In the heart of Seattle sits Humble Pie, an eco-friendly pizzeria cranking out delicious, thoughtful food — but there’s more to this city oasis than just great grub. Architect and entrepreneur Brian Solazzi is the visionary behind this truly sustainable business.
"Hopefully, all architects of my generation are thinking that way now," he said. "Buildings have a tremendous impact on energy and water use and building materials. Hopefully, it's not that uncommon these days."
Solazzi, who grew up in the International District, wanted to do something to benefit the community. So he opened Humble Pie, an award-winning business that is friendly to the environment.
"We process 100% of our water on site. All the rainwater goes to the green roof and is absorbed on-site," he said. "We’ve got solar panels right here producing more electricity than we use."
That’s just the start. There are two recycled shipping containers. On the roof, a garden producing organic basil for the pizza, plants and vines all around the grounds are also ingredients — but the stars of this show are the chickens.
Yes, they have real chickens!
"We've got seven lovely ladies. The kids love them. As the adults, they’re really used to people being here, so they’re very friendly," Solazzi said.
Back in the kitchen, the crew started making my margarita pizza. Nearly everything they use is organic, including the dough — kneading by hand — making the perfect crust.
"Very simple ingredients. It's Washington co-op flour, olive oil, water, salt and yeast. So that, plus your variables of time and temperature, are what you’re trying to control," said Solazzi. "We make our dough 24 hours in advance to let it rise and form it by hand because it’s fun, and you get slight irregularities with bubbles in the crust, and it gives it a little texture."
Once my margarita pizza came out of the oven, Humble Pie added a fresh egg (one I actually picked out myself) and basil that was grown on the roof — and, let me tell you, it was money!
A simple pizza, but so much more.
"I love it because every single day is different," said Solazzi. "It's always creative. There's always problem-solving and always something new."
Humble Pie is located at 525 Rainier Avenue S, Seattle. More information online.