When it comes to pizza, few places in Houston have earned more acclaim than Pizaro’s Pizza Napoletana. Whether at its original location in the Memorial-area or at its more upscale outpost in Montrose, owner Bill Hutchinson and his son Matt serve Neapolitan-style pizza from wood-fired ovens that are imported from Italy.
While those pizzas remain popular, Matt became interested in offering customers an alternative that would hold up to more toppings and offer a thicker crust. He began to study Detroit-style pizza, which is a variation on Sicilian “grandma-style” deep-dish pizza that’s cooked in rectangular pans with a slightly burned layer of cheddar cheese along the crust and sauce that’s added after baking. The cheese along the crust gives the pizzas the same salty tang that makes parmesan crisps so addictive.
After months of testing, Pizaro’s began serving the Detroit-style pies this week. Matt Hutchinson tells CultureMap that they seemed like a reasonable amount of "poetic license" for a restaurant that's known for its authentic, Neapolitan-style pizzas.
“I’d first seen it at the pizza competitions at the Pizza Expo. I was just instantly intrigued by it. It was so different and so wild,” Hutchinson says. “We had toyed with the idea of doing Sicilian or the grandma-style, but once we came across this we thought it was so new and so different and something no one was really doing in town.”
For now, Pizaro’s is offering five Detroit-style pies with various toppings, as well as a build-your-own option. Prices run from $13 to $16 for a small (8 by 10-inches) and $22 to $28 for a large (14 by 9-inches). So far, Hutchinson says the reaction has been positive.
“Either people recognize it from Detroit and love it because it takes them back or people have never seen it and don’t know what it is,” Hutchinson says. “They’re blown away by the crust.”
The new pizzas are more than just an addition to the Montrose location. They’re paving the way for an eventual third location that will serve both Detroit and New York-style pizzas, but don’t expect it to open soon.
“We’re moving forward but slowly . . . We’re still engaged, we’re actively looking, but we’re not on any kind of a time table,” Hutchinson says. “The way we approach all of our locations is we move when the time is right and we feel that things are right. We’re looking. We haven’t fallen in love with anything.”