For pizza, Tucson has found its place on the map. Without taking anything away from Scordato’s Pizzeria (our favorite) and the many other fine pizza sources in my home town, Pizzeria Bianco opened on Thursday, July 24 on Congress St., downtown. As it happens, I was enjoying a fine, fine meal at Brix in Flagstaff on Thursday—no pics, as I remembered to take them as the table was being cleared—and I don’t do lines, anyway! And lines there were at PB. So I missed the opening.
Chris Bianco’s pizzas are pretty amazing and definitely worth a try. Nancy Silverton, founder of La Brea Bakery, 2014 James Beard Outstanding Chef, and co-owner of the Pizzeria Mozza chain—a great pizzeria, too—writes, in The Mozza Cookbook:
If there was any pizza that I did aspire to, it was a pie made by Chris Bianco, whose Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix, AZ is a mecca for the pizza obsessed. When I took a bite of Chris’ pizza, I was speechless. Eating it turned out to be a life altering experience.
Now, Ms. J and I ate PB pizza maybe two-plus years ago. Life altering? No. Exceptional—the term was actually “pretty amazing”—pizzas, very good salads, great service, etc.? Yes. So go downtown and try the place, for sure. Go early or be relaxed about the enterprise, for you will wait. It’s a wait that’s worth it, but it’s a wait! (I’ll get there, after the buzz dies down.)
In the meantime, some of us know how to take care of ourselves. Here, in honor of our newest pizzeria, are my take-offs on three PB specials: Margherita (Sauce, Fresh Mozzarella, and Basil); Rosa (Red Onion, Parmigiano Regguiano, Rosemary, and Pistachios); and Wiseguy (Roasted Onions, Smoked Mozzarella, and Fennel Sausage). (I made the Wiseguy with sauce, even though the menu dos not mention it.) None come close to the real deal, but the effort was fun, and I’ll report in on the outcome.
Yes, I know my Rosa does not look like a pizza, or like it looked just prior to going on the Baking Steel in the oven. Ingredients did not stick, and after two attempts, I went into “deal with it” mode and made a very flat calzone.
P.S. Pals Paul W. and Philip R. pined for pizza pics; picks present; post-pining!
P.P.S. Lest anyone think the opening of a pizza parlor does not warrant so much hubbub, rest assured that there are stories all over the Internet about this new place. Might Tucson turn into a foodie mecca? (Here’s a link to Chris Bianco Talks Pizza, His New Restaurant in Tucson, and Beyond by Lance Roberts for Slice at SeriousEats.com.)