Prairie Fire Pie brings West Coast-style pizza to Cherry Street
James Shrader's new dining concept serves distinctive pizza in a California-cool setting.
Freshly made meatballs top one of eight pizzas at the new Prairie Fire Pie.
Prairie Fire Pie opened quietly in the fall, with many of its first customers being fans of chef and proprietor James Shrader’s other concept, Palace Cafe, just next door. Since then, Prairie Fire has gained a following all its own: a mix of West Coast-style pizza fans, families and late-night diners.
As would be expected from Shrader, every detail of Prairie Fire was considered and configured, from the artwork to the drinking glasses to the look of the bar to, of course, the food itself.
The one-page menu at Prairie Fire is simple, with a few starters, salads and sweets. Diners have eight pizzas to choose from: four with a red sauce base, three with white sauce and one with a sweet garlic sauce.
The crust, which bakes up to be light and airy with just the right crunch, sets Prairie Fire’s pies apart from other pizzas. The naturally fermented dough and woodfired flavor — courtesy of the 6,500-pound Woodstone Woodfired pizza oven — are reminiscent of pizza from Shrader’s native Seattle.
Arguably the best pizza on the menu is the meatball with mozzarella, provolone, oregano and chili flakes ($15). Meatball pizza can be a real mess when made poorly. Huge meatballs rolling around pools of red sauce is not what you get here. Nor do you get teeny meatballs that look more like ground sausage than an actual meatball. At Prairie Fire, the made-in-house meatballs are perfectly proportioned, with an oblong shape, rather than big and fat. Hints of herbs like fennel and handmade sausage combine for a tasty meatball that works well with the pizza’s mild heat from the chili flakes.
The night we visited, a family at a nearby table raved about the pepperoni pizza with mozzarella, provolone and pecorino ($14). It was a hit with everyone from the 3-year-old to the parents.
For the pizzas with white sauce, you can’t beat the Yukon Gold potato, rosemary, pancetta, mozzarella, soft egg and sea salt ($14). Cracking an egg on a pizza isn’t something Shrader did just to be trendy. The slightly runny yolk makes its way around the edges of the potatoes and pancetta, giving each bite a complex flavor.
If you prefer a pizza sans sauce, there’s the chicken carbonara with chicken, bacon, peas, Romano and mozzarella ($15). This simple pie pairs well with one of Prairie Fire’s salads.
Take, for example, the baby kale salad with preserved lemon, sunflower seeds and Parmiggiano-Reggiano ($8) — a kale lover’s dream. For a more substantial salad, there’s the burrata with orange, arugula, pecorino and ciabatta ($10). When we were there, Shrader also offered a tasting of American prosciuttos and an artisan board with pâté, terrine, cheese and nuts.
Our server brought us Prairie Fire’s house-made hot sauce, which had a peppery heat and a vinegar base. It came in a little glass bottle with a dropper. We loved the hot sauce so much, she sent us home with a little bottle along with one slice of leftover pizza, which didn’t actually make it to the next morning.
Besides a good wine and beer list, Prairie Fire has eye-catching cocktails with interesting combinations, including a prickly pear-lime granita with tequila and house lemoncello with lemon juice, thyme and prosecco.
Prairie Fire is in a small space, with a large and welcoming bar, just a few high-top communal tables and a few two-top tables. The communal tables make for a cool and casual setting.
Prairie Fire Pie
1303 E. 15th St. | 918-895-8725 | prairiefirepie.com
4-11 p.m., Sunday-Wednesday; 4 p.m.-1 a.m., Thursday-Saturday