January 21, 2012

Week 51: Enzo's Pizza

So, its official another average pizza restaurant has opened in Denton County. Let us introduce to you... Enzo’s Pizza.  First of all anything short of Grimaldi’s or Il Cane Rosso would struggle to survive Parker Square in Flower Mound.  Since it’s inception a few years back, Parker Square has struggled to find it’s niche with start-up entrepreneurs.  What started off as a center that might compete with outdoor shopping areas like Southlake Town Square, Parker Square never really gained popular approval from local residents.  Maybe it’s the lack of national chains people have grown to love, or possibly the never ending revolving door of short lived boutique businesses.  Regardless, we had our fingers crossed this would be the beginning of a new chapter for Parker Square. We were hungry!
After reviewing some of your standard food review websites, we were encouraged to see countless “5 Star” reviews.  Our only conclusion is that the employees of Enzo’s had a friends and family night where the required fee to enter was to log in online and submit a rave review.  After walking through the doors we were slightly encouraged by a small group of patrons in the dining area and waiting to place an order at the counter.  After taking a quick look around it was easy to see that it was basically the exact set up as before (Turner’s Pizza Depot) with a new color scheme and less historical wall hangings.  We brought the kids with us this week and decided to split an x-large ($18) with half cheese and half Mediterranean (Roasted Pepper, Artichokes, Sun Dried Tomatoes, Basil Pesto Sauce, Feta Cheese and Mozzarella).  The order seemed to stump the young lad behind the counter.  Apparently the idea of combining two sauces on one pizza was forbidden and after discussion with three other associates, we were denied a split sauce pizza.   Not wanting to rock the boat, we explained that it would be fine if they mixed the red and basil pesto sauce on the Mediterranean side.  We grabbed a booth towards the back and the kids went and played out in the empty gazebo in the middle of the Square.
It wasn’t too much of a wait and the pizza was hot out of the oven.  The same kid that took our order delivered the pizza along with some plates and utensils.  One item to note is that Enzo’s is BYOB so feel free to bring along your favorite red wine or a couple bottles of brew!  As stated at the beginning, the pizza was average.  The 18” pizza was cut into 8 slices and while we were certainly hungry and didn’t have any leftovers, it was far from memorable.  Enzo’s immediately was filed along with countless of other “OK” pizza places in the metroplex.  The pizza was your standard New York style big slice type, but was missing the “wow-factor.”  The Mediterranean was definitely better than the plain cheese but didn’t make me want to rush back to Enzo’s any time soon.  The highlight of the pizza was the crust, but we wouldn’t classify it as fantastic.  It was a little crispy around the edge, but lacked any distinctive characteristics worth mentioning.
The Final Report: 5.5 out of 10
We were really hoping that we would have stumbled across a little known pizza gem out here in our neck of the woods.  Unfortunately, I wouldn’t be surprised that that if by Christmas time this year you will find another listing on Craigslist for a “turnkey pizza business for sale” along with a handful of others in Parker Square.

January 17, 2012

Week 50: Pizza Villa

Located only a stone’s throw off the Beltline exit of 75, you will find Pizza Villa, a Richardson pizza institution for decades.  Sandwiched between a Bombay Sari Palace and a Chinese Bakery... Pizza Villa has certainly stood the test of time.  While you might not catch the Home and Garden Channel featuring the interior design and atmosphere at Pizza Villa, their pizza is one of a kind.  Pizza Villa came highly recommended by one of our local blog readers, so we had to make a visit...
One thing that will strike you right away when you open the doors at Pizza Villas is a sense of nostalgia.  It literally felt like you entered a time warp and were taken back 30+ years.  Everything from the minimal decorations to the old school letter-board menu, this place was unique and beats to its own drum.  Heading home from a long day at work , I thougt I would call in my order.  After attempting to hunt down a menu online, it became clear that Pizza Villa’s ability to adapt to the times was lacking, and they were 100% fine with that.  The lady who answered the phone gave me a brief rundown of sizes and toppings and left me to decide for myself.  While navigating the busy rush hour traffic I made a snap decision and ordered a medium 1/2 with everything on it and 1/2 with all the veggies.  I also couldn’t help but grab a small cheese for only 4 dollars and some change.  One important detail that should be mentioned is that they only take cash.  So, unless you want to pay the $3 service fee to use the neighboring ACE Cash Express, bring some cash in your wallet.

