A distinctive and retro building in Oak Cliff that was once a Magnolia / Mobil gas station will soon be home to the highest purpose of all: pizza.
Called Cenzo's Pizza & Deli, it's from chef Chad Dolezal and partner Vinnie Sherman, who plan to transform one of the area's sweetest historic buildings into a family-friendly neighborhood pizzeria and deli.
Located at 1700 W. 10th St., the building was most recently home to a combination taqueria-laundromat, but dates to 1930 when it was first built as a old Magnolia service station. It's even listed on the Texas Historical Commission website, as being an eligible candidate for the National Register of Historic Places.
The building embodies the Tudor Revival style, which first came into fashion in the U.S. in the late 1800s, peaked in the 1920's and 30's, then fizzled out in 1945, according to The Spruce, who characterize it as combining Renaissance and Gothic design elements with signature details such as half-timbering, steeply pitched roofs, and asymmetrical design.
Dolezal and Sherman have spent the past 18 months working with the city and neighbors to pave the way for the pizzeria to happen.
"This building is right down from my house, I've looked at it for years, and Vinnie was born and raised three blocks away - we both have deep roots in the neighborhood and love the building," Dolezal says.
The idea for Cenzo's - pronounced "chin-zo’s" and named for Sherman's grandfather - was hatched during the pandemic.
"It was borne out of COVID-19, when we sat in our front yard daily and watched the kids run around," he says. "I vowed that, when things opened back up, I'd do a place where you could be inside or outside, and make it be neighborhood-driven vs chef-driven."
They're still a ways off from opening, probably not until early 2023, but they already know certain things including the fact that they'll do two kinds of pizza: NY-style and good old deep dish.
"With pizza, people understand it before they even look at a menu," he says. "But we're also adding a deli, in the old-school sense with cheeses and meats and good sandwiches - classics like an Italian deli sandwich, a meatball sub, and what I think will probably be our signature, a fried mortadella sandwich."
There'll be a video game room and an outdoor component that touches on needs that are both modern and nostalgic.
"There needs to be a good amount of space for kids to run around, especially after COVID, being stuck inside," he says. "But I also want something that feels warm and welcoming, that I remember from being a kid, with cokes and beers in pitchers, and the parents being able to hang out, but also to be able to go down the street on the weekend and grab a good sandwich, as well."