It’s not often you find a chicken coop at a pizza joint. Or a restaurant constructed of shipping containers. Or basil plants growing in a rooftop garden.
But such is the scene at Humble Pie, open for just over a month now at 525 Rainier Ave, at Weller Street. Owner Brian Solazzi has labored on the odd-shaped lot for a year and a half, building his pizza restaurant. He’s incorporated two shipping containers, one for storage and the other for the kitchen and bathroom. Solazzi also built the coop, a large patio and outdoor seating area, and a small deck near the ordering window. He’s currently growing hops for eventual beer making, has plans to expand the gardens, and will start using eggs from his chickens in the fall.
The chicken coop, the rooftop garden, and the shipping containers are all part of Solazzi’s vision for a sustainable enterprise. Solazzi, who holds a Master’s Degree in Architecture from Carnegie Mellon, designed Humble Pie in accordance with LEED principles. (The building isn’t LEED certified, though; LEED only certifies buildings that are at least 1,000 square feet and Humble Pie is a mere 192.)
“LEED has a concept that I apply which is the triple bottom line, meaning we’re not only about profitability, we’re also about community development and sustainability,” Solazzi says. “With the building we tried to make something that has as small a footprint as possible. We wanted to be able to process 100% of rainwater on site. We wanted to have an outdoor environment and we wanted to grow as much of our food as we could.”
The Humble Pie menu will always have ten pies and a salad, but Solazzi is hoping to have specials that reflect seasonal ingredients. The current pies include a traditional Margherita, an apple pizza with Beecher’s Flagship cheese, and a prosciutto and arugula pie with a fried egg draped over the middle.
“We’re very interested in seasonal stuff as well as exploring more interesting types of pizza,” Solazzi says. “We’re not a strictly Italian place so that gives us freedom to explore other influences.”
Beyond what he grows on site, Solazzi sources as much of his ingredients locally. Meat comes from Zoe’s Meats in SODO, and the pizza is made with Washington flour. Beer and wine is sourced from “as close to Seattle as possible,” Solazzi says. When he can, Solazzi opts for organic ingredients. And everything that passes through the ordering window is compostable or recyclable.
The chickens will help close the loop as much as possible by eating scraps or spoiled vegetables, and by contributing waste as fertilizer.
Humble Pie is currently open from 5 pm to 9 pm Tuesday through Sunday, but they’re currently hiring and hoping to expand to lunch hours soon.