Oh, happy day: Memorial-area Pizaro's Pizza, whose Neapolitan-style pies are arguably the best in the city, is one major step closer to opening a second location inside the Loop. Owner/pizzaiolo Bill Hutchinson has ordered a new wood-burning pizza oven from Naples, a major investment.
"It's gorgeous!" Hutchinson reports happily. Instead of the distinctive black-and-white tiling of his original oven, the new one will be all black with white stripes at the bottom, and the name "Pizaro's" spelled out in white tile. The 8000-pound monster will take three-and-a-half weeks to manufacture, and — after Hutchinson and his wife, Gloria, inspect it on site in Naples at the beginning of March — will spend another month on the water traveling to Houston.
That oven is one of the important factors that makes Pizaro's crust so spectacular, with its high crown and sooty, charry note. The wood fire gets the interior temperatures up to a fierce 900 degrees, so that it takes just a minute and a half to puff and crisp the pizza crust.
The Hutchinson family hasn't settled on a new location yet, but they're "looking really hard" inside the Loop. They hope to be up and running before the end of 2013.
"Would you consider the East End?" I teased Hutchinson, fantasizing about having Pizaro's glorious pies in quick reach of my house. "I can put it right next door to you if you can write a big check," he deadpanned. He says he's not ruling out a Clear Lake location, either, but his family's first priority is a restaurant closer to town.
Then he had to go. It was nearly dinnertime, and he was putting the final touches on the day's pizza special: duck breast that had been marinated for two days, then smoked and slow-cooked, to be joined by caramelized onions and peppers, mozzarella, and bing cherries marinated in balsamic vinegar.
Won't somebody please give this guy a great deal on a near-town space, stat?
Pizaro's Pizza Napoletana: 14028 Memorial Drive, 281-589-7277. Housrs: 11 a.m.—9 p.m. Monday—Friday; 11 a.m.—10 p.m. Saturday