Two Western outposts on the gateway to the Hill Country
Reviewed by Melanie Haupt, Fri., July 26, 2013
Tue.-Fri., 11am-2pm, 4-9pm;
Pieous12005 Hwy. 290 W., 512/394-7041
Tue.-Fri., 11am-2pm, 4-9pm; Sat., 11am-9pm; Sun., 11am-8pm
Pieous opened on Highway 290 back in February and has since made a solid showing in recent months on the strength of its emphasis on scratch-made ingredients. Owners Josh and Paige Kaner have translated their passion for baking breads and desserts into a friendly space dedicated to pies both savory and sweet, as well as tender pastrami prepared in the smoker left behind by the building's previous tenant, Cartwright's BBQ.
Our pizza selections included the Fat Queen ($12.75), topped with soppressata, Italian sausage, and nickel-sized old-world pepperoni. While tasty, it was heavy and a bit greasy, and the crust was disappointing. The outer crust was pleasantly chewy and flavorful with a beautiful char from the wood-fired oven, but the center was soggy and undercooked. The Rocket pizza ($13.75) was more successful, the peppery arugula complementing the salty prosciutto and mozzarella. Desserts come in enormous portions ideal for sharing: The tiramisu ($5.50) is fluffy and rich, while the messy-but-tasty banana cream pie ($6.50) is anchored with a solid, shortbready crust.
The space at Pieous is bright and open, if a bit small. The walls are coated in chalkboard paint, and small fry can make art while the adults dine and enjoy a drink from the diverse selection of beer and wine while seated at long communal or smaller stand-alone tables. The counter service can get awkward when the restaurant fills up, and the food running could use some work (our pizza was unceremoniously plunked onto the table as an employee whizzed by), but dining in is a generally pleasant experience.
Twenty-five years ago, there weren't many options for dining out if you lived in Dripping Springs. If you wanted anything other than Dairy Queen or nondescript Tex-Mex, you had to go into South Austin to dine at chain restaurants. In recent years, Jack Allen's Kitchen in Oak Hill and the Leaning Pear in Wimberley have both proven that southwestern suburbanites are eager for fresh, well-prepared food near their homes. With some judicious tweaking of the product, the Kaners should be proud to count Pieous among the changing landscape of suburban dining.