Besides being rich in carbohydrates, cake and pizza have something else in common: They both typically need to be sliced to be enjoyed. On Roosevelt Row at the north end of downtown Phoenix, Tammie Coe has been baking and slicing for over a decade-and-a-half. What has changed, though, is the transformation of the space from retail bakery to pizza slice shop. With the closure of the old Tammie Coe cake shop in the Artisan Village development, there followed a transformation of the storefront into Hot Daisy Pizza, a casual place for slices on the go.
The renovated shop is located six blocks east of the Roosevelt/Central light rail station with bike racks found nearby on Fifth Street. A red-and-white theme decorates the store’s exterior while black-and-white photos, many of celebrities of Italian ancestry, dominate the brick walls inside. The tight space is dominated by a counter where freshly baked pies are displayed. The menu on chalkboards hung over the counter is helpful if ordering an entire pizza, but for just a slice or two, the best bet is just to look at what’s out and select based on description and visual appeal.
Customers order at the counter and wait just a few minutes while their slices are heated. If the food is ordered to go, it’s placed in a red-and-white checkered box for transport. If eating on site is desired, there are a few options: a small counter facing a window where two or three customers can stand while eating, additional counter space outside, and a few tables shaded by umbrellas along the sidewalk. Another possibility is to walk the pizza down the street to a place like Greenwood Brewing or The Theodore, which lack kitchens and therefore allow outside food.
The pizza is based on a crust that is more uniform in its thickness than a Neapolitan pie, not quite as foldable as New York pizza, but also not as brittle as some thin crust varieties. It’s unique to this shop and provides enough structure to support the toppings without overwhelming them. The pies are cut into quarters, meaning each slice is substantial. One slice will satisfy some customers, and two should be just about enough for anyone. Most of the pies incorporate a straightforward tomato sauce and mozzarella with additional toppings varying each day.
Basic cheese and pepperoni pies are almost always available, along with a Margheroni, which marries the flavors of the popular meat topping with the fresh basil and tomato of the classic margherita that is often a measure of a pizzeria’s quality. The Italian Stallion adds meatballs and sausage to pepperoni in a meaty trio while the veggie pie has a changing assortment of garden toppings that can include peppers, spinach, onions, or perhaps eggplant. An original meatless pie is the pesto pizza, which features not only the green sauce, but also tender haricots verts.
The lasagna pie doesn’t have sheets of noodles per se, but it does have the ricotta cheese and sausage that often find their way in between the layers in a pan of the popular entree. Another pie sometimes offered has actual gnocchi on top of the crust. One regularly offered pizza without red sauce is the Corny Baby Elote, a Southwestern-inspired pie topped with roasted corn, sprigs of cilantro, chipotle oil, and crumbles of cotija cheese in addition to the usual mozzarella. Spicy Hawaiian and lemon chicken are two other innovative and occasional pizzas.
The sign outside advertises sandwiches, but there’s only one option so far in that department. It’s pane arabo, a two-layer pie modeled after the pocket of pita bread with a filling of prosciutto, parmesan, and vinaigrette. The cheesy Western garlic sticks are essentially an oblong loaf of focaccia-like bread in which the cheese and dough meld into a mix that is somehow greater than the sum of its parts. Additional non-pizza items are found in a refrigerated case by the counter and can include a kale Caesar salad as well as items like stuffed pasta shells.
The case is also where drinks and desserts are located. Tammie Coe’s classics like red velvet cupcakes are often found there, as are brownies and pound cake. Beverages included bottled sodas, teas, and waters. There’s no beer or wine; however, Greenwood Brewing’s rosemary IPA is one of many compatible brews poured just a block away. Whether the slices are eaten on site, taken to a nearby taproom, or transported back to home or office, Tammie Coe’s move into the realm of pizza appears to be the successful addition of another option to Roosevelt Row.