Reviewing restaurants in their first week open seems to be a touchy subject for some readers, but we’re here to talk about food, and new eatin’ joints are a part of that. Or as Max told me earlier today, “If they’re taking your money, they can be reviewed.”  So with that in mind, let’s talk about the brand-spanking-new Damgoode Pies location in the River Market.

Was it a perfect meal? Most assuredly not. I settled into a seat at the gleaming chrome slice bar located toward the rear of the restaurant, and the staff was obviously a little in the weeds. That’s fine, they’re learning. They were friendly, apologetic — and most importantly, they were working their tails off to get food done right. Effort is important, and with the sort of effort I saw today, there are good things coming once the wrinkles are ironed out. The two gentleman making slices and salads were particularly cordial and accommodating, and although I think that their system of making all the food plus cashing out checks needs some work (and extra help), my food arrived hot and fresh in good time. The pizza? A simple slice of pepperoni, which I enjoyed immensely.

Problems with the kegs meant that the only house brew on tap today was a Josiah Moody creation called Aria’s Bier — and that was just fine with me, because that was the one I wanted to try. I’ve told Josiah that I want a lower ABV beer from him for some time, and with this saison brewed with hibiscus, he delivered on that with flying colors. The beer itself has a ruby color to it that is quite lovely in the light, and a bright, fresh flavor that starts of tangy and ends sweet (but not cloying). It’s a light, crisp beer with a ton of flavor — and at just over 4% ABV, a pint of it didn’t leave me feeling buzzed and heavy.

Should you go to Damgoode in the River Market? Absolutely. The thin crust hand-tossed dough slices start at only $3, and the full menu is almost identical to other locations. The beer is as good as anywhere in town, and while the service was a bit jumbled, it was friendly enough that I figure they’ll be rocking the new system in no time. 

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Welcome to downtown, Damgoode — I predict you’ll be seeing more of me very soon.