I've been hearing great things about Sidewall Pizza Company in Travelers Rest. TR is located just 20 minutes outside of downtown Greenville. Over the last few years TR has exploded. They've opened several new restaurants, breweries, and shops along their Main Street.
When we arrived, we grabbed a table right by the window overlooking Main Street. We met one of the owners, Andy, and asked him about the restaurant. Andy moved to the Upstate in 2013 when he relocated his business, Merrimack Canoe Company, to the area. (Read more about that here) They originally purchased the building on Main to be a warehouse and production facility, but soon realized it was too small for what they needed. They already owned the building, so what did he decide to do? Turn into a pizza place.
The building used to be an old car repair and tire shop, and they've kept a lot of the original charm of the building, including the large garage doors that they open on warmer days. You can even see where the wells in the garage floor used to be. And that's also where they got the name, Sidewall, named after the sidewall of a tire.
At Andy's suggestion, we started off by sharing the Smoky Salad: spring mix with roasted corn, roasted broccoli, tomatoes, red onion, goat cheese, smoky candied walnuts, and basil dressing. We were quite impressed. The broccoli was cooked al dente, just how it should be in a salad. Retaining that crunch, but not too rubbery and raw. The candied walnuts were a perfect accompaniment to the goat cheese, and the dressing tied it all together. Not too herby, but just enough to give the salad a hint of basil flavor.
We ordered two pizzas, which was a little ridiculous because each pizza could easily feed 2-3 people. But we couldn't make up our minds, so we decided to get both and take home the leftovers. I had been eying the Triple Pepper Pizza, and at the recommendation of our waitress we also ordered the meatball pizza, an off-the-menu special feature.
The meatball pizza was made with a traditional red sauce and cheese, and topped with giant house-made meatballs covered in provolone cheese.
The Triple Pepper, which we upgraded to a quadruple pepper with the addition of jalapenos, was perfectly salty and spicy. This pizza also had a traditional red sauce and was topped with pepperoni, peppadew peppers, cherry peppers, and jalapeno peppers.
Both pizzas were incredible, and T and I could never decide which one was better. We washed everything down with a few microbrews which were very reasonably priced. They have a great beer selection, and the majority of them are around $4.00 each.
The thing that shocked me the most in my conversation with Andy was that he had no restaurant or food background. When he decided they wanted to turn the building in to a pizza place, he started doing his research, and finally found a recipe that he was pleased with. The pizza tastes like it's been cooked in a wood-fired brick oven, but they actually use electric ovens. Brick-oven pizzas need to be eaten immediately, and that wouldn't bode well for their takeout business. So instead, they use a recipe that emulates brick oven pizza, but will also keep well.
We were so pleased with our experience at Sidewall and cannot wait to return. Their prices were a little steep for lunch, $14-$20 for a pizza that feeds two. But they offer the same menu for dinner, with the same prices. And I can definitely swing that for a Friday night dinner.