Wood-fired ovens are heating up in downtown Gainesville with the promise of delivering handcrafted pies — pizza pies, that is — to patrons of the square.
Owned by chef Nicholas St. Clair of Antebellum in Flowery Branch and Roland Stanley of Cork It, Peyton’s 2.0 will feature similar pizza, salad and dessert offerings to those offered in Flowery Branch.
The restaurant’s wood-fired chicken wings, however, won’t be making the flight north, nor will its sandwiches. Those disheartened by the news may find consolation in the “Godfather” pie, a four-cheese, pesto and artisan meatball recipe fashioned after the meatball sandwich offered at the South Hall location.
Due to the size of the space, which previously belonged to the Next Chapter Bookstore located next door, Gainesville’s Peyton’s is positioned to be an express-style eatery serving one size — 11 to 12 inches — of Neapolitan-style pies, which can be made with cauliflower crust and vegan cheese upon request.
“It’s going to be a smaller version (of the original location), like a kiosk, per se,” Stanley told The Times in a previous interview.
In addition to counter service, the new Peyton’s will offer online ordering and, for those at Cork It, a QR code on the back of their menu will allow them to browse Peyton’s bill of fare and place an order electronically.
The location’s hours of operation are set for 4-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 4-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday, mirroring Cork It’s.
With the oven’s temperature set around 800 degrees, pies are ready to slice in less than three minutes, bearing a slight char around the edges while maintaining a soft, chewy texture with each bite.
“The high temperature, to me, makes a better pizza,” said St. Clair, who gained his footing in wood-fired pizzas in his own backyard. “Once I had it, I was hooked. I was like, ‘This is what pizza’s supposed to be like.’”
Peyton’s out-of-the-box spin on Old World techniques is a style of craftsmanship gourmets won’t find in a more traditional establishment, according to St. Clair.
“There’s a lot of pizzas that have the same kind of technique that we do, but they don’t have the same toppings — they’re a little more traditional. I think we offer more of an upscale American take — tapenade, roasted mushrooms, stuff like that. I think we’re combining the best of both worlds.”
“We strive to provide people with a different pizza experience,” Stanley added. “There’s other pizza restaurants in Gainesville that I think are all very different — I don’t think there’s any similarities. It’s kind of turning Gainesville into this cultural hub.”For more on Peyton’s Pie Company, follow the restaurant on Facebook and Instagram.