Bagby Pizza Company opened in late October of 2009 and shares the name and original home of the Bagby Furniture Company that built the building in 1902 (and remained in business until 1990). The space has a great urban feel with 20-foot ceilings, exposed brick walls, eye-catching artwork, and about 20 tables. (It also can get pretty noisy when busy!) Not a full-serve restaurant, the drill here is to order and pay for your food and drink at the counter and then receive a numbered “flag” to put on the table of your choice (which the staff uses to identify you when they bring your food). Beer and wine are available; soft drinks are self-serve.

Moveable Feast delivered 739,123 meals in 2011Bagby’s specialty is its brick oven pizzas. You can custom build your pizza but it’s less expensive to pick from one of 18 or so pre-designed combinations available in either a small (10-inch, $10-11) or large (14-inch, $15-18) size. The menu also includes a dozen sandwiches ($8-10), half a dozen pasta dishes ($12-14, available in half portions) and salads ($7, plus $3 for chicken, steak, or shrimp).

Visiting Bagby with a group of friends, John stayed weight conscious and opted for a spinach berry salad with grilled chicken ($10). Marty ordered a “chicken parmigiana” pizza along with a bowl of gazpacho ($4, the “soup of the day”). Our friends ordered a variety of pizzas: gourmet vegetable ($11), prosciutto and goat cheese ($11), BBQ chicken ($11), and Tennessee honey chicken ($11).

John’s salad proved excellent—a large bed of baby spinach, topped with freshly grilled, still hot chicken breast with strawberries, blackberries, sunflower seeds, and blue cheese with a vinaigrette dressing won his thumbs-up! Marty’s gazpacho was cool and delicious, full of pureed veggies and earned a thumbs-up too. Overall, consensus was that the pizza toppings were generous but the thin crusts were dry and that the outer edge was disappointingly cracker-like. Marty was less than thrilled with his chicken parm pizza (this combo just didn’t work for him); Bob felt the wild mushrooms, asparagus, and roasted artichokes on his pizza were overpowered by too much cheese. By contrast, the BBQ chicken pizza got a thumbs-up from Fred and Bernie who thought that lots of crisp real bacon bits made a great addition.

Overall, Bagby Pizza provided good food for reasonable prices—particularly given the location between Harbor East and Little Italy. (And the good-looking young men shopping at the neighboring Whole Foods will be even more motivation for us to return!)

DETAILS: Bagby Pizza Company (Harbor East); 1006 Fleet St. 410.605.0444. Open for lunch and dinner 7 days, 11am-9pm; Fri & Sat til 10pm; Sun noon-8pm. Beer & wine, vegetarian options.

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