Homemade dough soars from the hands of the pizza gurus at DoubleDave's Pizzaworks before it bathes in from-scratch sauce and dresses in gourmet toppings. The menu collects more than 15 toppings to shower over pies, from sliced meatball and smoked ham to crushed garlic. Specialty disk, The Works ($15.99), plays a medley of locally sourced cured meats, mushrooms, and smoked provolone cheese, and the classic veggie ($15.99) takes a stand for sustainable eating and cows' valuable roles as attentive listeners with a hailstorm of black olives, italian sweet peppers, and honey whole-wheat crust. Guests can also craft a salad from the salad bar, where 16 toppings graze freely.
Pizza Milano's kitchen team concocts flavorful casual fare, including inventive pizza pies made with New York–style pesto dough and a red-wine-based marinara sauce. In the Milano cheese sticks, a trio of cheeses infiltrates the New York–style dough, along with their allies, bacon and jalapenos, softening the ground for a coup by marinara or garlic-butter sauce ($8.99). Like rival twins, cheese-stuffed italian meatballs appear in two iterations—ensconced in a parmesan-encrusted hoagie with garlic butter and marinara ($4.99) or nestled atop a bed of pasta and immersed in sauce ($8.99). Specialty pizzas surprise stomachs with creative combinations, such as the refreshing Caribbean pizza, a circular island with flaky-crust shores and an inner terrain of fajita chicken, sweet mango, and fresh pineapple, where a conga line of red onions traipses across a three-cheese blend ($11.99–$15.49). Pizza Milano also decorates plates with pasta creations such as the chicken alfredo, which unites a four-cheese, white-wine-reduced alfredo sauce with parmesan-festooned chicken ($8.99).
Each morning, the culinary wizards at That Pizza Place make fresh batches of dough and sauce to create hand-tossed pizzas of the thin-crust and deep-dish varieties, which can be adorned with any of the more than 25 toppings. Pie lovers can create their own pizzas or choose one of the eight specialty pizzas available in small ($8), medium ($11), large ($13.60), Texas sized ($15.50), and Pangaea. Mushrooms, tomatoes, peppers, olives, and artichokes combine forces to concoct the Tree Hugger pizza, sure to impress herbivores and any people who can eat food. Bellies bored with dull meals can achieve taste-bud enlightenment with the Ring of Fire pizza, which cobbles together chicken and bacon with spicy flavors such as habanero peppers, jalapeños, and pepper-jack cheese. That Pizza Place also offers Stromboli ($7.50–$12.50), four types of calzones ($7.50), and desserts ($4–$5.50).
With parents hailing from Sicily and Naples, Anthony Russo enjoyed an Italian upbringing. By age 12, he spent much of his time in the kitchen, learning to prepare Old World recipes with his family and family friends. And from the flurry of Italian phrases and conversation, one quote of his father's stuck with him most: "If you can't make it fresh, don't serve it!" Several decades later, Anthony has hand-tossed his own Italian restaurant franchise and, true to his father's words, employs fresh ingredients in the same family recipes that were passed down to him. Amid exposed brick and walls the warm hue of marinara, skilled chefs craft New York–style brick-oven pizzas with toppings such as spinach, sundried tomatoes, and capers. Servers stand ready to answer questions about the restaurant’s wine lists, letting guests know which wines pair best with the pizzotto sandwich or whether pinot noir can really turn dogs invisible.
Since its inception in 1974, Birraporetti's has melded Italian cooking with a traditional Irish-pub atmosphere, serving hand-tossed pizzas baked in their stone oven alongside robust Irish coffee and spirits. CBS Houston highlighted its oven-fired pizzas as some of the best in the city, specifically lauding the house bianco pizza for eschewing traditional ingredients such as tomato sauce and shredded copies of the Mona Lisa. The kitchen remains open until midnight to accommodate late-night cravings, yet the chefs still rise in time to serve Sunday jazz brunches replete with made-to-order waffles, omelets, and desserts served amid live jazz performances.
Russo’s staff cooks authentic, fresh Italian fare and specialty New York–style pizzas in its family-friendly environs. A wide-ranging menu catalogs starters such as the pomodoro, flatbread bruschetta with basil and roma tomatoes ($7.95), and an array of pizzas. The margherita ($15.95 for a small; $19.95 for a large) piles fresh, unmeaty ingredients atop an edible bread discus, and the buffalo-chicken pie ($16.95 for a small; $21.95 for a large) dresses the crust in a suit made from hot sauce, ranch dressing, and mozzarella, much like the suit the president traditionally wears to White House barbecues. Neapolitan pizzas, such as the pepperoni- and sausage-dotted paisano ($13.95), come with an extrathin crust. Aspiring culinary artists can follow Picasso and Warhol’s example by creating their own masterpiece from an ingredient palette that includes feta cheese, spinach, and canadian bacon, and then eating it before the public ever sees it. Russo’s warm, welcoming interior with exposed brick and wood accents makes it an ideal spot for feasting families or groups of friends.