The first thing I thought when I walked into Flipside was “Hmmm. It’s like Brunswick got jealous that Portland has Otto and decided to do its own thing.”

Flipside is the latest pizza joint to raise the bar on innovative pie in Maine. All of the ingredients are sourced locally or regionally, with even the pepperoni and maple-cured bacon (nitrate free, fruitwood smoked) coming from New Hampshire.

The toppings include the usual Italian sausage, anchovies and pepperoni, but the choices also include chorizo, smoked chicken, Maine shrimp and fresh clams. Vegetable toppings include onions, mushrooms and red peppers, but there’s also local greens, potatoes and fresh jalapenos on the menu.

“We make pumpkin sauce and roasted squash,” said Eloise Humphrey, who owns Flipside with her sister and brother-in-law, Daphne and Paul Comaskey. You may recognize their names because they are also the owners of El Camino, one of the more popular restaurants in Brunswick.

“The basil and tomatoes we get from Olivia’s Garden,” Humphrey said. “We’re trying to work on something with Brussels sprouts. We use beets and kale. And then, of course, things will evolve in the summer as things grow again. We also processed a lot of heirloom tomatoes for sauce.”

Humphrey and the Comaskeys collaborate with Bob Haggerty, Flipside’s chef and manager, on creating new varieties of pizza. Haggerty is the former owner of Haggerty’s Cafe in Yarmouth.

I visited on a weeknight, when students from nearby Bowdoin College were likely visiting their own cafeterias for dinner. The small space was almost empty except for a woman and her son sharing a pizza. There are four high tables, each with four seats, plus extra counter seating for folks who want to eat in.

The restaurant is very small. Humphrey said it’s one of the oldest buildings on Maine Street, and when they were trying to decide what kind of place to open, take-out pizza seemed to be the only thing that was practical.

They thought their place would provide an alternative to chain pizza places, and Bowdoin students are already used to eating local, organic food on campus. “They’re used to eating a higher quality of food,” Humphrey said.

Flipside serves three sizes of pie. A 12-inch cheese pizza starts at $8 and goes up from there at $1 per topping. A 16-inch starts at $13, and toppings cost $2 each. And an 18-inch starts at $16, and extra toppings are $3 each.

In addition to the regular toppings, there are specials listed on the blackboard. Prices for the specials ran $11 for a 12-inch pizza; $16 for a 16-inch; and $21 for an 18-inch pie.

The specials the day I visited included a pizza with chorizo, jalapeno and roasted tomato as toppings. Another option was whole roasted mushrooms, raddichio and feta.

Specials are also sold by the slice, and I bought three so I could sample different kinds. The first slice was made with roast potato, bacon, scallions and basil ricotta, which had been added in dollops to the top of the pie. The second was buttercup squash, shaved fennel and roast tomato pesto. And the third was topped with slices of sweet potatoes, greens, roasted red onions and bleu cheese.

They were all good, but my favorite was the one with the basil ricotta because the flavors really popped. I also enjoyed the buttercup squash, fennel and roast tomato pesto, but the flavors there were more subtle. The roast tomato pesto was a good idea, and I would have liked a little more of it.

My least favorite was the slice with sweet potatoes, greens, roasted red onions and bleu cheese. It’s one of those things that sounds good on paper — two of my favorite things are red onions and bleu cheese — but the execution leaves something to be desired.

The crust was delicious, but a tad overdone, probably because they reheated the slices for me. This is where a little more pesto or some other sauce might have come in handy as far as keeping things moist. The greens, for example, were a little too crispy, to the point where they didn’t have much flavor and I wished they weren’t even on the pizza.

The slices are huge. Three slices are way too many for one person, even if they’re really hungry, so I tried each one and saved some for later. The crust is thin but substantial, so you don’t have to worry about your slice drooping and losing the toppings.

For beverages, Flipside sells Maine Root (sarsaparilla, root beer and ginger beer) and Blue Sky sodas. Humphrey said the owners are working on getting a beer and wine license.

Right now Flipside does not deliver, but there may be limited delivery in the future.

Overall, Flipside is a great addition. It’s not as mind-blowingly good as Otto, but it’s miles above most pizza joints, and I would definitely stop there again on my way through Brunswick. And if you live in the Brunswick area and haven’t tried it yet, go now.

Hooray for pizza that’s not a heart attack on a plate.

The Features staff of The Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram anonymously samples meals for about $7.


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