By Margaret Evans
Our Lunch Bunch crew was small but mighty. It was a warm, spring-like day in late February when Hope, Betty, Jeff and I descended on Hearth Wood Fired Pizza in downtown Beaufort, hungry and curious.
Hearth was already one of our favorite dinner destinations, but this was our first encounter with the lunch menu. Since there were only four of us at the table, we knew we’d have be strategic with our orders if we wanted a wide sampling. We were up for the challenge!
Our server recommended we start with a house favorite, the Fried Mozzarella Sticks. In my experience, you can’t go wrong with mozzarella sticks – unless you’re watching your weight or fighting heart disease – but these exceeded our expectations. Handmade, lightly breaded, creamy-gooey cheese … What’s not to love?
Moving on to a quirkier, riskier order, Betty took her first bite of her Eggplant Parmesan Sandwich and declared it “to die for.” The sandwich is as beautiful as it is delicious, with thick, toasted bread and a pile of arugula on top. (Betty would have you know that she didn’t eat all her bread.)
Hope ordered the Parmesan Caesar Salad with Crusted Chicken, calling it “really light and flavorful.” I went with the Antipasto Salad, chockfull of romaine hearts, salami, pickled peppers, and other zesty goodies. We salad eaters were highly satisfied with our choices and feeling rather virtuous.
The man at the table was having none of it. Hearth is famous for its wood-fired pizzas and, by golly, he was going to order one. Jeff went all out and got The Combo, replete with caramelized peppers and onions, pepperoni, sausage and mushrooms. Between enthusiastic bites, he commented, “The crust is thin and crispy. Doesn’t overwhelm the topping, which is really fresh. The Italian sausage is particularly good.”
Jeff was kind enough to share his pizza with the table, and we all agreed that there was, indeed, a nice ratio of topping to crust and that Hearth makes some of the finest pizza in town.
During our meal, we chatted with the owner, Lantz Price – Hearth is his third Bay Street restaurant – and Robin Price, his sister and right hand… manager. The Price siblings seem to float effortlessly between their three establishments – they’re everywhere, all the time – and one wonders if this dynamic duo ever sleeps. Plums and Saltus are both downtown icons by now, and Hearth seems headed in that direction. With its friendly staff, cozy bar, creative menu, and country/urban atmosphere – Jeff dubbed it “rustic steampunk” – it’s a welcome addition to Beaufort’s exciting culinary scene.
Hearth Wood Fired Pizza & Eatery
Open Daily, 11am – 10pm