I like pizza. Yep, I eat the stuff a bit more than I care to admit some times and I think I am a Pizzaphile. I like it all too, from the authentic Italian stuff to the fakest Tombstone in the frozen section. I just ate, and writing this post is making me want pizza. So naturally when I go somewhere new I always want to try a couple of things. One is that places version of Mexican food, and the other is a local Pizzeria.
Not so long ago I went to Austin for some business and I felt a need to try some sort of local restaurant or food place. Not really knowing the place, and not having much time, I was about to just drive to an In-N-Out Burger I had seen on Airport Blvd. when on the way I saw this sign for House Pizzeria. I had no idea what this place was but it looked small and I had never heard of it, so it seemed like a good place to visit.
As I walked into the place I noticed right off that it was a little different. This was the middle of the work week so naturally it was a bit dead and I was glad for it because the place is a bit on the small side. It's not terribly small but if it gets busy it would be. It seems they do get busy because there is also outside covered seating I noticed. Beyond that, the staff kind of gave away the sort of place this was going to be. Each was un-uniformed and bearded, and everyone who was eating there seemed to be a scruffy bearded guy. (Myself included) I walked up to the counter kind of unsure of what I was supposed to do. No one really guided me to a seat, and there were no big menu boards to look at either. Luckily enough the staff were all really helpful and showed me a menu.
This menu was pretty small admittedly. There were all the pizza staples like pepperoni, cheese, etc. and some other Italian dishes. From the start they make it known that all pizzas are 12" which is good or bad depending on who you speak to. For me that's good. As I sat down they brought me out my drink which I ordered at the counter. I ordered a rootbeer which they said was from a local brewer in town. It was really good but admittedly seemed a little flat. Perhaps they were just in between changing out that batch for a new one but whatever, it was good none the less. They also had a small bar with wines and Texas brewed beers. With my drink they also brought out these little cracker things that I didn't try at all. Maybe they were the best thing ever, or maybe they were meant for decoration, I didn't really feel like finding out.
Before the rest of the order came out I wanted to get an idea of what this place was all about. So, seeing as the staff really wasn't terribly busy, I decided to ask one of them what set them apart from other pizzerias. Basically when I go to one of these places, I want to know why I should go there instead of Pizza Hut. To all you pizza connoisseurs out there, what I just said may get your panties in a knot but as I said earlier, I like all types of pizza. When I try a new pizza place, if I leave feeling like I should have just gone to Pizza Hut or something, you have failed to do your job in my opinion.
The staff member I spoke to was happy to answer my question though and I learned that they try to keep all of their ingredients local. They also use green friendly materials where they can and generally try to promote local stuff. I support this 100% I say go local where you can so kudos to them.
Now, when I judge a pizza place I judge them on one of two pizzas. Either their pepperoni or their supreme. I feel like if you can mess up a pepperoni, I probably won't be coming back, and a supreme should show you the quality of every ingredient they are putting in any pizza. So on this occasion I ordered a simple pepperoni with extra cheese. When it came out I was not disappointed... I mean really...just look at that!
I'll just begin by saying this pizza was great. The crust was hand tossed and thin in the center like a real hand tossed pizza should be. I hate all these places claiming "hand tossed" and the pizza comes out looking perfect. I call bull shit on that, if you have never hand tossed pizza dough, you have no idea how hard it is to get it perfect. Generally the center is always pretty thin and floppy. That's the sign of a good pizza. Beyond that, look at that crust! All of those slightly singed bubbles gave a real brick oven taste to the pizza that you really can't get from big chains. That is not burnt, that is cooked to perfection!
As far as ingredients go the cheese was awesome. It was oily and gooey just like it should be, and the pepperoni was really good as well. But more importantly, how is the sauce? Well, I will say right now I am not a big sauce guy. Some people may think that's the most important part, and I'd have to agree but for a different reason. I really don't like sauce. Mainly because it burns my stomach somethin' fierce. I have come to notice there are 3 ways to make pizza sauce. Either it's a really sweet tasting sauce, a real thick tomato tasting sauce, or something in between. I like sauce to be somewhere in between but tip toeing on the side of thick tomato tasting. This sauce was perfect, it tasted great and didn't take away from the flavors of the cheese, pepperoni, and more importantly, that awesomely seared crust.
Really guys if there is one reason to get this pizza it is that perfectly seared crust... I can't stress that enough. I was not planning on eating the whole 12" pizza but that crust kind of compelled me to... I was regretting it on the long drive home but every single bite was well worth it.
Ok so what do I think about House Pizzeria? Well for one I really liked the calm atmosphere. When you walk in and see that the people behind the counter are in bluejeans and non uniform shirts, you immediately get a relaxed vibe. I like feeling like the staff is there because they want to be and not because they're trying to collect their minimum wage check on Friday.
Bottom line is, I give this place a definite 9,500 out of 10,000 awesome Pizzaphile points. The staff was great, the ingredients were delicious, the sauce was good, and the atmosphere was really relaxed. The only gripe I had is that I was really looking forward to my rootbeer since it was locally made. It was good, but I couldn't get over the slightly flat taste it had. Other than that everything was perfect and I definitely recommend House Pizzeria to anyone visiting Austin. So next time you are around Airport Blvd. in Austin Texas give this place a try! You won't regret it... unless you eat too much like I did.