DAVIDSON - It is small. Really, really small.
Not much more than a take-out window given a door and a small waiting area. However, the overall effect is charming. The outside looks like a one-room schoolhouse, and the food items raise selections such as the lowly pizza or garlic knots to gourmet meals.
All-in-all Davidson Pizza Co is a tidy, fragrant hole in the wall that should not be missed.
Michael Adams moved to the Charlotte area in 1996 from New York as his two brothers were already living here.
The three brothers knew they wanted to run some sort of business together on the side and eventually opened up a New York-style deli on 7th Street across from Presbyterian Hospital.
They learned a lot about the restaurant business and found a niche in catering.
“We also realized that running a restaurant can’t really be a side business,” Adams said.
When their landlord offered them another space, they decided to go for it and make it their primary job. This became the first Hawthorne’s New York Pizza and Bar and it was an immediate success.
“We realized that our calling was in pizza,” Adams said. The team went on to open up six more Hawthorne locations, which are full-service, sit-down restaurants with big menus.
Then in 2013, the partners decided to start a brand new concept, starting with the Davidson Pizza Co.
“The menu at Hawthornes is huge,” said Adams. “We wanted to try and use some of our amazing food but in a scaled down way.”
Patrons can phone or just walk in to give their order. There is no space to sit down inside, but there are numerous picnic tables and other seating outside.
Items on the menu include pizza, strombolis, calzones, heroes, salads, wings and appetizers. All the dough is made in-house along with the marinara, many of the salad dressings and even the croutons.
The pizza is tremendous; customers should fold the slice to eat it as they are huge. The toppings are fresh and the crust is thin and crispy. There is a gluten-free crust option and it is delicious.
“We spent over a year working on that crust,” marketing manager Matthew Vincent said. “So we’re very proud of it.”
The salads are served in plastic to-go containers, but are worthy of the finest bowl. The lettuce is hand-cut with a gorgeous array of colorful vegetables.
Pam Prillman and Carolyn Stewart walk into the diminutive space at 2 p.m. on a Thursday. Both work at the after-school program at the nearby Ada Jenkins Center.
Both are opting for a lunch special that comes with a salad, slice of pizza and drink for $7.50. They cannot say enough about the restaurant.
“They have partnered with us so many times,” Prillman said. “It’s great to have them nearby.”
Stewart is also pleased to have a quality place nearby to grab a quick lunch.
“The salads are amazing,” she said. “And the pizza is just so good.”
Davidson Pizza Co is meant to be a franchise opportunity for other like-mind restaurateurs. But for now, Adams, who lives in Davidson is happy to simply have it up and running smoothly. “You know my partners and I have spent 10 years building restaurants and creating jobs for the area,” Adams said. “We live here, too, and it’s a great feeling.”
Want to go? Davidson Pizza Co., 300 Mock Road, 704-237-4019.