Thursday, July 31, 2008

Four Spots, One Slice: Looking for the Best Pizza in Austin, TX

I love pizza, as do most people and we all have our favorites, but there are definite standards by which to judge a slice that we can all agree on. Hot delicious crust thin/thick, flavorful sauce, and fresh toppings are the basic necessities. These along with service and atmosphere were my ruler as I delved into the world of Austin Texas Pizza. As of now, I still haven't found the perfect slice in Austin but I have found some solid pies.

1. Home Slice

When I first arrived in Austin the almost ubiquitous answer to my "Where is the best pizza?" query was "Homeslice, it's awesome." Even people I didn't know at bus stops informed of the great Homeslice. So, I visited this hallowed pizzeria first. Homeslice is comfortably located in the commercial area of southern Congress amidst shopping and bars. Inside it's punk which, in my experience, is a strong indication of good pizza. I either want to see a mohawked figure or a serious Italian throwing dough and Homeslice employs. The pizza was tasty. The sauce is light and tangy but the crust is unadorned, uninteresting. I had a Margherita pizza with sauce on the side and was delighted with the generous amount of fresh basil on the pie but what most impressed me about Homeslice was the service. Our server, a gentleman with a mohawk and lovely tattoos, pulled and replaced our silverware with every course, offered us freshly ground pepper, and a first for me: repeatedly poured our pitcher of Lonestar as if it was a bottle of wine. So I do recommend Homeslice, as long as servers like him are still there.

2. The Parlor

Some people think avocado has no business being on pizza and their unfortunate view will forever leave them wanting. The smooth and oily avocado, a perfect foil for spicy jalapenos, raw garlic, fresh basil, bacon, tomatoes, and pineapples, is a sensuous topping that I highly recommend for these hot summer days. The Parlor situated in the Hyde Park area is my favorite place to enjoy said topping and listen to Reagan Youth, Fear, or the as this is another punk pizza place. The parlor has a very sought after patio but the inside is fun too, hosting a variety of arcade games you thought you'd never see again. Alas, the crust is not interesting. The service is sweet and casual. The pitchers are generally cold, try it out.

3. East Side Pies

I went to this tiny pizza shop once after a show at the adjoining record store Trailer Space and had a delicious thin, greasy, slice of pepperoni. My mouth waters just thinking about it and how much it reminded me of NYC pizza. Since then I've been back and repeatedly disappointed by burnt spinach and raw garlic. Bland pies aside, I still think about that first slice. Oh who was in the kitchen that night and where have they gone?

4. Frank and Angies

What I liked about Frank and Angie's right away is the location. It's downtown on West avenue and easily accessible by many forms of traffic. This is a family style Italian diner owned by the same people who on Hut's hamburgers. Frank and Angies has spagetti and meatball specials and the restaurant is decked out in kitchy Italian memorabilia. The wait staff was young and personable but on to the pies; most self aware pizza I've had in Austin. The pie seemed just as purposefully Italian-American as the decorations on the wall. How? The pies are small and hand thrown with lobed uneven edges. Purposefully thin sauce applications and a heavy hand with cheese reminded me of mom and pop pizzerias back in Ohio where garlic is scarce and grated parmesan is unloaded by the pound. Cute place, worth a visit.


Vitorio said...

I'm a fan of the recently opened Hoboken Pie at 8th and Red River, of Slices and Ices at Dean Keeton and Guadalupe, and (heresy!) of Whole Food's pizza.