Opens Thursday

City Oven opens on White Oak with food and drink for an evolving corner of the Heights

City Oven replaces D'Amico's in the Heights

City Oven vegetable pizza
Roasted Garlic & Spinach Pizza with Moose Drool Brown Ale Photo by Tyler Rudick
City Oven sign
City Oven replaces D'Amico's with a new casual, late-night approach to the thriving White Oak party corridor. Photo by Tyler Rudick
City Oven meat pizza
Assisant culinary manager Pablo Gomez poses with a freshly-made City Oven Meat Pie. Photo by Tyler Rudick
City Oven couch area
Photo by Tyler Rudick
City Oven texas chipotle
Chipotle Texas Meatball with Smashed Potato . . . complete with Texas toast Photo by Tyler Rudick
City Oven Italian meatball
City Oven Meatball stuffed with mozzaerlla and topped with San Marzano tomato sauce Photo by Tyler Rudick
City Oven seating
Photo by Tyler Rudick
City Oven vegetable pizza
City Oven sign
City Oven meat pizza
City Oven couch area
City Oven texas chipotle
City Oven Italian meatball
City Oven seating

Only two short months after D'Amico's closed its Heights location on White Oak, investors in the family-friendly Italian cafe have revamped the space for a new restaurant concept better suited the area's influx of young weekend revelers.

Opening Thursday, City Oven strikes a balance for the changing neighborhood, offering casual comfort food that works for families seeking an early dinner as well as those looking for fuel along the strip's late-night bar scene.

CultureMap enjoyed a recent tasting of the new menu — a selection of updated tavern fare (fried egg BLT with serrano aioli, anyone?) alongside pizzas, hot wings and hearty salads.

City Oven may also be the first Houston restaurant to serve up so-called Giant Meatballs, these baseball-sized spheres of ground beef served in a cast iron skillet with a starchy side. Diners can choose from four versions, although we'd have to recommend the rather amazing Chipotle Texas Meatball, which comes with a smashed baked potato.

From the wood-fired oven, we tried the Thai Dye pizza with curried chicken and chili paste as well as a Buffalo Chicken-themed variety. While both pizzas hit the spot, the simple Roasted Garlic and Spinach pie was, personally, the standout winner of the tasting session . . . especially when paired with a Moose Drool Brown Ale, one of the ten or so craft brews the restaurant's bar will rotate on a regular basis.

Owned by the HUSA group of Sherlock's and Local Pour fame, City Oven officially opens its doors at 2802 White Oak at 4 p.m. on Thursday. Be sure to stop by the restaurant's Facebook page, where every "like" means one dollar donated to the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art throughout September.