A specialty casual dining concept with a creative, innovative menu that showcases a wood-fired oven and hand-spun crepes.
The Crust is a cozy little pizza and sandwich shop just steps from William and Mary and Colonial Williamsburg. It’s built with college students in mind, yet anyone would feel comfortable here. The interior of the building is rustic with its chalkboard walls, concrete floors, and thick wooden tables. There is even an open wood-fired oven behind the bar where you can watch your pizza being made. What I think really makes The Crust unique, though, is that they encourage leadership/participation in their restaurant by the local W&M students. Their website describes it this way “The Crust is not just a new restaurant concept. It is a new concept based on student leadership.” It’s exciting to see a restaurant embrace students like this and allow them to learn hands-on how to run a business and come up with new ideas to help it succeed.
As always, we talked with our server about what items would be the best to taste and photograph. Our server suggested a variety of items, one of them being the Tomato and Cheese Soup. When she first mentioned it, I couldn’t see how it would be anything special, but we ordered it anyways. I was more than pleasantly surprised at how delicious it was. It would be great as a stand-alone light meal or alongside a sandwich. Our next course was the Avocado, Mozzarella and Tomato Salad. The flavors were bold and very tasty with sweet pesto, balsamic reduction, and a citrus vinaigrette. My favorite part of the salad was the sweet pesto. It was so good that I was dipping my bread into it to get every last drop. From there we moved on to The Griffin sandwich. This was a really good, simple, fresh sandwich with a generous portion of meat inside. We could not leave without sampling some pizza, so we ordered the Buffalo and Tomato pizza. They import their buffalo mozzarella from Europe to get the most flavor and then top the pizza with fresh basil growing in a little garden they have in the front patio. I guess you should have a pretty good pizza crust if you’re going to call yourselves “The Crust”, so it’s not surprising how authentically Italian the crust tastes. It’s thin with just the right amount of “chewiness”. Just when we thought we were done, our server suggested one of their hand-spun crepes. We couldn’t resist, so we tasted the Diablotin crepe, which had chocolate mousse, strawberries, vanilla sauce, and whipped cream. The mousse was light and the strawberries were a perfect addition to it. This was a very satisfying meal from start to finish.
My Favorite Thing: Tomato and Cheese Soup. This was the best tomato soup I have ever eaten. There’s something unique about it that makes it stand out from any other tomato soups I have tried in the past. And either their bowls are insulated really well, or I just ate it too fast, but the soup managed to stay piping hot down to the last drop. It would be the perfect soup on a nice fall day.
What I would like to try next time: Wild Mushroom & Arugula Pizza – “Wild mushrooms, house-made mozzarella, Pecorino Romano, garlic, Fontina, arugula”. Mushrooms are one of my weaknesses, so this one definitely stood out to me.
My Favorite Part of a Pizza.
The crust. This often discarded and unappreciated final act of a pizza slice is, in my opinion, the most important part of a pizza. Quality ingredients, the right oven and a good baker’s “touch” is the beginning and ending to a really good pizza. Thankfully, we have that right here in Williamsburg at a fairly new café appropriately named “The Crust”.
The Crust opened a little less than a year ago in an ideal location off of Richmond Road right across from the campus of William & Mary. It serves wood-fired pizza, sandwiches, wings, crepes, soups, salads, and more in a casual dining café with a relaxing, yet fun atmosphere. Chalkboard walls covered with different colored specials and events throughout the restaurant help achieve this. As does their creative and thoughtful business strategy of bringing on students to help run the business. That’s right, like Mindy said, The Crust is a student-led business which trains and supports students by allowing them to be apart of the managing and operating of the business. The students are paid and have played a major role in the business decisions and the promoting of the restaurant. I love that they do this. It reveals their creativity, business sense and character; just like their food. Which is awesome. They only use top quality ingredients imported from Italy or found locally to make their own cheese and bread in-house. The owners and baker (from France) traveled around the world studying and researching the various pizzas of the world to help them create a pizza that they are proud of. And man, does it show. Let’s start with the first course though…
We started off our meal with the Tomato & Cheese Soup. This was delicious. It was like drinking liquid pizza. It came with two very simple, but extremely tasty bread rolls that were nice and crusty on the outside yet soft, chewy and moist on the inside. Perfect. Next we had the Avocado, Mozzarella & Tomato Salad – “Avocado, House-made Mozzarella, Tomato, Sweet Pesto, Balsamic Reduction, Citrus Vinaigrette, Mixed Greens”. This was really good. I enjoyed the flavors in this. The sweet pesto and balsamic reduction together with the house-made mozzarella and tomato are making my mouth water right now. And this too came with those delicious rolls We then moved onto the main course with one of their signature sandwiches entitled “The Griffin” – “Chicken Breast, Romaine Lettuce, Vine Ripe Tomatoes, Fontina, Avocado, Herb Mayonnaise, Multigrain Bread”. A good, clean and “healthy-feeling” sandwich. I loved the multigrain bread in this sandwich. It was very tasty. Then came the pizza. Their pizza is wood-fired in a special European stone hearth oven to give them that fantastic crust and chew. We tried their Buffalo & Tomato – “Crushed Tomato Sauce, Italian Buffalo Mozzarella, Pecorino Romano, Basil”. Amazing. One of the best pizzas in Williamsburg. The Buffalo Mozzarella is imported from Europe and has a nice creamy and rich flavor to it. And as previously mentioned, the crust is fantastic (I’m not going to say “no pun intended”). It’s slightly charred from the stone hearth oven with a nice thin and chewy center. Just like I like it. We ended our meal with one of their hand-spun dessert crepes, The Diablotin – “Chocolate Mousse, Strawberries, Vanilla Sauce and Whipped Cream”. That vanilla sauce is delicious. It’s nice to have a place in town that serves really good crepes… and pizza.
My Favorite Thing: The Buffalo & Tomato Pizza. Like I said, one of the best in Williamsburg.
What I would like to try next time: Spinach Pizza – “Pecorino Romano, Garlic, Gruyere, Mozzarella, Bacon, Spinach, Olive Oil”. I’d like to try ALL of their pizzas, but this one is the first on my list.