Oak Cliff lucks out. Restaurateur Jay Jerrier has settled on a location for Zoli's New York Pizza Tavern, his New York-style pizzeria concept: He'll take over the space previously occupied by BEE – Best Enchiladeria Ever, which Monica Greene abruptly shut down in December.
"The space needs a little work before we can go in there," Jerrier says. "I need permits to vent the ovens and then some cosmetic work. We'll go out to the International Pizza Expo in mid-March to do some cooking demonstrations and order some ovens."
He's excited about the space – which old-timers will recall was once a Long John Silver's – and the fact that the concept will be different from Cane Rosso.
"This is a slice joint; it's not going to be super gourmet," says owner Jay Jerrier.
"This is a slice joint; it's not going to be super gourmet," he says. "It's not going to be waiter service. It’ll be, you order, sit at your table and we'll bring it out. It's small, only 1,800 square feet."
He hopes to open in May. "We gotta get the White Rock branch of Cane Rosso open first," he says.
Zoli's will serve true New York-style pizza, with crispy, thin-crust pies and square pizzas with thick-yet-airy crusts. Manning the ovens will be ex-New Yorker Lee Hunzinger, who's been helping Jerrier with recipe development.
The menu will include fried zucchini, fried eggplant and mozzarella sticks with marinara sauce, and hero sandwiches. And garlic knots.
"There were a lot of people who wanted this space, so we had the landlord over for a tasting, and that included garlic knots," Jerrier says. "Once he had the garlic knots, he said, 'Oh, I have to have those.' I think I could open a garlic-knot-only place."