Given my love of food and the many years I’ve know that I have celiac (about 24), you can imagine that hearing or reading about a restaurant with special gluten-free options catches my attention pretty quickly and strongly. When it comes up in conversation or I overhear a mention, I’m actually pretty sure my reaction is something like a meercat coming out of its hole. My back straightens up and I crane my neck and tilt my head to get optimal hearing of said conversation. I even think I do something similar when I just read about a place with gluten-free options, except this time I sit up straight and crane my neck towards the computer screen.
The other day I came across an article about Ironside Pizza and I found myself “craning my neck” to read the article more closely at the mention of gluten-free pizza! I had actually been to the location before a few years back, when it was a different restaurant- Iron Side Cafe- and different owners (I believe). It’s inside the Ironside Complex, which has offices and studios, on NE 4th Court just south of 79th St. The spaces seem to be geared more towards a creative crowd of artists, architects, designers, etc. (looking at the business directory) and this fits with the feel of the space (has that renovated, industrial look). The Ironside Complex is a really cool space in general (it has a nice grassy courtyard in the middle with lounge furniture, plus murals and other art work). There’s also a coffee shop that recently opened across the courtyard from Ironside Pizza. The whole complex can be a little easy to miss when driving by if you’re not paying attention (especially coming from the north) and it feels a little isolated (surrounded by a mostly residential neighborhoods, except the other industrial buildings along 4th Ave). I think though that it kind of adds to Ironside’s feel and “coolness” factor. It’s also pretty quiet and calm for being close to 79th St and 4th Court isn’t the quietest of streets (although it’s pretty close to the train tracks, so it might not always be like when I visited). I’m a big fan overall of the complex. It reminds me a lot of places in Portland, especially in the Pearl District.
It didn’t take long after reading the article for me to visit Ironside Pizza. Last Monday I took my little brother to the doctor and then we were looking for a place for dinner. We were in the general area and my little brother was in the mood for pizza, so it seemed like a good bet.
I really like what Ironside Pizza has done to the space from my previous visit when it was Iron Side Cafe (granted that was several years ago). There are several tables now outside under a big awning off the grassy courtyard. The inside is still very open to the outside with walls of windows, but it has been opened into one big space (previously was two spaces with a big opening). The kitchen area and wood fire oven is open to the restaurant and you even have a good view of the oven from the outside. There’s also a really cool small wooden deck off the inside restaurant overlooking 4th Ave (with a cool Ironside sign).
We sat outside under the awning, although next time I definitely want to check out the deck. Potentially a good sign about the food we were about to eat was that I am pretty sure our waiter was from Italy (along with other waiters). I recognized some Italian words and the overall conversation was not in Spanish or Portuguese (I am almost positive). Not that having waiters from the country whose cuisine you are eating means it’s guaranteed to be good, but a good sign.
I remembered reading in the article I stumbled across that Ironside Pizza wanted to focus on really high-quality and authentic ingredients. That totally fit with our pizzas. We both got the diavalo (spicy salami) pizzas. My brother got the regular and I got the gluten-free. It wasn’t too heavy on the sauce and cheese, which was nice. The spicy salami was really delicious. You could tell it was really top quality salami. Maybe some of the best I’ve ever had. The crust is similar to the thin crust at Spris or Harry’s, but slightly thicker/puffier. I liked that while it was wood fired, it wasn’t super charred (but that didn’t make it flimsy). They also brought out an actual block of Parmesan cheese to grind by hand onto your pizza. So again very legit and authentic in my American opinion.
Even though I would say that I lean towards preferring the more cheesy, greasy American style pizzas (in general), I enjoyed this pizza a lot. It was a good sized pizza, but it didn’t make me feel all gross or overfull after eating it all. It was a lighter pizza with less sauce and cheese. My brother tends to also like very American pizza and sticks to the standard American pepperoni or sausage pizza, so I was wondering what he would think of the high quality spicy salami. He shared multiple times (unprompted) how much he liked it and how good he thought it was!
I hope word spreads about Ironside Pizza, because I enjoyed the food and the space very much. I think it’s a cool place to hang out and enjoy a meal. Our meal was reasonably quick by choice, but with friends I’d like to get a bottle or wine (or four) and spend more time there. It’s another great gluten-free option to have on the pizza end. I definitely want to bring my Italian friend there to get his take, but to me it was very authentic. It’s also a lighter pizza that I think a lot of people would enjoy. The service was quick and attentive. Sitting outside at night the pics aren’t that great below due to the flash or low light, but check them out!
Ironside Pizza- 7580 NE 4th Court Miami, FL