One of the most popular restaurant types in The Woodlands - and possibly even southeast Texas - is Tex-Mex, and we're not talking Taco Bell here or even La Bikina which is more authentic Mexican food. Trailing ever so slightly yet gaining momentum is the Pizza restaurant; another high profit restaurant business that remains a mainstay celebratory dinners and food delivery fanatics. With at least a dozen pizza restaurant competitors, not including a plethora of pizza delivery options, Zazza Pizza Cafe has their work cut out (or should we say sliced) for them.
This was our second visit to Via Emilia in The Woodlands; the (Northern) Italian restaurant has undergone a complete transformation as well as more than doubled in size since the last time we were here. The service is prompt, informed, courteous, and on the spot. No longer are the servers hiding away - the managers are on the floor, the environment is inviting and the aroma is intoxicating. And we had only just arrived. We had reservations "but we went anyway" as I like to jokingly say. And as it turned out, making reservations was a good thing, even with the additional seating and larger bar, the restaurant was seated near capacity when we left; not bad for a Saturday night.
Restaurant Row @ Hughe's Landing has nearly a dozen prime locations for eateries and with the exception of Starbucks, Local Pour was the first to open in the brand new dining district of The Woodlands. California Pizza Kitchen (cpk.com) is a work in progress and is expected to open in time for July fourth celebrations and many residents are quite excited. We recently sampled a previously frozen CPK pizza from a local grocer and even though we should have let it cook a bit longer, we enjoyed it almost completely. Based on our impromptu tasting, a properly cooked CPK pizza would have a light, yet fluffy while being crisp, crust. The toppings, sauce, and cheeses were flavorful and we look forward to trying a fresh baked version this summer!
When we first decided to start reviewing Woodlands area restaurants, it was because we had just completed a meal at what was yet another disappointing attempt to find the perfect pizza. The evening did not go very well at all, in fact we were still talking about it days later. But because it had been several weeks from the time we ate there, we decided to start taking notes going forward and report from time to time what we liked and didn't like; to give a "person on the street" opinion and let our readers decide what to do with it. Little did we know it would take over a year - and a lot of bad pizza - to finally see the light at the end of the pizza oven. We found it, Chicago Style, Thin Crust Pizza.
Those of you familiar with the flagship location of Crust Pizza in Panther Creek may or may not be aware of their second location in the Village of Alden Bridge. The Alden Bridge Store is at the west end of the Alden Bridge Shopping Center, on the corner which faces Research Forest Drive and Alden Bridge Drive. There is another pizza (national chain) vendor located in the eastern end of the same retail center, but we aren't talking about... his pizza. In fact, we weren't actually there for the pizza at all. We've sampled the pies from Crust Pizza many times before and as hard as it was to resist the urge, we did just that. This location has been open for a couple of months or more and we went in for something off the sandwich side of the menu.
RC Gallegos, best known in these parts for his first RC's Pizza & Pasta out in Kingwood, has finally opened up his new location, RC's NYC Pizza & Pasta on Sawdust Road - having gutted and remodeled what was Steel City Pizza. We sat down with RC on this, the night before his official opening, to sample some of his award winning pizzas and welcome him to the neighborhood. One of the first things RC will tell you about his pizzas is that they are New York, Street pizza. Which is good to know; because anyone that loves a good pizza (and who doesn't?) and has tried a lot of them, knows that there are many different styles.
Want really good Italian? Want fresh, simple, authentic Italian? Want to dine somewhere that when you're there, you're family? It's not where they say it is on TV, it's actually just across the road from all those chains. That's right, it's Pallotta's. Pallotta's (pronounced Pah-low-tahs) Italian Grill has been a mainstay in the Wood Ridge Shopping Center in Oak Ridge North for the past 14 years. We were recently invited to come by and sample their innovative new Lighter Fare – Weight Watcher's Friendly menu and find out how this mainstay can both stay cutting edge, and cater to the long-time followers.First, a little history lesson: Well-known restaurateur George Pallotta opened Pallotta's Italian Grill in 1994. Many of the dishes on the menu are lovingly named after his children, as well as some of those long-time weekly diners.
Riding the success of the Italian eatery, Mr. Pallotta branched out and opened the Black Walnut Café's; themselves successful in their own right. Looking to the next big adventure, he sold Black Walnut Café to Hubbell & Hudson and invested with a new partner to create Pallotta's Mexican Grill in Imperial Oaks in Spring. As for the place that started it all, the transition there was an easy one; about two years ago he sold Pallotta's Italian Grill to then-manager Phil Nicosia, who has been at the restaurant for eleven years now.
As I have told many in the past, the best pizza I have ever eaten was in Washington State of all places. Mario's Pizza offered their version of... what was it... either New York Style or maybe it was Chicago Style pizza. In either case, it was (1983) one of the best pizzas I have ever sampled. That being said, Washington State is way to far and who knows if they are even in business any more to get another slice of that fantastic crusted delicacy. So jumping forward, here's The Pizza Scene in The Woodlands Texas; we are always on the lookout for great pizza.