Open since November 2011, Six Hundred Downtown in Bellefontaine, Ohio, is the latest restaurant venture for owner Michael Shepherd, who also operates two other local pizzerias. His newest enterprise is in a prime location across from Bellefontaine's pretty courthouse, and thanks to a muted black-brown-maroon color scheme and understated furnishings, the restaurant projects a casual vibe with a touch of class.
Michael has won international pizza-tossing championships and is a certified Italian Pizza Maker. Accordingly, Six Hundred Downtown specializes in hand-thrown, Neapolitan-style pizzas quickly baked in brick ovens at 600 degrees, a temperature that produces perfectly browned crispy crusts. While Michael's methods may be old-fashioned, the menu is anything but, highlighting creative signature pizzas with unconventional ingredient combinations. For instance, the New Orleans offers spicy Cajun sauce and grilled chicken; the Alamo showcases seasoned ground beef, salsa and sour cream; and the tasty Montana combines buttermilk ranch sauce with smoked bacon and Mumford’s potato chips (8-inch size, $7.60). Other locavore toppings include artisanal feta cheese from Blue Jacket Dairy and meaty, garlicky, Ohio-produced pepperoni (expect a 16-inch pepperoni pizza to set you back $15.50).
Six Hundred Downtown does have a few rough edges to iron out: It needs more pasta entrees, longer hours and carry-out options, but with pizza this good, it's well on its way to becoming a destination eatery.