by Rosalind Brazel
Tucked in the curves of Rainier Avenue in the heart of Rainier Beach, a new player has entered the dough-slinging pizza game with an unusual, or ‘paranormal’ theme. Paranormal Pie serves pizza with a Mediterranean twist. The restaurant has all the normal pizza options including pepperoni, Hawaiian, and meat lovers. Because they serve Halal, which adheres to Islamic dietary laws, there are no pig products.
So, the pepperoni is made from beef and the ham is made from turkey. Paranormal Pie’s owners made this adjustment to their menu after getting a feel for who lived in the neighborhood. They realized they needed to adapt to the community.
There are also Mediterranean pizza options like Greek Gyro pizza that has the standard pizza sauce and mozzarella but the toppings of Gyro meat, peppers, onions, feta cheese, and plenty of tzatziki sauce bring it to a paranormal level. The flavorful, rotisserie-cooked meat with the refreshing white sauce make a satisfying mix.
The Kofta Kabob pizza is another choice that gives you the illusion of an Italian pie but the beef, parsley, onions, and spices on this pie, plus the side of hummus is decidedly Mediterranean. Also, the Mana’ish, a Lebanese flatbread, is done well. The spices are created in-house for this special dish that can be ordered with or without cheese.
The veggie pizza is among their most popular. In addition to the mushrooms, green peppers, onions, and black olives that are traditional to that style of pie, they add spinach and tomato to make it more colorful and to achieve what they believe is a five-star pizza. There’s a veggie pesto version too. Salads and Baklava, a popular Mediterranean dessert, round out the diverse menu.
This restaurant is the brainchild of Daoud Abouchamsddin who immigrated to Seattle from Lebanon. There, he was known as the Shawarma guy, for specializing in the traditional Mediterranean dish that has a Levantine meat preparation, where lamb, chicken, turkey, beef, veal, or mixed meats are placed on a spit and may be grilled for as long as a day.
Shavings are cut off the block of meat for serving. He owned a deli previously, but the rent ballooned so he and is two nephews, Mael and Hicham Said, thought they’d blend the flavors they are familiar with and the popular Italian pie. They opened in South Seattle almost six months ago.
In the first few months of being open, the restaurant is doing well. It boasts a 4.9-star rating on Google and nearly the same on Yelp. The delivery option is one key to success for Paranormal Pie. The restaurant’s ability to adapt to the community’s needs is another big part of its early patronage.
Future plans for this restaurant are to continue to build their customer base, adapting the menu if needed. They hope to capitalize on their following of customers who travel to them from different parts of the city by someday opening a branch in a neighborhood where the following is strongest.
A really fun stop on the Pizza Showdown tour. Give this one a try!
Rosalind Brazel is a self-professed food snob. She has been food obsessed since childhood and enjoys dining out as much as she does creating meals of her own. She was recently featured as a Cook-to-follow in Allrecipes magazine and served as judge on the cooking show Dinner Spinner. She calls South Seattle home.