The Californian from Byrne's Grilled Pizza
A place of extremes with heavy yeasty breadsticks, airy light cheese bread, and super thin crunchy crust.
We checked out a little place called Byrne's Grilled Pizza (at first we were saying "byron's" but the waitress pronounced it "burns" so let's go with that). We actually found out about this page on Instagram - it's been amazing browsing all the local places we've been missing out on over the years! Hit us up on Insta if you want to DM us a recommendation, or you can suggest a place on our map page.
It's in a SUPER cute little strip in the Rocky Ripple and Meridian-Kessler area. At first we thought it was going to be too hot to eat outside, but with the large awning over the sidewalk seating we were fine in the shade.
We started with both the breadsticks and cheesy bread to try them out. Let's start with the breadsticks. An order of 2? What is this an appetizer for ants? Little did we know, these things are dense - they have some weight to them! Chris described them "like a nice yeast roll at a fancy wedding but in breadstick form" which is pretty spot on. I did some bicep curls with mine, which was nice because we haven't been going to the gym during COVID.
Let's talk dipping sauce before moving on to the cheesy bread. I got beer cheese and Chris got marinara dipping sauce. Both tasted home made - the beer cheese was like a thick fondue cheese and the oil was slightly separating which to me signals that it was made from actually melting cheese and not genetic nacho cheese from stadium concession stands. The marinara tasted like fresh tomatoes and Italian seasoning, and it didn't stick to the bread very well which was another sign that this wasn't some pasta sauce from a jar it was actually blended up in the back. Chris says the sauce was tangy with a sweet finish, and agreed that it must have been made in house.
This place is full of contrasts, because where the breadsticks were THICK and HEFTY the cheesy bread was light as a feature. I bet this stuff would float on water, it was airy and crunchy with real cheese melted on top. Chris said the cheese bread was generic but that he liked the emphasis on the seasoning rather than it being soaked in garlic butter.
I ordered The Californian (spinach, bacon, tomatoes, avocado) because the avocado caught my eye. The waitress said they also have a breakfast version of The Californian that comes with scrambled eggs. The personal size is 10 inches, and the toppings go right up to the edge (unlike some places where the 10 inch is half crust).
This was probably the thinnest pizza I’ve ever had, the edge was downright crunchy and the middle was like a salty BLT with different flavors in each bite, including fresh tomato, salty shredded bacon, and hunks of avocado. The opening credits of The O.C. played in my head the whole time I ate it, you remember the lyrics: Californiaaaaaa, californiaaaaa, heeere we cooooooooooome! :)
Nothing about the crust tasted particularly grilled to me. It was sort of a neutral palette and the freshness of the ingredients was my big take away. There was just a hint of sauce, tons of cheese, and whole slices of tomato. The spinach was hiding under the cheese probably so it wouldn't burn, and the bacon was is salty clumps that contrasted the melty gooey avocado.
I'd like to come back and try some more of their specialty pizzas. Like I said, the crust is sort of just a blank space for the ingredients to shine, and it looks like there are plenty more combinations to try.