Beloved Austin pizzeria finally sets Houston opening date
One of Austin’s favorite pizzerias is finally ready to make its Houston debuts. Home Slice Pizza will officially open to the public on Wednesday, December 14.
For those unfamiliar, Home Slice is Austin’s most well regarded New York pizzeria. First opened on South Congress in 2005, the restaurant serves hand-tossed, New York and Sicilian-style pizzas made in a gas-fired deck oven. Salads, hot and cold sandwiches, and desserts round out the menu. Beverage options include soda, craft beer, and wine.
Available both as whole pies and by-the-slice, Home Slice’s pizzas have earned wide acclaim, including being named among the top pizzerias in the U.S. by both TripAdvisor and TripSavvy. Its original location is so popular that the restaurant opened a to-go only annex next door. A second full restaurant arrived in North Austin in 2018.
The road to opening in Houston hasn’t been smooth. Home Slice signed a lease for the former Sparrow Bar + Cookshop/Winbern Mess Hall space at 3701 Travis Street in January 2020 but put the project on hold when the pandemic hit. Construction on the location began in June 2021 but took longer than expected due to supply shortages and changes in design. Home Slice partner Jeff Mettler makes no apologies for taking the time to get the buildout just right.
“We took our time finding finishes and agreeing on colors,” Mettler tells CultureMap. “It was important to us to lead with our best foot forward. In 2005, we had the luxury of being an underdog in Texas where not many people knew what New York pizza is. We’re not in that position anymore. People have expectations, and we want to exceed people’s expectations.”
Plans originally called for the restaurant to seat people on two stories and offer full service. Instead, the restaurant has been oriented towards to-go with a limited amount of indoor seating and a spacious, 50-seat, covered patio that's also dog friendly.
Mettler describes the restaurant's design inspiration as “deep Brooklyn.” A wall of framed photographs shows off the houses and storefronts that inspired the look. Home Slice went to great lengths to create the right atmosphere, including pouring custom breeze blocks for the patio. A similar devotion to getting the details right applies to its food, too.
“We’re not going to compromise,” Mettler says. “We’re not going to open until our dough’s right. We’re not going to open until our staff is comfortable to not only give proper service but provide hospitality to our guests.”
That hospitality extends beyond the register. Known for its friendly service, employees check on diners after they receive their food and will assist with things like refills.
Once the staff has its sea legs, the kitchen will be able to produce as many as one pizza per minute. Mettler estimates they’ll be somewhere between one-half and one-third of that pace at opening, so expect a bit of a wait. Home Slice will begin service at 11 am Wednesday through Monday (closed Tuesdays).
Once open, diners will be able to order in person or online via the restaurant's website. A slice window will expedite pickup for those needing a bite before or after a show at The Continental Club. Third party delivery will be added in time.
As the comments on the restaurant's recent Instagram posts attest, Houstonians are ready for the restaurant's opening. The company has been quiet about its plans until now, but Mettler says that's about to change.
“We’ve kept a log of every single person’s that commented or emailed ‘when are you opening.’ Once we get comfortable, we’re going to start responding and tagging them in posts,” he says.