Natalie's Coal Fired Pizza is another in a long line of gourmet pizza shops catering to upper crust clientele in central Ohio. It offers a new American spin on New York style pizza with fresh ingredients sometimes combined into interesting pies.
While Natalie's whips up great looking pizza made from high quality ingredients in a fun setting, the service was slow and ineffective. The front of house was disconnected from the rest of the operation, misjudging seating time by more than an hour. Natalie's seems to suffer from a lack of identity, namely the confusion between being a restaurant and a concert venue.
The Clintonville/Worthington area pizzeria does have a great selection of beer and cocktails. I enjoyed a Great Lakes Alchemy Hour Double IPA. The bar has a great view of the oven, which turns out pizza quickly.
The hummus appetizer was wholly average. The chickpea dip had a smooth consistency that lacked flavor. The clumsy crudites are little more than a poorly executed garnish that belongs on a table at a graduation party.
The cheese plate had nice options, including a flavorful Quiejo Toledo, a Portuguese farmhouse cheese with a bright, creamy finish. While the cheeses and accoutrements were pleasant, the sliced orange garnish belongs on a cocktail or main course in an old-fashioned Chinese restaurant rather than on a cheese plate.
The pizza crust is thin and crispy with a tender chew, a little more so than the traditional New York pie. There are a number of meatless pizzas with an array of toppings. The whole tomato brought little to the classic Margherita pie.
Overall, Natalie's makes good pizza and great drinks, but uneven service makes dinner and late-night dining a challenge. It doesn't stand out well with all of the recent haute pizza joints that have opened in the past few years. Natalie's is a change of pace option that lags behind the best of the best spots.