The great debate of whether a stone or wood fire oven cooks better pizza ends with 7 Stone Pizzeria in West Des Moines. Why? The restaurant has both.
Pizza perfectionists of both the smoky, wood-cooked and crisp, stone variety can come together at 7 Stone — a new common ground for all pie lovers to unite. The ovens serve different purposes, with the wood fire cooking the thin crust pizza and the brick taking on deep dish selections. Being the opportunist I am, I ordered something from both ovens: the 10-inch cheese bread ($6), which comes on the caramelized deep dish crust, and a 12-inch pepperoni pizza ($13) on thin crust. Sure, pepperoni might not be the “sexiest” pizza 7 Stone offers up, but it’s always a safe determinant when checking out a new pie joint — almost every place offers it.
The cheese bread (and all other deep dish offerings) come with a caramelized finish. This isn’t Chicago deep dish, where it feels like you’re eating a slice of lasagne with pizza crust. It’s more of a traditionally thick, doughy crust that’s sweet and gooey. The caramelization around the pizza is a crunchy layer of cheese that adds a kick to the end of each slice.
The thin crust comes out with a tingling, wood-inspired bite to it, providing a smoke-filled juxtaposition to the sweet flavor of the tomato sauce. The wood oven, which was imported from Italy, is different than the typical “slide the pizza in on a paddle and let the heat cook it” oven. The pie sits on a rotating disk inside the oven, circling around the inside, instead of merely cooking in a stagnant section of the oven.
Much like the oven, the pizza recipe is a bit experimental. The cheese comes in slices, not shredded, and the topping order goes cheese, topping, sauce. The sauce isn’t poured and leveled across the toppings, it’s dropped in splashes across the top. It seems odd, but when cooked all the ingredients come together and make for an irresistible creation.
The restaurant opened earlier this year and has an overall open, welcoming atmosphere. The bar overlooks the kitchen, so patrons sitting can watch the chefs at work. The rest of the dining room is also open — leaving transparency for visitors to see how and where the food’s prepared.
There is a good selection of wine and beers, both craft and general domestics. During my visit, tap drinks ranged from Angry Orchard apple cider — which would go great with the thin crust pizza — to Deschutes’ Black Butte porter to Coors Light. A little something for everyone.
I would suggest 7 Stone to anyone looking for a different and delicious type of pizza in West Des Moines.
7 Stone Pizzeria
Find it: 9350 University Ave. #18, West Des Moines
Hours: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 4-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday
Info: 515-987-7768 or facebook.com/7stonepizzeria