inventive Durham-style pizza, plus apps, brunch + more
by Avivah with Offline
What: Durham-style pizza (and much more) from a beloved local food truck concept with a brick and mortar downtown.
Where: 117A West Main St, Durham, NC 27701 (above The Pinhook)
When: M-Th: 11a-11p, F: 11a-2a, Sa: 10a-2a, Su: Closed
Why we love ‘em:
- They’ve got fully customizable pies + pockets, plus lots of expertly-crafted and inventive pizzas to order straight of the menu
- On Saturdays, you can score BRUNCH PIZZA
- Their Sicilian slices have a (well-earned) cult-following
- Beyond pizza, they’ve got a full menu of scratch-made dishes: everything from crispy wings to fresh salads
Pie Pushers 101
Located in one of Bull City’s oldest buildings, just above The Pinhook, you’ll find distinctly “Durham-style” pizza at Pie Pushers, the city’s beloved food truck concept with a badass brick-and-mortar in DTD. Climb the steep stairway inside to find yourself in a bonafide pizza paradise: an industrially chic spot with inventive toppings, fully-customizable pies, irresistible apps, beer, wine, wings, and even brunch.
Owned by a local husband and wife team, Pie Pushers is playful pizza joint (their heftiest slice is named after their, uh, “biggest-boned” friend and they once helped start a rumor that they were opening a rooftop food truck) that’s determined to stay affordable and accessible to all, despite downtown’s burgeoning bougie restaurant scene.
In the 8+ years they’ve been in the biz, they’ve developed quite the reputation for creative, over-the-top slices with topping combos that are just crazy enough to work. But beyond unexpected pies, you’ll also be pleasantly surprised by their Saturday Brunch offerings, which span from classic eggs benedict and biscuits and gravy, to uber indulgent slices of Sicilian ‘za topped with breakfast faves like sunny-side-up eggs and locally-sourced bacon.
Nearly everything is made in-house with ingredients sourced as locally as possible, and all the items are affectionately named (you better believe there’s a helluva backstory behind each and every item). They’re open late and they even deliver, so you can get your pizza fix (almost) anytime and (almost) anywhere. Now let’s get down to what you’re ordering.
What to order
Step out of your comfort (cal)zone.
Alright, the odds you’re getting pizza here are *pretty* high as these self-declared “Durham-style” pies are perfectly cheesy, light and gooey with a thin, chewy crust and robust homemade sauce. Each one is hand-tossed to order and expertly crafted with a combo of inventive and traditional toppings.
Of course, you can get a straight up slice of cheese or pepperoni, but why be basic when you you can get a bite of their beloved Pace Car pie, topped with olive oil, fresh basil corn, jalapeno, and parmesan?
While their Durham-style pies are round and thin crusted, their Scilian slices are a fat squares of pillowy pizza that’ll stick to your ribs. These cutie pies take an hour to make but the wait is well worth it. Devotees know to call ahead or saddle up to the bar for a drink while their magic oven does its thing.
Also, everything is customizable so you’re free to personalize the pizza or “pocket” (AKA a calzone) of your dreams. They’ve even got gluten-free crust and vegan cheese for those with dietary *stuff*.
There’s more than just pizza, too.
With a full menu of shareable starters, wings, and salads, there are tons of delish options to choose from if you’re adding onto your pizza party or you’re just in one of those weirdough moods where you’re not feelin’ a slice.
Crispy Fried Brussel Sprouts served with homemade Alabama White Sauce are an enduringly popular choice, as are their cheesy Pusher Stix and Deep Fried Devito, which is a magnificently large beer-boiled italian sausage that’s rolled up with cheese and tossed in the fryer. If that’s too much for you to handle, they’ve also got crisp salads available as a side, entree, or even as a pizza topping (trust).
Also know that their wings have a bit of a cult following—try ‘em baked or fried with any number of their house made sauces to see why.
Saturdays are a game changer.
Brunch just got the royal pizza treatment. Hit Pie Pushers up on a Saturday for forkable fare with some signature PP style. After all, leftover pizza for breakfast is bomb. As is brunch. Add them together and whoa—how did we not think of this sooner?
Everyone remain calm, but there are TWO KINDS OF BRUNCH-IFIED PIZZA. It’s the crossover item we didn’t know we needed until now. Pair it with a mimosa (or four) and you’ve officially won brunch for the day.
They’ve also got fan favorites like Biscuits and Gravy, made with local country sausage or vegetarian mushroom gravy and fried-to-order donuts served with housemade jam.
- We like to make a night of ordering Sicilian. Saunter up to the bar with your boo and have a drink for an hour while you wait for extra special pie to cook. Then take it home for the perfect night, in and out.
- DIY your mimosas by buying a bottle of cava and glass of OJ for about $30.
- In sticking with the DIY vibe, you can purchase a ball of their pizza dough to take home for a night of homemade ‘za.
- Insiders know to swap the Ginger Soy dressing for the Lemon Thyme when ordering the Madrona salad.
- Speaking of salads, you can add some fresh salad on top of your pizza for a few bucks. It may sound strange, but it’s a seriously amazing. “Cease with cheese” (AKA Ceasar Salad on top of a slide of Cheese pizza) is a fan fave and great place to start if you’re a first-time salad-on-pizza eater.
- They cater expertly for small-scale events like office lunches, birthday parties, etc. Have a larger event? Give ‘em a shout to see if they can bring the food truck to you.