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Luke's Craft Pizza in Charleston setting the local bar with thin-crust pie

Luke's bar-style pie

There is no edge to a bar-style pie.

In the pizza world, if you have extra dough, you make a bar pie.

Luke Davis of Luke’s Craft Pizza has also tinkered with Detroit-style pizza and deep-dish pies when the Westside shop winds down the night with more crust makings than customers to feed. But his wife, Brittany, was most impressed by his bar pie, which is now offered on select Mondays as a special.

Since debuting two weeks ago, the Davises say, the style has been tremendously popular. This week, Luke’s sold out of thin-crust pizzas within hours of its 4 p.m. opening.

Officially, what Luke’s is serving is a bar-style pie, since the owners of a New Hyde Park, N.Y. pizzeria in 1992 trademarked the term “bar pie.” But the pizza recognized as such has been served at Northeastern joints since the 1940s, and bears an uncanny resemblance to pizzas served around Chicago and Dayton, Ohio.

Eaters who came of age with microwaves may also think of frozen pizza upon first encountering bar-style pie, partly because of its familiar square cuts. But the commonalities go deeper: While bar-style today isn’t an indicator of low quality, it was developed for convenience’s sake. According to Scott Weiner of Pizza Today, tavern owners with gas ovens wanted a single-serving snack that would keep beer drinkers from going home when they got hungry.

Bar-style pizza doesn’t require fancy ingredients or specialized equipment: Indeed, the standard bar-style pie is topped with canned mushrooms or grocery-grade pepperoni rounds.Yet that hasn’t stopped pizza makers from exploring the possibilities of a crisp, edgeless crust that’s chewy on top: In the last few years, bar-style practitioners Margot’s Pizza in Brooklyn and Via 313 in Austin, Tex. have both opened to instant cult followings.

At Luke’s, the pizza’s sweetish dough is more complex than what many true bars offer, and the cheese is more generously applied than if the final product was sold for $3.99 with a pitcher. But the pepperoni is still round and greasy, and at $12 a serving, the pie is a fine way to celebrate local pizza culture’s experimental edge – or lack thereof.

Reach Hanna Raskin at 843-937-5560 and follow her on Twitter @hannaraskin.

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