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Oh, what trying times are these for the once-free perks of dining out: We’ve seen complimentary bread baskets removed from the dinner table. We’ve seen bread service come at a fee. We’ve even seen a few cents demanded for tap water. And now your traditional pizza sprinklings are arriving at an additional cost, too: Radius in Mount Pleasant currently charges 50 cents for grated Parmigiano-Reggiano to put on your pie.

The pizza joint’s pricing policy treats fancy parm like regular pizza toppings, such as olives or caramelized onions, instead of the usual complimentary sprinkles, such as red pepper flakes or oregano.

Chef-owner Todd Wiss says he simply can’t afford to grate the good stuff for free, anymore. “We were blowing through a 20-pound wheel every week, or week and a half,” he says.

For the first year he owned Radius, the place didn’t charge for the pricey parm. But, because Radius uses freshly grated, quality cheese—-not “Kraft shaker cheese,” Wiss explains—-the policy has been revised to reflect current economics. “If you think about it,” he says, “nowadays, no one can absorb the cost, anymore, unfortunately.”

The 50-cent fee has not slowed demand of the standard two-ounce serving, Wiss reports. A year and a half since the new policy went into effect, patrons are still asking for it.

Wiss wasn’t immediately aware of other area pizzerias that might assess the same cheesy surcharge. “Honestly,” he says. “I don’t go out and eat pizza on my days off.”

Photo by Stefanie Gans