Sometimes you just get a hankering for a good pizza and I was in that kind of mood the other day, so Scott and I drove to downtown Chapel Hill in search of a decent pizza. We decided to try Artisan Pizza Kitchen (formerly known as Artichoke Basil) located right in the middle of Franklin Street. The outside isn’t much to look at and you could easily pass by this place if you are not paying attention, but it is worth stopping if you are in town.
This is certainly a college pizza place. The old wooden floor creaks as you walk in. Old Hollywood photos line the walls just above the mirrors that were put on the wall to make the place appear larger than it is. The restaurant is a long, narrow place with a big counter in the back. You walk up to the counter to order, and are given a number to put at your table. We ordered the Spinach Feta pizza and chose a booth towards the front.
Owners James and Jenkiss opened the restaurant in 2009 and wanted to serve pizzas that had different sauces on them than just the traditional marinara sauce. Their specialty pies range from the Chicken Ranchero pie that has grilled chicken breast, ranch sauce, tomato, bacon and mozzarella and cheddar cheese, to a Buffalo Chicken pie with fried chicken in a spicy Buffalo sauce with red onions and mozzarella cheese.
While we waited for the pizza, we saw some of the college students get these huge hamburgers. I have to say, they looked great and I will have to remember to come back sometime to try one. The burgers, of course, came with a generous portion of fries.
When our pizza arrived, we were not disappointed. It was a hand tossed crust that had a generous amount of garlic. The Spinach Feta pizza features spinach, feta cheese and white onions. We added some Parmesan cheese and more garlic powder to the pie. The pizza was gooey and filling. It hit the mark.
Artisan Pizza Kitchen isn’t a fancy place, but is a great place to eat if you are on a budget and want a good pizza. The place changed names last summer because there was another place in New Jersey called Artichoke Basil and they were threatening the owner with a lawsuit if they didn’t change their name. Interesting to hear that story as I know there are several other restaurants with the same name that are located in different places and have never had a problem having the same name.
Artisan Pizza Kitchen is located at 153 East Franklin Street in downtown Chapel Hill and is open from 11 am to 3am seven days a week. You can follow them on Twitter @Artisan_Pizza or join their group on Facebook.