One of the most anticipated restaurant openings this summer, Zoli's Pizza Tavern — the new Northeast-style pizzeria from Cane Rosso owner Jay Jerrier — is slated to open August 6. It's going in the old Bee Enchiladeria space on Davis Street.
Just as Cane Rosso has helped blaze the trail for transcendental Neapolitan-style pizza in Dallas, Zoli's seems certain to change the game for New York pizza and beyond. Ahead of the opening, the restaurant has posted its menu, which includes three versions of New York-style pizza:
"We make our own ranch dressing. It's a jalapeño ranch, and it's so good," says owner Jay Jerrier.
Traditional. Flat, thin crust. More flexible than chain pizza but more substantial than Cane Rosso's soft crust, so it can hold more toppings. Sauce is crushed San Marzano tomatoes; mozzarella is shredded, not fresh. These pies are cooked at about 650 degrees for five to seven minutes, for a crispier-bottomed crust.
Grandma. Thicker than New York but thinner than Sicilian. Baked in a rectangular pan, the bottom is crisp while the top is soft and airy. Sauce is a sweet, chunky pomodoro-style with tomatoes that have been crushed by hand. Destined to become most beloved.
Sicilian. Baked in a square pan, the Sicilian is the thickest, almost like a focaccia. It involves a four-part cooking process. The dough is baked, smeared with tomato sauce and put aside until an order comes in. That's when it's popped back into the oven for a finishing bake-off. The Grandma and the Sicilian use the same dough but undergo different proofing and stretching processes to achieve different results.
Appetizers run $5 to $8 and include fried dough strips served with marinara; zucchini fries served with marinara and jalapeño ranch; fried artichoke hearts served with marinara and jalapeño ranch; and garlic knots, a dozen for $6.
Salads come in two sizes, priced from $5 to $10, and include Caesar, Caprese, Gorgonzola and the Cane Rosso-esque Mista, with romaine, Parmesan, red onion and grape tomatoes.
Sandwiches are called heroes, including the Northeast specialty known as the "parm." That's basically a sub sandwich with melted cheese, but it includes meatball parm, eggplant parm, and "chicky chicky parm parm" with chicken. Other sandwiches include sausage and peppers; fried chicken (called chicken Milanese); and the "Big Shirley," with prosciutto, ham, hot soppressata, provolone, Parmesan, chilies, onions and arugula. They're all $12.
Desserts include tiramisu and diavoletti, which are fried strips of dough drizzled with Nutella, sea salt caramel and powdered sugar.
One thing you will note in the above menu analysis is the word "ranch." Among pizza heathens, it's a popular if objectionable practice to eat pizza with ranch dressing as a dip.
Jerrier has wisely refused to serve ranch dressing at Cane Rosso, a rule that should be supported and applauded. But at Zoli's, he's folded faster than a slice of Neapolitan-style pizza.
"We make our own. It's a jalapeño ranch, and it's so good," Jerrier says. "I would never put it on pizza, but it's really good for something like zucchini sticks. It's for all our customers who’ve begged for ranch. This is where to get it."