“There are five elements: earth, air, fire, water and garlic.”
Louis Diat (1885-1957)
It had been over a year since I had stopped by the Brick Oven Pub, which is located at 2875 Ray Lawyer Drive in Placerville, in the same shopping center with Minuteman Press and Riebes/Napa Auto Parts. So, last week I went there to spend some time talking with Ken Fay, who with his wife Karrie, have owned and operated the business for four years.
Ken is always fun to talk with. If you ask him a question about the restaurant business, he knows the answer. He also loves odd facts and knows the answers to a lot of miscellaneous questions, which is probably why their every Thursday at 7 p.m., Pub Trivia Night is so popular. I always leave there knowing a little more about something than when I went in.
“We just revamped the menu,” he told me. “We added a kids section and a number of things that we were serving, but hadn’t been put on the menu. Most of those were speciality pizzas that had been suggested by customers and staff.”
I should add here that the Brick Oven Pub is family owned and very family friendly. The first thing you come to when you enter is a large, relatively quiet dining area, before you get to the beer bar and the back room with the large screen TV.
“Our pizzas are the biggest seller,” continued Ken. “The Rubicon and Bandito, seem to top the list, but you can build you own small, medium or large pizza using a choice of sauces, cheeses and toppings.
“Our sandwiches are popular too, and we bake our own bread using only four ingredients, flour, water yeast and salt. Tony, who you probably remember, isn’t working here anymore, but we use his bread recipes.
“The top selling sandwiches are the French Dip and our half-pound burgers. We have also recently introduced wraps for people who don’t want so much bread.
“Our customers really love the Chicken Bacon Wrap [seasoned chicken, bacon, cheese, lettuce, tomato and garlic sauce]. We use the best thick cut bacon and it is applewood smoked. There is no reason to skimp on any of our ingredients and we don’t.
“I mentioned about customers designing pizza, and I should add that they also recommend dishes,” he continued. “One of them recently asked why we didn’t take the chicken strips we had on our menu and make them into Parmesan chicken strips. We took the advice and did, by adding Provolone and Parmesan cheeses. They are very popular.”
The menu at the Brick Oven Pub, starts with build-your-own pizza, breads and calzones, all from the brick oven. The basic ones come with three toppings and they have quite a long list to choose from, such as meats like salami, ham, bacon, pepperoni, Italian sausage and roasted chicken, or vegetables such as mushrooms, black olives, fresh garlic, spinach, artichoke hearts, sun dried tomatoes, pineapple, red onions, jalapenos and more. Of course, you can add additional toppings to your heart’s content.
They also several different burgers, hot and cold speciality sandwiches, again, made on their own bread, like barbecued turkey, roast beef or chicken, pesto chicken, French dip, pastrami, a pastrami Reuben, sausage, a meatball sub and more. “If we have the ingredients, we will make a custom sandwich for you,” added Ken.
Also, some of the sandwiches are available as a half sandwich combination with soup or salad.
Speaking of salads, you can choose from the chef, pesto chicken, BLT Caesar, Caesar, house, potato and macaroni. And they have several dressings from which to choose.
They also have quite a list of appetizers, pasta, a number of side dishes and even a chocolate brownie with ice cream for dessert.
To accompany your food they have 29 beers on tap plus hard cider and bottled beers, local wines, soda, coffee iced tea and more.
So, you might wonder, what did I try and how was it. I have tried their pizza before and really liked it, so this time I tried the Chicken Bacon Wrap, which, like all sandwiches, came with potato chips. When it arrived I picked it up and I am guessing it weighed at least three quarters of a pound. I like the idea of replacing bread with a flour tortilla, since the flavors of the ingredients become the primary taste, not the bread.
It was fresh and delicious and, taking time to do so, I finished it all. A couple of side salads and that to split, would be a nice meal for two.
The Brick Oven Pub is open for lunch and dinner from 11 a.m. “until the last person leaves,” seven days a week.
Monday is Family Night with buy one, get one for half price (on menu items of equal or lesser value) after 5 p.m., Wednesday is Happy Hour all day, and you won’t want to miss Thursday’s Trivia Night, with prizes, starting at 7 or Karaoke on Saturdays from 7 until 11. On Fridays, after 8 p.m., you can get pitchers for half price unless they have live music.
For more information give them a call at 530-622-7420. You call also visit their webpage at www.brickovenpub.com.