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Pizza Pi

Pizza Pi is unique in the world of pizzerias. There are thousands of pizza places in the country. But how many do you know that serve exclusively vegan pies? At Pizza Pi, a small pizzeria on The Ave in the University District, cow's cheese has been replaced with a vegan cheese made from brown rice milk and oat flour. And pizzas are topped with fake pepperoni, sausage, hamburger or bacon instead of actual meat.

"My search for vegan pizza came up empty, so I did it myself," says Russ Kemsley, the Pizza Pi's owner. Vegans who love pizza can rejoice: This place makes a mean pie.

Finding vegan pizza has always been a chore, until now. Vegans can ask pizzerias for cheeseless pizza, but still must worry about the possibility of animal products in the crust or sauce. A scattering of pizzerias offer soy cheese, but many vegans don't eat it because it contains casein (milk protein).

Pizza Pi takes away these worries. Kemsley tested a variety of vegan cheese creations among vegans, vegetarians and carnivores. His test groups selected the mozzarella-style vegan cheese he uses as the most cheese-like in taste and texture.

Or you can make your pie, choosing from the fake meats as well as artichoke hearts, jalapenos, sun-dried tomatoes and various other veggies. Pizza Pi's web site (www.pizzapi.net) makes it easy to order your pie online.

The pizzeria is small, with a couple of tables and cooler dispensing standard soft drinks. Most of the business is takeout.

Pizza Pi is located at 5500 University Way NE, Seattle. The phone number is (206) 343-1415.