Pizza has been a favorite food of Americans for more than 100 years. From Super Bowl parties and birthday bashes, to date nights and busy weeknights, it is a beloved meal that is devoured by children and adults alike. When you are craving pizza, there is just nothing else that will do.
A few foodie friends and I decided to check out a new Frisco pizzeria, run by a local restaurateur, that serves artisanal pizzas, craft beer and growlers to go. Growlers, in case you need clarification, are containers made to transport beer. They are generally air-tight jugs, made out of glass, ceramic or stainless steel that allow you to take draft beer from one place to another, without lessening the beer’s quality. Situated in the heart of downtown Frisco, 5th Oak is not your stereotypical pizza place. The venue is located in a quaint, brightly-painted older home with turquoise trim. Just one glance at the cute location sets it apart from other local establishments. A charming outdoor dining patio features hand-hewn tables and the ambiance is enhanced by retro twinkle lights. It provides the perfect setup to enjoy pizza and beer on a pretty Texas evening. It was a bit chilly on our visit, so we opted to dine in. Carry-out is also an option, if you want to pick up a pizza to take home for family movie night.
The dining room is small and seating is limited, but the bar and shelf-like tables maximize space. The atmosphere is fun, funky and laid back. A feature wall, made of corrugated tin, showcases the beer and pizza menus, and a brightly-lit “pizza” sign hangs over the window, looking into the kitchen, signaling where to place your order. Slate blue walls and original hardwood floors add warmth and charm, and the occasional quirky sign adds a touch of humor to the decor. Great music was played in the background! We were warmly greeted by the owner (also the chef), who took the time to explain the process for ordering our pizza and beverages. Unlike some restaurants, a handful of spirited pies and a rotation of local Texas craft beers are the only choices on the menu. Because the food here is so good, there is not much else you need! The pizza is outstanding and the tap beer is ice-cold and refreshing. All of the pizzas are made on thin crust, are 14 inches in size and each cost $17.50.
A long, narrow table runs through the center of the restaurant, stacked with cardboard pizza rounds and a cup of colorful markers. Guests simply write down the number of the pizza they want and present it at the kitchen window. Then, the talented team will make your pie. There are no substitutions on the menu. You can ask them to leave ingredients off if you are allergic or do not like them, but you cannot add toppings.
A blackboard lists the changing craft beer selection, which on any visit may include an IPA, wheat, stout, pale ale, porter or Grolsch. We asked for the lightest they had on tap, and were served a cold ale that had nice body. It was great — not too heavy or bitter. A full-bodied red wine and a pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc would be a nice addition to the beverage menu for wine drinkers, and would pair beautifully with the pizzas!
The friendly hostess/bartender served us our beer, which we sipped appreciatively while perusing the pizza menu. Currently, there are eight pizza combinations on the menu. We contemplated innovative combinations that included shitake mushroom, red onion and arugula or pepperoni, red onion, sausage and pineapple. A couple sitting at the bar raved about the pulled pork, goat cheese and jalapeño pizza they had just ordered. My carnivore companions opted for the No. 5, which features pepperoni, sausage and bacon, while my vegetarian friend and I decided to try the No. 6, a gorgonzola, sun-dried tomato and avocado pizza.
The small, but well-appointed kitchen is visible from the dining room, and guests can catch a peak of the chefs in action. Every pizza is made to order from scratch. It was culinary choreography as the chef rolled and tossed the homemade dough. After that, he handed it off to his sous chef, who added the fresh ingredients before sliding it into the 600-degree pizza oven to bake to perfection.
This is “no fuss, no muss” dining. While we waited for our pizzas, we gathered our eating utensils. Parchment paper serves as plates and there were plenty of napkins. Knives and forks you ask? You do not need them … this is a pizza restaurant after all! Fingers work just fine. Shakers with red pepper flakes and parmesan cheese are available, if you feel the need to add a little extra spice to your pie.
Be prepared to try some of the best local pizza at 5th Oak. The No. 5 was the first artisanal pizza served, and took only a few minutes to emerge from the 600-degree oven with puffy edges, ever-so-slightly charred. The crust had a nice, yeasty flavor that was crispy with a nice chew. The homemade red sauce was very light with a fresh flavor and the pie had a good balance of cheeses. The meats were all of good quality, perfectly rendered and slightly crisp.
The No. 6 was next out of the oven. I never would have thought to put avocado on a pizza! I must admit, I was a bit dubious about that. With just one bite, any doubts proved unfounded. The thin crust was spot-on, and the unique combination of ingredients worked surprisingly well together. The avocado added a creaminess that complemented the sweet, tart sun-dried tomatoes, and there was the nutty tang of the gorgonzola. It was delicious! We ate every last bite!
5th Oak has raised the bar on a pizza. If you are used to only ordering pizza from home, it is time for a change! The concept is so simple, yet so perfect. 5th Oak offers a casual atmosphere that allows the restaurant to focus on the food, putting out pizzas made with only garden-fresh, quality, gourmet ingredients, providing guests with an outstanding, fun and unique dining experience.
If you are longing for a really great pizza, do not miss the opportunity to taste test the food at 5th Oak. It is a funky, unassuming place, but you will absolutely love the experience. Tasting is believing! 5th Oak is located at 8981 5th Street (just off Main Street). It is open from Monday to Thursday, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., and Friday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Visit 5thoakpizza.com or call 972.294.5673 for more information or to place an order to-go. Limited parking could be an issue for some, but it is worth scouting out a place downtown! Trust me, the pizza is worth a short walk!