WHERE: International Plaza and Bay Street, 2223 N Westshore Blvd, Tampa
PRICE: About $30 for two 4-topping personal pizzas (4 slices each). There is a $2 up charge for the vegan cheese.
ATMOSPHERE: The location we went to is in a mall food court, so that should tell you about the atmosphere. Given that, this has been the destination, and only destination, in our trip to the mall. There is a nice outdoor seating section to get you away from the mall scene.
This reminds me of an Italian version of Chipotle, Moe’s, or Qdoba where you tell them what you want and watch them build your creation in front of your eyes. Rise Pies is a chain with about four locations in Ohio, Chicago and Florida. We are lucky to have one right in Tampa. Rise Pies prepares their dough and sauce daily and their produce is fresh and locally sourced, at least according to their website.
THE GOOD: They have homemade vegan cheese! This isn’t the typical Daiya option that you find in most pizza parlors that have anything vegan on the menu. The pizzas are really good. I like that they have fresh ingredients (like chopped garlic, fresh basil and mushrooms), choice of dough (white or wheat), and two sauce options (both are good).
THE BAD: The price and no protein choice. In our opinion, they seem a little pricey for what you get. You could go to Chipotle or Mellow Mushroom and pay about the same and leave fuller. They offer vegan homemade cheese but no protein choice, which would be a great compliment to their other offerings.
THE SUMMARY: This only got a B due to the price. It is definitely worth trying, especially if you are planning a day of shopping at International Mall. Don’t have too high expectations for the mall food court seating, but the food is good.