Across the United States, 100 acres of pizza are consumed daily. In 2014, pizza places — restaurants, carryout, take-and-bake and delivery — did a combined total of $38.5 billion dollars in sales.
Pepperoni is the preferred pizza topping but according to research and consulting firm Technomics, the fastest-growing ingredients as pizza toppings are yellow onion, corn, chive, thyme, balsamic glaze, Thai peanut sauce, wing sauce and sweet barbecue sauce.
It appears the folks at Finn’s Brick Oven in Mount Pleasant did their homework before opening. There, fresh herbs (basil, oregano, cilantro and rosemary) are available as garnishes. But there’s more: Pizzas are topped with brie, Granny Smith apples, walnuts and caramelized onions; bacon, lettuce, tomatoes and avocado; Korean beef bulgogi, kimchi, red onions and mushrooms. You can have it your way choosing among nine proteins, 10 cheeses, 20 vegetables and nuts; three crust styles and four sauces.
Building to order apparently has strong appeal among millennials. Uncle Maddio’s, a fast-casual pizza chain that opened this winter in Mount Pleasant, provides similar personalization opportunities in its “building to order” program (48 toppings, six sauces, 27 vegetables and 15 meats). Rick Hynum of PMQ Pizza magazine refers to this as “the let’s all be different together” mode.
For me, it is a tremendous shuffling of the pizza deck as I prefer a pie simply adorned, letting tomatoes, cheese, crust and basil articulate the essential nature of pizza.
So I suggest you visit Finn’s with a mindset of global flatbreads and circumnavigate the food trends with broccolini, EVOO, arugula, kimchi, Cholula, ranch dressing, barbecue sauce and smoked meats and cheese as your options.
The “thin and crispy” dough was a bit one-dimensional in flavor compared with the “hand-tossed” recipe that allowed for a bit of a bready layer to develop, which was a welcome sponge for the sauce and cheese’s oily separation.
The pies are 12-inch rounds, generously topped, and are baked in a wood-fired brick oven. Use caution if you pile on the vegetables as they render moisture as they cook and can dampen the crispness of the crust.
The Margherita is not the classic Neapolitan in style but the chunky tomato sauce, dots of mozzarella di buffalo and shower of fresh basil leaves translate well on the pizza meter.
They have annexed the flavors of the Mediterranean to their Med; embraced Hawaii with upgraded prosciutto paired with pineapple; parlayed well the plume of ’cue using smoked meats, cheeses and bacon to infiltrate a ruddy barbecue sauce base; and bombed the Tuscan with meats.
Keep thinking flatbreads and your pizza sensibilities will remain intact.
Starters and salad travel those same global foodways: Southern pimento cheese jazzed with bacon and jalapeno, Middle Eastern tahini and garbanzos buzzed with smoked jalapenos and classic spinach and artichoke dip spinning in its cream cheese orbit. All align well with the pizza combinations that follow.
The wood-fired wings, slow-roasted to a succulent finish, need just a touch to the roof of the oven for a finishing kiss of char and pass on the sauces as the wings carry their own weight in flavors.
Their antipasto is an old-school classic and “shares well” at the table. Salads are entree-sized and would benefit from a good toss in their dressings before plating and serving. Kudos to them for offering any of the salads as a side salad for a reduced price ($5.50).
Pastas are generous with Alfredo sauce doing the heavy lifting in the pasta signature selections. Know that you can customize your macaroni and enjoy any selection with a side of homemade meatball. It is possible to eat simply at Finn’s.
Sandwiches do not spin in the same trajectories as the pizzas. Finn’s Cuban, beef on a weck and grilled chicken parmesan are welcome handhelds to the lunch trade.
Beef on a weck, made famous in Buffalo, N.Y., is thinly sliced roast beef stacked on a kummelweck. The latter is a roll (German roll: weck) topped with caraway (kummel) and coarse salt. It is accompanied by pungent horseradish and au jus. Take the top off the sandwich, spoon some of the beef essence on the roll, add horseradish to taste (it will clear your sinuses) and partake in a sandwich epiphany.
The wines by the glass choices are on the weak side but the draft beer options celebrate the Lowcountry craft brewers.
Vie de France’s caramel pecan fudge cake appeared to be the fan favorite but the house-made tiramisu may be a better closer to your abbondanza of dining at Finn’s.
Finn’s moves in the model of making pizza personal, providing affordable, convenient, and quality choices for today’s dining public.