Driving home to Nashville from the Florida Panhandle places one in Alabama for most of the journey. Passing through the metropolises of Montgomery and Birmingham also presents the Snob with opportunities for discovering new pizza on the way. This time out, the Snob scored big in a Google search to find what would prove to be the splendid offering of Vecchia Pizzeria & Mercato located just south of Birmingham in the city of Hoover.
Following the GPS, after exiting the interstate, we journeyed for just eight minutes through some meandering roads and construction arriving at a developing small isolated community called The Preserve. There we found a tiny retail town center with a few shops, one of which was our destination.
Vecchia is both a full menu Italian restaurant and a market as well. Although they have a large dining room inside, the scheduling of a private party soon to arrive placed us outdoors on their patio. It didn’t matter since the weather was lovely and without hesitation, I ordered the large 16-inch, certified Margherita D.O.P for $16. While waiting, I took a tour and found a giant kitchen with two big brick pizza ovens in the rear.
My pie came out quickly hidden inside a standard labelled pizza box. Man, when I opened it up, I just knew immediately that this was going to be good. Looking light in color, the pie also was light to eat with a soft and delicate good and chewy dough. The blobs of fine fluffy Mozzarella were spread out a bit and a glaze of olive oil covered the cheese and the light layer of tomato sauce below. It only took a bite and a half of a slice to get to the delicious and lightly charred soft end crust. This was a pie so gentle to digest that I had no trouble whatsoever finishing it all at this single sitting. A tasty pie indeed!
After thoroughly enjoying this pizza and reflecting upon the remoteness of my location, I began to think about what a New Yorker friend of mine once said. While I get the sentiment of what he said, I can’t help but disagree with him saying “You can’t get great pizza outside of New York City.” I guess he’s never been to Hoover, Alabama.
PS – I will agree that your best bet outside of NYC is with a Neapolitan pie cooked by a chef who studied abroad to learn the classic skills. Yours truly thinks it’s time that we started teaching and certifying how to make a perfect New York style slice!
PIZZA SNOB RATING ****1/2 Nearer Perfection
Vecchia Pizzeria & Mercato
610 Preserve Pkwy Suite 100
Hoover, AL 35226
Looks awesome Mike. I wonder where Vecchia’s brick oven is from? As you know to get the dough right they need the right water (alkali). And the oven temp for the pie too. Keep those reviews coming. 😉 Be well amigo. Sub Umbra Petri