.50 craft beer. It’s an even better deal on Wednesdays, when wines are half off ($7-$15 a bottle) and there’s free live jazz.
Humble Pie is the wacky creation of Seattle architect Brian Solazzi, who decided to put his locavore and sustainability mantras into practice, via pizza joint.
“Pizza is one of the perfect foods,” he explained. “It has all the food groups together in one unit that you can eat with your hands.”
The pizza is tasty, in the way a thin crust piled with cheese and organic meat can’t go wrong.
It doesn’t hew to any style or province, more a hybrid of a flatbread-Neopolitan and New York-style pizza, a charred crust that’s more crispy than chewy, topped with organic or locally sourced meat.
Humble Pie may be energy efficient, but it’s not restaurant efficient. More than half of the 3,000-square-foot lot is devoted to Solazzi’s chickens, gardens and shed. The rest is for alfresco seating at picnic tables under umbrellas. (N.B. it’s not a pleasant place to sit when the weather turns south.)
But it’s hard not to be taken in by Humble Pie — by the idea that here in Seattle, despite all the money and development, a place like this can still spring up, with a shipping container as kitchen space, chickens pecking in the dirt and diners swaying to the jazz well into sunset.
Humble Pie, 525 Rainier Ave. S., offers happy hour Tuesday-Sunday 4-6 p.m. with $5 Margherita pizza, $3.50 beer and $1 off on wine and cider. On Wednesday, live jazz and half-off wine. Closed on Mondays (206-329-5133 or humblepieseattle.com).