Brothers' Pies n' Fries

Brothers’ Pies n’ Fries

Photo by Evans Vestal Ward 

You can't top this

BROTHERS’ pizza and fries combination is already earning HIGH marks

By Dan O'Heron 09/22/2011

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I was informed and charmed by this idea after only two visits to the new Brothers’ Pies n’ Fries: By combining the tried and the true with high tech, and combining pizza and fries, three brothers are making nostalgia seem better than it was. 
After interviewing Lance Robinson, the brother who handles sales and marketing, and chatting briefly with brothers Jared (operations) and Wade (finance) — all while sampling the reliable pleasures brought on by pizza and fries — it was a treat not to hear the usual modern veneration. 
There was not a word about baptizing pizza flour with spritzes of New York City tap water, nor confessions about the felling of trees in some enchanted forest to make wood chips to smoke it. There was no praising animal deregulations that allow for making gourmet pizzas from Peking duck and goat cheese, and, thank the lord, no Grecian odes to garlic fries.
 “Our pizza recipes,” said Robinson, “come from recipes of a pizza house in Delaware where we grew up.” The fries are patterned after the kind you see people munching on off the Boardwalk in Atlantic City, the streets of New York or around the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, he added.
After stepping-off 70 paces from Colorado Boulevard down Mills Place to the brothers’ place, it was like I had followed a treasure map in Old Pasadena. The pies are what pizza is meant to be — hot disks of melty cheese, tender meats and fresh toppings. As for the fries, once bitten, twice sighs.
With a pal, I ordered a pepperoni and cheese pie and sat down in the patio. The rim of the pizza, blistered with a coil of bubbly crust, was just high enough to keep the toppings from overflowing. The color of the crust was golden brown, no white and pasty like some quick-heat jobs. The cheese was smooth — no stringy annoyances or clogs to tug at my teeth, the flavor sweetly nutty. I’d never tasted cheese with a flavor and texture quite like this before. Medallions of pepperoni had a slight click of crispness without the curly edges that occur from overcooking.
“Our Delaware recipe,” said Robinson, “calls for the use of a special ‘Grande’ cheese we get from Wisconsin.” He explained that it’s a blend of mild, slightly acidulated Mozzarella, buttery and smoky Provolone and sharp farmhouse cheddar. “It has great melting qualities,” he added.
Disposed to silence about the flour recipe, Robinson instead raved about the pizza oven. As he said, "Perhaps the only one of its kind in Southern California,” the oven is an electric Italian Cuppone Giotto with a rotating stone floor. Its 600 F heat produces a pizza with an audibly crisp, yet moist and chewy crust and avoids the common flaw of most gas-fired ovens — undercooking the dough. Robinson snuffs out the idea that wood-fired is better, indicating wood chips are good for barbecued ribs but that pizza cooks too fast to pick up anything good from smoke.
With a capacity to turn out nine large pies in three minutes, the magic oven can service huge walk-around Old Pas crowds at all hours, said Robinson. (The take-out window is open until 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.) While on a stroll, I personally would prefer to pluck away at a cup of the brothers’ fries. Prepared with a special heating system that continuously filters the oil, the fries aren’t very greasy, so if you run into old pals, you can hug them without leaving prints.
Hand-cut daily on the premises from choice Idaho russets, among five types served, I’d recommend the “pizza fries” —– full of New York swagger — or the brothers’ “Boardwalks.” In these, your tongue is jabbed with a one-two punch of sweet, then salty. Better still, I really love the “Maryland” fries. These are made with a rusty-colored “Old Bay” seasoning, the same kind that is used to flavor crabs and shrimp off the Chesapeake Bay. Fries have never had it so good. 
If you’re tired of dragging pencil-like French fries through catsup and aggravating your carpal tunnel syndrome, any of these thick-set beauties should be a welcome change.
While I can join in praise of Wolfgang’s Puck-style epicurean pizzas with Vidalia onions and breast of whooping crane — and his peculiar California fries — I don’t like the idea of having to pay a valet and wear a dinner jacket to get at them. 
Here, regular prices for “Little Brother” 14-inch pizzas range from $11.99 to $15.74 with five toppings; “Big Brother” 20-inch pizzas cost from $16.99 to $24.49. If you want thick crust, add $2 to both.
For $3.99, you can get pizza by the slice (cheese, pepperoni and veggie), and fries range from $2.50 per cup to $9.99 for a family-sized, 64-ounce box. With such delicious and reliable tasting foods, partying is not such a sweet sorrow for office bosses picking up the tab.
Among a slew of specials now in effect, an 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. lunch special includes a large slice for $2.99 or a large slice with drink and fries for $5.99. Around the clock through November, you can get $3 off large pizzas, two small pizzas with two toppings for $20 or two large thick crusts with four toppings each for $24. Through the rest of September, there’s 15 percent off for local residents and/or workers with a valid ID or business card. 
The brothers want good news to travel fast, so they connect with followers through their Web site, Twitter, Facebook and a QR code. This also lets customers easily keep up with the ever-changing special deals.
How lucky for Old Pasadena to have its template for pizza pies and fries changed by state-of-the-art ovens and old recipes measured by a T-square in Delaware. 

Brothers’ Pies n’ Fries
36 W. Colorado Blvd.,
Old Pasadena
(626) 844-4343


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