It's a sad, sad day for pizza connoisseurs in Oak Cliff and across the city of Dallas, really: Zoli's NY Pizza Tavern will close on February 14. According to owner Jay Jerrier, Valentine's Day will be "the last day for our beloved Zoli's in its current form."
"The building is in dire need of massive and very expensive repairs, and we want to get out of there before the place becomes uninhabitable and collapses on itself like Poltergeist," he says.
Zoli's opened in 2013 as an idea fairly unique to Dallas: a classic New York-style pizzeria, including pizza by the slice. It highlighted underground pizza sub-genres such as the storied "Grandma" with a thick crust, and the Sicilian, an even thicker-crusted pizza with a light airy crumb.
Other innovative menu items by chef Lee Hunzinger included zucchini fries, garlic knots, its zeppole dessert, and its infamous "meatzilla" pizzas, like thick pizza sandwiches filled with meats.
Zoli's closure was inevitable given the impending Oak Cliff Gateway project, which will include the construction of a $57 million residential and retail development including 209 apartments and 25,200 square feet of restaurant and retail space at the northwest and southeast corners of Zang Boulevard and West Davis Street.
Jerrier originally anticipated staying open for another few months until the location's disrepair became more urgent.
"There are all kinds of tree roots causing foundation problems that would just be too much work and expense to repair," he says. "So we are going to leave on a high like George Costanza in Seinfeld."
Jerrier says that the staff will be redeployed to other restaurants in his empire or placed "with our other restaurant pals." Zoli's will reemerge, he adds, with a beefed-up mission and in a new location, probably in North Dallas.
"We're going to transition it to a sit-down pizzeria with a lot of East Coast red sauce plated dishes, pastas, sandwiches, and a full bar," Jerrier says. "Zoli's will for sure return."