New Knock-Out Pizza Place?

A former boxer is opening two new restaurants in Houston: Are you ready for knock-out hybrid pizza?

A former boxer opening two new restaurants in Houston with pizza punch

Il Mascalzone Andrea Magi
Andrea Magi is a former boxer turned restaurant owner. Courtesy photo
Il Mascalzone Andrea Magi
Behold the MaranaForni pizza oven. Courtesy photo
Il Mascalzone Washington rendering
A look at what the remodeled Solea space will look like by October.  Courtesy photo
Il Mascalzone Andrea Magi
Il Mascalzone Andrea Magi
Il Mascalzone Washington rendering

One feature of the current Houston restaurant boom is out of towners coming to the city to seek fortune from the city's seemingly limitless appetite for going out to eat. Bradley Ogden closed his restaurants in Vegas and launched two concepts near the Heights, while the expansionist Fox Restaurant Group just opened True Food Kitchen near the Galleria with plans to open an Italian restaurant and another TFK soon. 

The trend even has an international component as both Indian buffet Maharahja Bhog and recently announced Mexican seafood restaurant Peska made their stateside debuts in the Bayou City. So, where else but Houston would a former Italian boxer turned London restaurant owner decide to make his American debut?

 The restaurant's signature item is the Mascalzone, a half calzone/half pizza prepared in a special pizza oven. 

Meet Andrea Magi and his Italian restaurant Il Mascalzone. The London-based restaurant will open its first Houston location in the Westchase area next week followed by a second location off Washington in the former Solea space in October. 

“I chose Houston for Mascalzone’s first U.S. location because of its vibrant, growing international community and adventurous palates,” Magi said in a statement. “I’m excited to bring old and new favorite Italian dishes to the community and offer an experience that is 100 percent Italian and 100 percent unique.”

Diners with the aforementioned "adventurous palates" will also find that everything at Mascalzone is 100 percent Italian. The ingredients, furnishings, wines and more all come from Italy.

The restaurant's signature item is the Mascalzone, a half calzone/half pizza prepared in the restaurant's MaranaForni pizza oven, which a release promises is "not only state-of-the-art but looks straight out of NASA." 

Other popular items include octopus carpaccio, black squid ink pasta with lobster and breaded veal escalope.

If Houstonians embrace the concept, Magi plans to open three more across the area over the next 12 months. 

Il Mascalzone opens to the public August 18. It will be open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day.