When asked about transitioning from the finance world to the restaurant industry, Steven Dilley humbly explained, "I'm passionate about what I'm doing, so I feel I can make at least something passable." Lifelong food lover casts aside desk job to open a restaurant? The story may be increasingly commonplace these days, but it rarely fails to inspire. No less so in the case of the half Italian, half Taiwanese chef, who returned to Austin after a decade in NYC to embrace his passion for cooking. Three years later, and his dream has finally been realized, in the form of Bufalina, a Neapolitan-style pizzeria.
'Austin' on Serious Eats
Winfo Osteria produces Neapolitan-style pizzas and Italian meat and pasta dishes "based around something you would find in a house in Italy—dishes you would find in a home." A selection of antipasti, soups, salads, and an Italian-focused wine list complete the menu. But the massive wood-burning Forno Bravo oven is the heart of the kitchen.
Pieous has one of those inspiring origin stories that any food loving office worker loves to fantasize about. Last year, Joshua Kaner, a CPA and music attorney, finally hung up his calculator. Going with his gut, he purchased an old BBQ joint on W 290 with his wife, Paige.
A late-night food truck serving pizza on Austin's East 6th Street bar strip sounds like a perfect combination—almost like pepperoni and melted cheese. But Detroit-style pizza? Most Austinites aren't familiar with it, including me.
Bola started as a Tuesday night pizza gathering with friends, family, food writers, chefs, line cooks, and too many plus-ones to name, where Christian and his wife Jamie toyed with doughs and toppings. And the official taste-tester? Their dog Bola, the namesake. "After years of doing that every other Tuesday, people started asking me for pizza classes," Christian said.
I'm of the opinion that crust makes a pizza, but I ended up enjoying East Side Pies, even if the crust was the weakest link.
There is a restaurant in New York City called Hill Country, which is patterned after the barbecue meat markets that surround Austin, Texas. The barbecue at Hill Country is a pretty close approximation of what you can get in Texas, essentially mimicking the menu at Kreuz Market in Lockhart to the point of importing their sausages. Truth be told, it is not quite in the same league as the barbecue down in the Lone Star State, but for a homesick Texan it will offer a slice of home. Similarly, Home Slice Pizza in Austin will offer a homesick New Yorker a taste of home in the form of pizza.
A crack team of *real* pizza researchers. [Photographs: Home Slice Pizza] OK, so I'm going to reference that darn MetaFilter thread about Domino's again. Someone there said, "I felt bad when the head chef and one other person said that the Domino's hate really struck them hard. At the same time, though, I couldn't help but think... haven't they ever eaten Domino's pizza?" Exactly. I felt kinda bad for them too. We all know what it's like to work on something and then have someone shit all over it....
SLICE BY SOUTHWEST Join Slice editor & publisher Adam K. at one or both of the Slice pizza meet-ups in Austin during SXSW. Brick Oven: Thursday, March 17. 1 p.m. Thin-crust pizzas from a 100-year-old wood-fired oven. Location: 1209 Red River Road, near East 12th Street. Frank & Angie's: Friday, 1 p.m. Thin, chewy crust. Lots of topping choices. Location: 508 West Avenue, at West 5th Street. Map & ScheduleSliceXSW Map/Schedule PDFThis reporter is excited to report that he'll be seeing stars and stars in the making in the Lone Star State next week. I'm headed to Austin, Texas,...