What’s good here?
When in doubt, just ask for The Meaty. That’s the most popular pizza at Lexington’s Knead Pizza on Augusta Highway near Lexington High School.
“Like our other pizzas, you get all-natural dough and tomato-basil sauce, but this pizza spotlights our all-natural pepperoni,” said Ian Walls, who co-founded Knead with his wife, Kassie. “We cut our pepperoni in house, and you will find it is more than double the size of your standard pepperoni.”
For a vegetarian option, Knead’s Great White pizza is very popular. With the option of traditional, whole wheat or gluten-free dough, the Great White also features Knead’s house recipe great white sauce with mozzarella, feta cheese, spinach, red onions, tomatoes and mushrooms.
For those who like to make their own pizza masterpiece, the create-your-own is a must. After selecting a dough style, sauce and cheese, customers can pick any three toppings they desire.
“Best of all, we can build and bake your pizza in less than six minutes,” Walls said, thanks to a special oven that directs the heat onto the pizza by forcing more heat on the bottom of the pie than the top. “We are so fast, many times we have your pizza baked and ready before you can even get to your seat.”
Knead also features grilled paninis with all-natural salami, chicken, turkey and ham, as well as specialty (Southwestern, BLT, antipasto) or create-your-own salads with your pick of spinach or romaine lettuce, cheese, meat, dressing and a selection of fresh produce from a list of nearly two dozen.
Both the traditional and whole wheat dough at Knead are handmade daily in house using a recipe created by Walls and his wife and consisting of only six ingredients: non-bleached flour, water, salt, sugar, olive oil and yeast.
“Simple and clean,” Walls said. “The fewer ingredients you put into dough the better it is.”
The dough is made daily and allowed to ferment and rise slowly for at least two days and up to four days.
Building on the energy surrounding South Carolina craft beer, Knead also features seven South Carolina craft brews on draft and offers them for $3 a pint every Monday to encourage support of local breweries.
“Pizza and beer are best friends, and with our great pizza, we want to showcase the great beer being created right here in South Carolina,” Walls said.
How did Knead Pizza get its start?
Both former healthcare administrators, Ian, a Wyoming native, and Kassie, an Oregon native, moved to Columbia 10 years ago after Ian joined the Air Force and was assigned to Shaw Air Force Base before being deployed to active duty in Afghanistan. After leaving active duty, the couple moved to Lexington for the area’s school system and the Spanish immersion program at Pleasant Hill Elementary School, where their children now attend.
Shortly thereafter, the Walls started becoming more aware of the age-old mantra, you are what you eat, and began to focus on feeding their own family all-natural, local food whenever possible.
“We wanted to give our kids a good head start on food, but we became frustrated with trying to find all-natural food in restaurants,” Walls said. “We decided we could bring a good food product to Lexington and create a good natural dining option for our community. We landed on pizza because everybody loves pizza and we knew we could provide good, all-natural ingredients.”
Knead Pizza opened with that concept in June 2014 featuring, among other all-natural items, all-natural, uncured salami and pepperoni. The restaurant also partners with Batesburg’s Terra Kotta Farms and Senn Bros. Produce to provide seasonal and organic produce from local farmers whenever possible.
What does the place look like?
After deciding he wanted to open a pizza place, Walls knew he wanted a name less traditional than Ian’s Pizza. After talking it over with a creative friend, Walls settled on Knead Pizza. The theme is carried out throughout the restaurant with signs such as, “Knead to Order,” “Knead to Pay,” “Knead Restrooms?” and “Knead Drinks” as well as in its website, ikneadpizza.com.
The eatery also carries a sort of small town, familiar vibe that is conveyed throughout its decor.
“We are a fast casual pizza joint that displays our passion for community involvement ranging from T-shirts from the five elementary schools in our area, to memorabilia from the two high schools that we support (Lexington and Gilbert),” Walls said.
Who eats here?
“Families, students, professionals – anyone looking for delicious, natural, top quality pizza.”
104-B Scarborough Drive, Augusta Highway, Lexington
PRICES: Prices range from $5.99 (personal) to $15.99 (large) for pizzas; $6.99 for paninis; and $2.99 (side) to $7.49 (full) for salads
HOURS: 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Monday-Saturday; 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday (Until 9 p.m. during the summer)
Janet Jones Kendall, Special to Go Columbia