By Nikki Novo
Even with the recent infiltration of chic restaurants and trendy lounges in Brickell, finding a casual yet quality restaurant where you can expect fresh, tasty food at a reasonable price is hard to come across. Thankfully, Pieducks, named after the favorite bedtime story of owner Claudio Nunes' children, has hit the scene and is exactly what Brickell has been yearning for.
Nunes, a businessman for over 25 years and past owner of famed South Miami restaurant Grappa has spent the last three years meticulously planning how he would bring the best pizzeria to Miami. From visiting tomato farms and some of the best pizzerias around the country, to sampling dozens of locally grown basil, it's safe to say Nunes has done his homework.
Located on South Miami Avenue underneath the One Broadway building, Pieducks has instantly made an impression on the neighborhood with its towering open-flame brick oven taking center stage. After opening its doors in early February 2008, the pizzeria has quickly become a favorite takeout and delivery location for many residents, as well as those working the day away in nearby businesses. "I started ordering delivery from here because it is so tasty with generous portions and reasonably priced," said Danielle Quintero who works just down the block.
Each pie is constructed with fresh, mostly organic ingredients and locally grown, in-season produce, then baked in a traditional brick oven with concentrated heat that enhances the flavor of each ingredient. As for the crust, Nunes has his team prepare the wholesome dough daily with Montana wheat, spring water, yeast and sea salt to bake in the high-heat dome later, which results in a thin, crispy crust with a chewy interior. Choose from the traditional cheese pie (made with award-winning Wisconsin mozzarella) to the local favorite deep forest pie made with organic spinach, sweet onions, sliced mushrooms garlic, bell peppers and sprinkled with Pecorino Romano cheese.
"Good pizza and a fresh salad are the perfect combination," Nunes beieves, so order the classic Ceasar with homemade dressing or, if you're feeling a little untraditional, the power salad made with spinach leaves, arugula, baby romaine lettuce, red onions, pumpkin seeds, crumbled feta and topped with Pieduck's special honey mango vinaigrette.
Pieducks takes its delivery service seriously, aiming to deliver in just under 25 minutes, and for those dining in, expect unpretentious counter service -- with a giant smile or sometimes even a hug. Two other things Brickell could use more of.
Pieducks, 1451 S. Miami Ave., ste. C-2; 305-808-7888, www.pieducks.com; hours: 11a.m. - 11p.m. daily
Pieducks: where the Brickell crowd goes for a hot, cheap slice. Photo: Nikki Novo