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  11 December 2017  |  Vol: 4 facebooktwitterrss  
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Cut-n-Run, Beverly Ridge Tours through Campania

“1285 North Rouse, commonly known as the Granary Building…”

You know, many Bozeman long-timers would likely need Google to find the above, though it is an active property of new establishments peppered amidst expiring industrial buildings. If you are a city planner or Bridger Bowl ski bum, you may have nodded your head, recognizing the description, but for most mortals it will only prompt more questions.

For at least the last year, there have been swirling rumors that Damasco’s Pizzeria of Belgrade had designs on a branch for the north side of Bozeman. Either that persistent gossip is true, and it’s a matter of time before the northeast side has even more dining choices, or, as is often the case, the proverbial game of telephone in our town turned toward fiction.

Either way: Buon giorno, Pizza Campania! Named for the Italian region that introduced pizza to the world (in the capital city of Naples, for you trivial types), Pizza Campania opened on July 26th and is on the ground floor of a “mixed re-use” building west of Planet Natural and north of Lone Mountain Gymnastics. To access from the west, the average diesel-truck-driving Montanan should have no trouble jumping the curb from 406 Brewing. Anyone hoping to access from the north, where I-90 passes, may end up in an uncomfortable conversation with the state patrol.

Enough logistics? Well, I like to be thorough, and I really should mention the hours. My friends and I learned the hard way that Pizza Campania’s hours of operation are Tuesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and again from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Odd, but not unforgivably so.

Affordable and downright snazzy, too, Pizza Campania is likely to give Audrey’s a run for its South Rouse money and The Blackbird Kitchen a run for its fancy credit cards. Please note: the rivalry attributions are mine—owner Bill Butler had nothing but good things to say about his competitors. Still, even the most loyal of Tarantino’s patrons should give this place a whirl.

Now, in regards to the aforementioned spend-thrifty-ness, I for one am delighted to advocate for a menu containing so much variety while the highest-priced pizza asked only $13. I believe I mentioned the ambiance, too—absolutely, positively suitable for dates and equally appropriate for family and friends. The venue features elements of its agricultural background, contemporary finishes and great natural lighting. And don’t forget the patio—it’s situated on the southwest corner of the Granary, maximizing the available sunny months in Montana.

Who else can recall the previous occupants on this property?

That’s right, Mr. Scruffy-dude-in-the-back; it was the not-so-gorgeous pigeon roost by the old recycling place. I’m quite impressed by what Butler’s company, Montana Avenue Partners, could tastefully salvage. “We saw potential in this building and location, and ended up using a lot of local, recycled materials to turn the old granary garage into this space,” says Butler. “Some of the floor is made with rafters from the old Lehrkind brewery, and most of the brick we used was donated from that source as well.” If for some reason you look upward while munching on your Capricciosa, perhaps to thank the gods for this deliciousness, you may notice the giant funnel-looking pieces of remaining granary operations still on the ceiling.

The food? Oh, the food. Anyone fortunate enough to have dined in Italy will recognize the authentic Neapolitan-ness in this menu. Out of all 18 pies listed—not counting your own impressarios—I ended up choosing the Verdure, as in “green:” grilled zucchini, eggplant, roasted red and yellow tomatoes, roasted red peppers, provolone and fresh basil. The sweetness of the sautéed veggies was the best of the best-est parts, followed closely by an al dente crust. I also sampled my friends’ selections, the Margherita and the Molta Carne, the latter of which deserves a belated Olympic medal for the fennel-infused sausage. And please note that it would be a genuine sin not to have a glass of the pinot noir with any of the above. If your palate was properly raised, it will write you a thank you note.

Of course, not everyone wants pizza morning, noon, and night—no matter how amazing it may be. Therefore, diners will also find a generous selection of insalate, several pane, dolce (gelato), one antipasti dish, and many bambini selections – a smart move on PC’s part, what with Lone Mountain Gymnastics located across the way. No pasta, gentes. Also, if I were pressed for complaints, it’s the fact that adding a side of potato chips to these sammies costs $1.75. Seems a little much, doesn’t it?

Come the Montana season that’s longer than all the overs, I expect much local fanfare for the handmade, wood-fired pizza oven that’s placed to warm its customers while they dine. Butler burns many different high-quality woods to up to 900 degrees: oak, maple, cherry…he is currently using a supply of someone’s ripped-up orchard and is happy to give a tour of the low-ceilinged, high-temperature oven built with volcanic stone to anyone courageous enough to examine how his pizza crust locks in its flavor.

And what about Butler? His accent is riddled with the song of the South—Georgia?—although his wife has family here. After spending the last ten years as a chef abroad, primarily in Germany, the Butlers landed in Bozeman. “We were ready to live in the West,” he explains. “The goal of Pizza Campania is to offer great food that is not real expensive, not real formal—we are going for a relaxed, high-quality dining experience.”

Done. And of course, takeout is available (although no pizza by the slice). You won’t mind waiting for your order either, because the charming manager Vivi will come visit with you and you’ll wish you’d gotten that ‘za to stay.

Viva Napoli!  -TBM

Beverly Ridge is the area's first regularly featured restaurant reviewer.  A native of the valley and a veteran of the food service industry, she's a virtuoso on all things epicurean.  She's also made it a personal mission to protect Montana diners from the fleecing imposters, the lazy sourpusses, and the just plain rotten.  CLICK HERE for a complete listing of all her restaurant reviews (there are 26).

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