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THINGS TO DO

Tuesday, October 10, 2017, 4:41 PM

Dustin Ashworth puts a calzone inside his wood-fired brick oven.

It’s been a long time since people asking each other “where do you want to eat?” have had so many choices in Muskogee, with more on the way. New chain restaurants along the Shawnee Bypass have combined with locally owned favorites to present a larger array of culinary choices across the edges of the city.

But the owner of American Pie Wood-Fired Pizza at 107 W. Broadway says downtown often slips potential diners’ minds. Downtown revitalization has been buzzing around town for a while, but the big stores on the edges of town make downtown dining the result of a conscious decision.

“We do great during lunchtime,” Dustin Ashworth, who owns American Pie with his wife, Jamie, said. “Come five o’clock, nobody even thinks there’s something downtown to eat.”

Ashworth’s place offers unique pizza made the old-world way.

Ashworth makes a calzone from bread imported from Italy.

“We cook in a brick, wood-fired oven in the true Neapolitan style,” he said. “It’s cooked between 900 to 1,000 degrees, which causes the dough to be much more crunchy on the bottom, but airy above that.”

The wood—he uses about half a rick of firewood each week—lends unique flavors to the pizzas, he said. The oven, imported from Italy, cost $20,000: “It’s not just something you go pick up. We had to wait about a month and a half to get it after we bought it.”

Since going downtown to get dinner isn’t foremost on people’s minds, Ashworth believes the revitalization of downtown hinges on reminding Muskogee residents that Shawnee and 69 don’t offer Muskogee’s only culinary options, and parking at night is much more abundant.

Along with Max’s Garage and other restaurants and nightclubs, Ashworth hopes his place is just the beginning for Muskogee’s downtown.

DISCLAIMER: Ashworth is an advertiser on MuskogeeNOW.com. He did not pay anything for this story.

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