If you've driven down Elm Street in the past few months, you know it's a mess. There are as many potholes as there are pothole patches and just two blocks or driving can rattle the shocks off your car. But behind the rubble and concrete there are glimmers of hope about the future. You can envision the equivalent of the newly renovated Greenville Avenue, only drunker and louder and more covered in ink.
Stonedeck Pizza Pub hopes to be a part of Deep Ellum's future. The restaurant opened about a month ago with crisp, modern lines and massive windows. While much of the neighborhood's bars and restaurants are obscured in darkness, Stonedeck wants to let the light inside. It could almost be a scene from an Edward Hopper painting, if the counter were a little longer.
Inside, a massive Frank Campagna mural actually does run the length of the restaurant. In keeping with Deep Ellum tradition, the artist was commissioned to light up an entire wall with scenes from the neighborhood. The rest of the walls are painted in neutral grays and random nicknacks like pizza peels hang here and there, but the space is far from cluttered. It feels clean.
The decor is in strong contrast to the 'za, which boasts noisy flavor combinations. There's an Asian pizza with a sweet sauce, carrot daikon and cilantro. There's a barbecue chicken pizza and a Hawaiian pizza with ham and big chunks of pineapple. If you're more of a minimalist there are endless build your own options, too. I went for sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms and olives. I should have gotten some red onion too.
The crust here has a pronounced crispness, and it's thick, but not as thick as the Sicilian slices you'll get at a New York pizzeria, or at Zoli's in Oak Cliff. It's also more tender than the crackery crusted pies served at many bars around town. The pizza sauce is sweet, and the cheese is thick and tastes like the commodity dairy you'd expect at a pizza pub.
One thing you likely wouldn't expect, though, is moonshine, which is offered in flights for tasting. I neglected to try any (my moonshine sippin' days ended more than 15 years ago), so I can't offer your much advice here, but if you feel like searing off your tastebuds and getting blind drunk before a show at Trees, this is likely a good way to go. Or you could just drink the night away here as the owners surely hope. Out back you'll find a sizable patio with super-Jenga and cornhole.