For some reason I imagined Arizona as a scene out of a John Wayne movie, complete with cowboy hats, tumbleweeds and watering holes. Isn’t Arizona considered a part of the Wild West? Aren’t there deadly scorpions lingering in your shoes and gun slingers like Doc Holiday sitting at your neighborhood bar? Apparently, things have changed a little. Today there are new modern concerns such as illegal immigration, and judging by the number of billboards… methamphetamine, oh and don’t forget, potentially poisoned drinking water.
Despite the new urban perils of the wild west, we enjoyed our trip to Arizona. The Grand Canyon, the drive down through Sedona, and all the amazing micro-brews kept us continually amazed. But, hey. Let’s get back to the important stuff. One of the best wood-oven pizza places in America just happens to be in Phoenix.
The restaurant is located right off 7th street in Heritage Square in Phoenix, Arizona. A parking lot flanks the rustic spot and a cat sauntered through the arid outdoor seating area on our way in. The restaurant is small but inviting in an Italian-Cowboyesque kind of way. The wood burning oven is located on the left and surrounded by a bar. It’s here I would imagine cowboys in their boots and spurs relaxing with a pizza after a hard day’s work… Wooden tables for parties of 4 or less are scattered neatly around the restaurants. They don’t deliver, there is no option for take out and they only take reservations for parties of 6-10. On a busy day you may have to wait 3 hours, but, for your convenience, you can wait right next door at Bar Bianco. Luckily there was no wait when we arrived for a post-flight lunch at 2pm.
This is a wood-oven pizza place, with the menu consisting of 2 small plates, 3 salad options, and 6 different pizzas. This menu has the classic “tell” of a good restaurant it’s one page, no back. We opted for the classic homemade Mozzarella Salad and Margherita Pizza with a homemade fennel sausage addition from Schreiner’s Fine Sausage. The “Sonny Boy” also looked tasty, consisting of tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, salami, and gaeta olives. Honestly… everything on the menu looked good to us. We paired our pizza with some local Arizona brews, our favorite being the Nimbus A-1 Pilsner.
It was probably one of the best executed wood-oven pizza we have ever had. The bottom was crispy all the way through and the dough was pretty fantastic. We loved the fennel sausage addition to our Margherita and would definitely come back the next time we are in town… Well as long as we don’t have to wait 3 hours that is…