For whatever reason, 10 years ago the wife and I decided to start eating pizza every night for dinner between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. We obviously like pizza.
Five epic nights of pizza it is!
Over the last 10 years, Weeks-a-pizza has evolved from us just being lazy and not wanting to cook for a week to a gathering of friends and family to enjoy the pinnacle of culinary achievements, the pizza.
Little known fact is that I felt that the name of the week-long holiday would be stylized as Weekzapizza . You know, za and za, get it?
Before getting to some reviews of Austin’s finest pizza places (our first Weeks-a-pizza in Austin, Texas, mind you) let’s address a few of the frequently asked questions. These questions get asked every year, usually by the staff at whatever pizza joint we’re at when the wife mentions what we’re doing to them.
Frequently Asked Questions
Don’t you get sick of pizza?
No. Next question.
That sounds expensive.
First off, not a question. Secondly, I’ve realized that a lot of people eat out nearly every night of the week. As a family that doesn’t eat out that often, it’s not much of a monetary burden.
That’s a lot of carbs.
Also not a question. Maybe it is a lot of carbs, I don’t fucking know and I don’t really care. We don’t each eat a whole pizza, so we’re most likely only consuming acceptable quantities.
Why didn’t you go to insert your favorite pizza joint?
We go where we want to go. Emphasis on “we”. We go to places we’ve never been before and we go to places that are convenient for our friends that want to partake in the holiday. There tends to be more than 5 pizza places in an area so we hit what we hit.
Maybe you could adopt your our pizza tradition and stop pestering us to eat at your favorite places.
Thus concludes the FAQ portion of this post. If you aren’t in the Austin, Texas area this next section may not interest you as it’s a review of where we ate this year. I won’t be mad at cha if you bail at this point.
A note about the Overall Score. After each pizza, we go around and on a scale of 1 to 5 rate the pizza. Sure, sometimes things other than the pizza factor in, sometimes not. It’s completely subjective at the time of the poll.
On the nights we had friends with us, they rated the pizza as well, so anywhere from 3 to 8 people in the mix.
Night 1: Southside Flying Pizza
We ended up going to the Congress location and were pleasantly surprised that there was ample parking out front of the place. They weren’t very busy but hey, it was a Monday night. Staff were friendly and they were playing The Cure when we walked in, what’s not to like?
The atmosphere was very much that of a pizza joint. Walls covered with Austin art, tables covered with more Austin. Very Austin, right down to the beer and wine selection which were mostly local.
Overall the location was fairly clean but I did notice that there was a tomato hiding under a table from somebody’s salad. The wife also claims that the first plates she grabbed were greasy. Fortunately there were more plates to be procured!
Southside is a seat yourself, counter service type of place. We ordered a medium meatball pizza and a Caesar salad at 6:43 PM. Salad came out quick and we really dug their house made Caesar dressing and the croutons.
Pizza came out hot and the meatballs they used were pretty good. Seemed like a blend of meat, perhaps lamb or pork instead of just straight ground beef.
Crust could have had more snap, but it had decent chew and wasn’t burnt. Touch soggy in the middle though. Sauce had fresh basil and the topping to cheese ratio was balanced.
Time for Pizza: 27 minutes
Overall Score: 4 out of 5
Night 2: Quattro Gatti Ristorante e Pizzeria
Second night the wife decided that we were going to Home Slice Pizza. She called to see if they were open and they said they were. Nobody mentioned that only More Home Slice was open. We wanted to sit down and eat and upon realizing we wouldn’t be able to do that, we had to bail.
Home Slice Pizza gets a big fat zero.
Since it was pretty close, we decided to hop back in the car and head over to Quattro Gatti. The drive down Congress was pretty great with the Christmas lights going and the Capital all lit up. Our friends from next door beat us there and got us a table.
This place was more of a sit down Italian restaurant than a pizza joint. Reminded me a lot of Bavaro’s in Tampa. The location had a really cool full liquor bar, a huge wine selection but only a small sampling of beer, mostly imports.
Ordering was a bit haphazard as initially we had a waitress, then I guess the manager took over our table. We ordered drinks first and they came out very speedy. I was a bit surprised that those of us that ordered beers weren’t offered a glass. Seemed like too nice of a place to be drinking beer from a bottle in.
We sat for about 25 minutes before ordering food. Ended up ordering some bruschetta and a couple of pies, the Amatrice and the Lasagna. With it being a restaurant in downtown, the pizzas were on the pricey side considering they were only 12” pies.
The pizzas came out hot and smelled delicious. Bit more confusion with the table, was like it was too small for being a 5 or 6 top.
Okay chew on the crust, but it was a little bit too charred, very tasty though. Not greasy or soggy and the sauce was on the sweeter side which wasn’t for everybody. Speaking of sauce, the wife asked for a side of marinara to dip and it came out ice cold.
Near the end of our meal, I assume it was the owner, came over to see how things were going. He told us a bit about the dough they make, which is lower in gluten and doesn’t leave you feeling as full and sluggish.
He also said that a good pizza should you wanting to eat more pizza when you are done. If he wasn’t the owner, he was definitely a pizza Zen master.
Block out at least a couple of hours when coming here. Nobody’s going to rush you and as long as you aren’t in a hurry, it’s easy to just chill and enjoy the place. Also, be sure to check out the painted tiles in the men’s room. It’s of a woman on the can. Pooping? peeing? who knows.
Time for Pizza: 25 minutes
Overall Score: 4 out of 5
Night 3: Via 313
Wednesday night was supposed to be epic because I had convinced the wife that we should check out Hoeks Death Metal Pizza. Also ended up with some of my Sumo Fam and some of their significant others with us too. Good crew to enjoy some pizza with on this holiest of holidays, nothing could go wrong!
