By Ethan Nichols, World News Editor
Chili? On pizza? It’s better than you might think.
Located just five minutes from campus in Walnut Hills, Fireside pays homage to its past through its name. Located inside of an old fire station originally built in 1870, Fireside serves up pizza, salads, calzones and more.
When you walk in through a discreet-looking side door, you’re immediately immersed in a sensory experience like no other. Visually, the layering of fairy lights stretched across and dangling from the ceiling set the tone for the entire night. The long, communal tables and private booths provide guests options depending on their mood. A smattering of candles works in tandem with the fairy lights. The long wooden bar and large fire station doors provide you with an incredible sight.
Whether you’re there for a romantic evening with your significant other, just stopping by for a quick slice of pizza or looking for a cute spot to grab dinner with friends, the atmosphere at Fireside is perfect for any occasion.
There’s an almost indescribable scent upon first entering. The whiff of pizza dough, chili and other fresh ingredients wafts over you. Combined with the strong visual imagery, you get a vivid idea of what you’re about to experience.
Once you enter, you can head straight to the bar to order. With a robust menu featuring staple items and a rotating seasonal pizza, there are plenty of options for everyone.
Fireside offers both vegetarian and vegan options. While the vegan options are fairly limited, there are salads and cheeseless calzones. Chances are, you could make a pizza vegan as well.
In addition to the scrumptious classic known as the Pesto Plus, I also sampled Fireside’s current seasonal pie, the “Cincy Special.” While not the most conventional-sounding pizza, it far exceeded any prior expectations.
Using Fireside’s incredible dough, the pizza is topped with local restaurant Camp Washington Chili’s Cincinnati-style chili, yellow mustard and hot sauce, topped with shredded cheddar cheese and oyster crackers. Customers can also make it a four- or five- way by adding beans or onions.
Camp Washington Chili, which opened in 1940, has been serving up authentic Cincinnati-style chili for decades. The collaboration between these two iconic Cincinnati establishments is a match made in (a chili-filled) heaven.
Whether or not you consider yourself a true Cincinnatian with chili pumping through your veins like those of us who grew up here, this pizza is absolutely exceptional and can be enjoyed by everyone.
Sophomore primary education major Marisa Denovellis, a Chicago native, went to Fireside with me and enjoyed the experience despite having prior reservations.
“I don’t enjoy Skyline, but I definitely enjoyed the chili pizza,” Denovellis said.
While I personally enjoyed making my pie a five-way by adding beans and onions, you can easily opt for a plain three-way (no beans or onions). The addition of the onions helped to cut through the chili, making for a more balanced experience.
To finish off our meal, Fireside’s proprietor, Sam Dobrozi, brought over some on-the-house cannoli made fresh in-house. These gargantuan shells were filled to the brim with fluffy ricotta cream and topped with a healthy dose of powdered sugar. The cannoli was a perfect way to end the evening.
Fireside Pizza will be serving up the Cincy Special until Feb. 7, so make sure you head over and get yourself some chili pizza.