GOODNESS PILED HIGH The Bike Stop's lobster pizza.
"Follow your bliss” certainly took hold with the Bike Stop Cafe’s co-owner/culinary head Brendan Roan. He’d cooked all over the state for the last couple decades and loved feeding folks, but his not-so-secret second passion was bicycling. So he took a dozen-plus bicycles that he collected out of his basement, hung them on the walls of his new cafe (with co-owner/general manager Casey Montanari), and christened his pizza parlor-plus in January.
Word of mouth has kept even weeknights busy for Roan, who greets customers as they walk in the door and find themselves face to face with twirling pizzas and a beautiful stone oven where the pies are wood-grilled (masonry by Montanari). Ten specialty pizzas come with everything piled on them; from pulled pork with pineapple to lobster with garlic butter to roasted chicken with a salad and ranch dressing. Small specialty pizzas are $10.50-$11; large ones $15.50-$16, except for the lobster (large only, $21). Regular cheese pizzas are $6.50 small; $10.50 large. All crusts are made with organic flour, and there’s a gluten-free option.
A friend and I ordered a small “Tri Mom” (several pizzas are named after biking events or triathlons), with mozzarella, provolone, feta, and Parmesan cheeses topped with spinach, tomatoes, and — our addition — kalamata olives ($1.50 extra for a gluten-free crust). Only six pieces of pizza but so thick with ingredients, we could only eat two apiece.
We also shared a beet and goat cheese salad ($9): lots of mesclun greens topped with chilled beets, crumbled goat cheese, whole pistachios, and shredded carrots. We were both quite pleased.
Another recent lunch with friends gave thumbs-up to the fish tacos (flounder with mango salsa and charred cabbage in a choice of soft or hard shell); the pecan, cranberry and pear salad; the pulled pork sandwich; the barbecued wings; and the veggie burger (sweet potato, brown rice, and dill with a side of tasty truffle fries).
When Bill and I went back on a recent soggy evening, we opted for the dinner-for-two special (available Sunday-Thursday) of two appetizers, two entrees, and one dessert for $45. Since there are always specials to enlarge the regular menu, we knew we’d have plenty of choices. And since Roan likes to use local ingredients, I grabbed the striper with fiddleheads ($20) and Bill headed for the chipotle chicken ($15). For appetizers, he chose the crispy shrimp ($8.50) and I the tropical quinoa salad ($7). On the $45 special, you can also order a large pizza as your entree.
The salad was tossed with chopped parsley, papaya, ginger, red onions, flax and sesame seeds, scallion, carrots, red peppers, and coconut, and topped with macadamia nuts. It was quite yummy but missing one ingredient as described: chopped mango. I asked, and they took it back and added it in.
Bill admired and devoured his six tiger shrimp wrapped in a wonton with lemongrass and served with a side of chili sauce. Those three major components are among his very favorites, so he was full of praise. As he was when his generous portion of quite spicy chicken showed up, with plenty of sauce over a mound of penne. He couldn’t have been happier.