Nyda Freire & Erik Hutson, the owners of my favorite neighborhood bar, Faculty Lounge, are opening a new pizza joint right across the street. Renzo Pizzeria + Wine Bar will serve wood-fired pizzas, Italian cuisine, and affordable wine from small producers. I was lucky enough to preview some of Renzo’s signature pies at a pizza party at Faculty Lounge and they didn’t disappoint.
The first pizza to come out, which also happened to be my favorite of the night, was the Detroit-style pizza. Detroit-style pizza may have you asking “where’s the cheese?” at first glance, but when you take a bite you realize it’s tucked beneath a rich, slightly sweet, tomato sauce. This pizza is cooked in a deep steel pan, which ensures the edges are super crispy and have a slightly nutty flavor from the caramelization. When you take a bite, you get the crunch of the crust first, followed by a velvety tomato sauce, and then you get a pop of fresh herbs and garlic at the end. If you need me, I will be breathing heavily at the window of Renzo until they open so I can get my hands on this pie.
After the heavy hitting Detroit-style pizza, we were treated to lighter, thin crust, Neopolitan-style pizzas with unique toppings. The first was the classic Margherita pizza, simply topped with mozzarella, a light tomato sauce, and fresh basil. Compared to the other pizzas, this one fell a little flat when the cheese and toppings fell off when I tried to pick it up.
The second Neopolitan pizza was the “Shabazi,” which was adorned with tomato, lamb, parsley, and shug (a Middle-Eastern hot sauce). The spiciness of the shug cut through the gaminess of the lamb, and the parsley added a pop of freshness. The flavor combinations going on in this pizza were more sophisticated than you normally find in a pizza, so I was pleasantly surprised. I don’t go out of my way to eat pizza, so when I do, I appreciate if there’s a unique topping or technique being used.
The most unique pizza of all, however, was not even listed on the menu. I heard people around me talking about a dehydrated shrimp and pepperoni pizza, and I was on a quest to get a slice. Although it sounds like a weird combination, just imagine the best flavors of ramen (fish sauce, dehydrated shrimp) combined with salty and slightly greasy pepperoni, and the result is ramen, just on a different vehicle.
Renzo teased us with these delicious offerings at their pizza party pop up, so I’m stoked for them to open. If your taste buds are tired of regular ol’ pizza, this will be the place to go for creative and seasonal toppings. Follow them on Instagram to see some more pizza teasers/ find out about the grand opening.