With almost an hour ride home through 635 construction I couldn’t help but crack open the box and grab a couple cheese slices to hold me over.  The first thing that caught my attention was the thin crust.  There was a crunchy texture that was unlike any of the other 51 pizza places that we had been this year.  Definitely a unique experience.  The cheese was a little overcooked for my liking, but wasn’t your standard grated mozzarella cheese.  The sauce was very flavorful and the crust itself seemed to be sprinkled with some type of seasoning.  Did I mention that the crust was delicious?  The medium pizza was absolutely covered with toppings.  This list of included toppings is too long to mention, but needless to say you won’t find grilled chicken, artichokes, pineapple, or prosciutto at Pizza Villa.  This place is true vintage pizza and they’ll even toss on anchovies if you’d like. Closed on Sundays and Mondays, Pizza Villa only serves up its original flavor 5 days a week.

The Final Report: 7 out of 10
Was Pizza Villa the best pizza this year? No.  Was it one of the classic hidden gems we hoped to find on our pizza adventure? Absolutely.  Over the past year we have tried all types, shapes, and sizes of pizza and one thing can be said of Pizza Villa...  It’s one of a kind, and that’s a good thing!

January 9, 2012

Week 49: Olivella's

Next time you are in University Park be sure to stop into Olivella’s.  While it is not easy to find, it is certainly one you wont want to miss. After 12 months of eating pizza all over Dallas, it was refreshing to step through the doors of this small yet quaint pizza hot spot.    We have finally made it down to some of our last stops of the 2011 pizza adventure, and Olivella’s was one we had been scoping out for almost a year.  Sure we visited their other location NEO back in week 32, but we had to check out the original.
The restaurant was pretty full for a Thursday night, which was validation that Olivella’s was a local favorite.  While it was not too busy, we were seated immediately at the table for two by the front window.  I think you might be able squeeze 30 people inside the place, but it would definitely be a tight fit.  Our server was quick and before we knew it we were sipping the house red wine while enjoying the “Insalata Di Olivella” (Mixed Greens, Pear, Walnut, and Gorgonzola).  The salad was fresh and terrific much like the one we enjoyed at NEO.  With about 20 different pizza’s to choose from it didn’t take long to select the Metro size (Feeds 2-3) of 1/2 Truffle and 1/2 Pulcino E Porco (aka- The Dream).  
It was certainly not an intentional decision, however as it turned we actually ordered almost the exact pizza during our visit to NEO back in August.  The Truffle pizza came lightly drizzled with truffle oil, and was covered with mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes and mozzarella (no sauce).  The crust was a work of art and the perfect combination of thin crispy edges with a slight chewy center.  The Dream turned out to be one of my favorite thin crust pizza’s of the year.  While I am generally not a fan of “spicy” food, it was topped with jalapeƱos and surprisingly the heat wasn’t too overwhelming.  For those of you that can’t decide on one of the many pre-designed pizza, Olivella’s provides the option of over 30 toppings to match your tastebuds.  The pizza looked big when it hit the table, 2 hungry pizza lovers could easily polish off the whole pie!

Our visit was short but sweet.  The pizza cook time was lightning fast, and the tables continually stayed busy with pizza enthusiasts.  We could only imagine how packed the place gets on weekends when SMU is in session.  Overall the entire experience was terrific, the only downside we could think of was that if you had a party of 8-10 you would fill the entire restaurant.  In which case we would suggest going to NEO; although the vibe is more modern and trendy, the pizza and menu are almost exactly the same, but the restaurant is MUCH larger
Final Report: 9.0 out of 10
We could really get used to eating often at Olivella’s.  The pizza, while delicious, didn’t leave us stuffed on our journey back home.  If we lived in University Park we would probably visit daily between 2:30-5:30 when they offer a buy one Metro size, get one Metro size special!