The Pizza Snob had all but given up on finding great pizza in Fort Worth. It seemed that there only was an pretty good Neapolitan pie at Cane Rosso and a bunch of mediocre New York slices at places named Joe something or other. But, I hadn’t been doing my homework and leave it to my good friend and pizza master Gregory Gillaspie of Nashville’s GaGa’s Grandma Pies to “steer” me in the right direction while I was in Cowtown.
After seeing my Facebook post from Fort Worth of a tasty enchilada plate I was eating, he insisted that I go visit Zoli’s Pizza and sample the works of his mentor and award-winning World Pizza Champion, Lee Hunzinger. Zoli’s is a partnership between Lee and Cane Rosso founder/owner, Jay Jerrier. Looking over my list of targets, I saw that I had noted Zoli’s Dallas location which I now see has moved up north a bit to Addison. And I found I wasn’t too far behind the times seeing that the Fort Worth location only opened in 2019.
Greg’s was one suggestion that I was not going to take lightly, and I knew that it would be something exquisite. Working around a brief illness and a busy schedule, I fit Zoli’s in on my essential Friday trip to go record-shopping in Fort Worth. My plan was to bring back home a few pies for family dinner. With the help of Mrs. Pie, we picked three different pies from the online menu and placed an order for a 6:30pm to-go pickup.
Heading down Hulen Street just past the Central Market location where we spend way too much time, I was totally gobsmacked when I saw the size of Zoli’s complex and just how mobbed they were. The large and colorful free-standing building even has an adjacent ice-cream shop and a kiddie playground in the back. Not only was the plentiful parking lot in the rear full, but the narrow city street was lined with cars and I had to park about two blocks away. As I walked toward Zoli’s, I applauded their child-friendly atmosphere and what a relief they must be to families who would instead have to suffer with Chuck E. Cheese pizza!
Stepping inside, I found the place to be rocking! The big colorful indoors and the cozy outdoors looked fully packed and there were a handful of us picking up pies to go. All that said, I think they only missed my scheduled pickup time by only one minute. I grabbed my three boxes and took the long walk back to the car where I knew I needed to sample a slice or two while things were still fresh and hot.
The three pies we ordered had the cool names of the Spangler, Dope Sopp and the Hylander. Said Spangler was the plain cheese choice of the Snob while the other two were tricked up a bit (one even had marmalade on it) and chosen by Mrs. Pie. Looking inside the box in the car brought a huge smile to my face. I knew right away that this was something special.
Sitting in the car, I ate two slices, without exaggeration, in about 30 seconds. It was absolutely delicious and prepared in a special style that I have learned to love. Neapolitan in design (i.e. a strong emphasis on the dough, thicker on the ends and thinner in the middle, and light on cheese and tomato sauce) but cooked to the crispness of a classic New York style pie. The slightly puffy handles were coated with a scattered char. Both cheese and tomato sauce were delish while the not-so-necessary basil leaves were just a scattered afterthought.
Spectacular is an understatement as to how delightful Zoli’s crust tasted. I was really lost for words to describe just how good this pie was. At home, it was as big a hit for everyone else as it was for me. The Snob even left his safe haven of “cheese-only” and tried and enjoyed the two specialty pies. When it all gets down to it, Lee and Jay have put together a formula for making one of the finest doughs I have ever had the pleasure to eat.
Zoli’s is one classy pizza. I hope that the people of Fort Worth truly appreciate just how special it is.
PIZZA SNOB RATING ***** Sets the Standard
3501 Hulen St.
Fort Worth, TX 76107