Except that Hoeks wasn’t open. They are supposed to open at 7 PM and we walked by around 7:30 PM. ZERO OF FIVE STARS.
Fortunately, the Via 313 trailer is just down the road on 6th, and most of us in the group already dig their pies. We split off from the group since the wife was parked down closer to Hoeks. When we arrived, everybody had already ordered.
We ordered an Original Pepperoni and somehow it came out not only in record time, but only a minute or two after the rest of the table. Pizza was hot and delicious, as it always is when we get Via 313.
It was also the first time that a few of our friends had ever had Via 313. They rated it a 4.25 out of 5. We still like them though ;)
Time for Pizza: 10 minutes
Overall Score: 4.64 out of 5
Night 4: Cane Rosso
At this point, we were pretty dejected. Three days of Weeks-a-pizza down, and we had already been to 5 places. The last 2 days being back to back flops on our initial pizza pick. I had even muttered the words “I’m not sure I want to do this next year”. Things were looking quite grim.
So we go to Cane Rosso which is more in our neck of the woods. It was after Sumo Happy Hour and traffic was looking shitty so I opted to meet the wife and kiddo there instead of coming home first and riding out together.
We had a reservation and when we arrived we were promptly seated and had waters in hand within a minute. Our waiter was John. He gets an honorable mention as he was not only the best waiter we had all week, but I’m pretty sure he’s been the best waiter I’ve had in Austin, period.
Anyway, the place was pretty packed, but with good reason. The temperature had dipped that day and the outside seating was pretty empty. The outdoor area had some plastic walls up, but I don’t think they were running any heaters as it was still pretty chilly out there.
Decor was very clean and modern but with some Austin flare by way of some electric art on the walls. Right out of the gate, John told us about the pizza and made some off menu recommendations.
He mentioned they had a pie with Valentina’s brisket on it, something I have been hearing about but couldn’t remember the name of the place. Everything was falling into place on Night 4.
First up, the kiddo wanted some fried calamari (her favorite). It was delivered hot within 10 minutes of ordering it. Even though it wasn’t pizza, the kiddo gave it two thumbs up. The wife and I felt it was a bit on the chewy side. The breading and fried red and green peppers made up for it. All very well seasoned.
We ended up ordering the Prosciutto e Rucola and the Honey Bastard pie which was off menu. Unfortunately, we did have a bit of a wait before we got our pies, longer than any other place this week. As mentioned, it was pretty packed and even with the delay our waiter was very attentive.
It ended up being well worth the wait. Pizzas were both cooked perfectly, great char (not burnt) and gret chew. Incidentally, both pizzas lacked marinara and I believe they had an olive oil base. The crust was also consistent on both pies.
The Honey Bastard not only had Valentina’s brisket but was also drizzled with spicy honey. May have also been splashed with unicorn tears or something as well, it was divine.
Time for Pizza: 50 minutes
Overall Score: 5 out of 5
The Honey Bastard
Prosciutto e Rucola
Night 5: Mangieri’s Pizza Café
Usually by the last night of Weeks-a-pizza we hit someplace that we already know is a solid pick. No surprises and rarely any disappointment with this approach. This year we went to Mangieri’s which is our go to pizza place since moving to Austin. It’s near our house, the pizza is great and we’ve had consistently decent experiences there.
We were promptly seated, even with it being a Friday night. I was expecting it to be packed. Guess a lot of folks are still out of town for the holidays, who knows.
Waiter was friendly but didn’t really seem like he wanted to be there. He did coin the term “Pizza Hanukkah” regarding our Weeks-a-pizza tradition. He did seem like he was judging us hard about it though. In my experience, when somebody makes it a point to say they aren’t judging you, they probably are.
Starting off with the Capo which was a meat-a-palooza of a pizza pie. We weren’t too sure if we were going to be able to eat two pies, so ended up with that to start.
Then after destroying it, we ended up with their pizza of the week which had chicken, mushrooms and Alfredo sauce. Both arrived at the table hot and fresh and incidentally BOTH showed up in the same amount of time.
The second pizza did end up being brought out another by another server. She was also the one that brought me a second drink, with a smile. As mentioned, our waiter wasn’t very enthusiastic and on at least one occasion he seemed like he was being condescending towards the wife.
He also didn’t bother asking if we wanted any dessert before dropping the check. The place was still accepting patrons and there were open tables, so it’s not like we needed to be rushed out the door or anything.
Fortunately, the pizza was solid, consistent with our previous experiences at Mangieri’s. The Capo was my favorite first bite of the week. Consistent crust on both pies, good chew and taste. The mushrooms were also fresh. It always sucks to run into canned mushrooms when you were expecting something decent.
Of all the times we had been to Mangieri’s, I never realized that they have a very cool bar hiding in the back. It’s a full liquor place (try the Whiskey Drink!) with a good selection of beer and wine, but I had no idea they had a nice bar to hang at too!
Time for Pizza: 11 minutes
Overall Score: 4.5 out of 5
Pizza of the Week
Best of the Best
I was planning on doing a bunch of different categories and picking our favorites from all of those places. The wife even seemed keen on redoing the ratings after the fact so we could compare the pies against each other.
I tell ya, after eating pizza for 5 nights, taking extensive notes every mean and then writing over 2,000 words about pizza joints in Austin, I’m kinda over it!
That said, even with the long ass wait at Cane Rosso, the service was absolutely amazing and the Honey Bastard was easily one of the best pizzas I’ve ever had in my life. I’m hoping that they are able to provide a consistent experience the next time we go.
If I end up blogging about Weeks-a-pizza next year, definitely going to break the reviews up into separate posts.
Until next time :)