Phoenix might be a burgeoning cherub when it comes to a restaurant rich urban core, with no notorious likes of the Philly’s cheese steak or Chicago’s hot dog to claim its own, but there is one fare it does have in profusion- top notch wood fired pizzas! From the deepest of “deep dish” to the thinnest Neapolitan, from square-cut to triangularly sliced, the pizza town knows its business well. Delving in to the meticulously mastered crust, fluffy on the inside and caramelized with a crunchy layer cheese on the bottom and sides, charred in a brick oven to imbue it with a mouthwatering smoke, and topped with dollops of delectable sauces, an assortment of scrumptious toppings and oozing with streams of cheese evoking heaven in every cheese-stringy bite, America’s inexorable love for its wood fired pizzas knows no bounds!
Explore phoenix and you’d experience an avant-garde pull, a big city that appreciates all that is hip, progressive and innovative- the same could be said for its cuisine! Recently Phoenix has seen a game changer in the pizza realm, with reverent gourmet pizza chefs and fabled bakers among the new breed of “pizzaiolo” who are seen to fret over getting the temperature of their wood fired ovens perfect as much as the ingredients! They are enriching pizzas all across the US, from soggy crusted greasy pies in cardboard boxes to glorious artisanal conceptions which are covered in cheese and charcuterie, providing an exquisite dining experience!
Not to dampen your spirits, but this inevitable part of Americana Life tumbled down not from heaven, but is the brain child of Italy. The earliest form of pizza was nothing more than crude bread, sopped up with gravy, used as a thrifty fare for the working man. Not surprisingly, pizza arrived in the States with the Italians who came to the country in the late 19th century. The rumor soon caught fire and people flocked to the street vendors to have their taste. Gennaro Lombardi, however was the only contender to open the first ever pizzeria in the USA!
While a debate about the best pizza restaurant in Phoenix might be futile, with fervent loyalists staking out their passionate affinities, there is no doubt as to who serves the best wood fired pizza is the entire country- Pizza Bianco! Dubbed as the “Macca for the pizza fanatics”, the restaurant earned a national reputation when Bianco, the “wood-fired pizza savant”, won a James Beard Award for best regional chef in 2003— the only pizza chef to snag the prestigious honor. Vogue threw it up a notch and deemed it the best wood fired pizza in the world! Located in the historic home in downtown Phoenix’s Heritage Square, Bianco is renowned for his artisanal creations, procured from the purest ingredients and organic home-made dough, out of the famed wood fired ovens!
Their pizzas feature a range of topics, all of which are sourced locally. These include fennel sausage, fresh basil, wood-roasted onions, and Pizzeria Bianco’s own mozzarella, which is created every morning in the resturatant. People laboriously travel for miles to try their buds at this pizza oasis, especially “The Rosa”, incorporating red onions, pistachios, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and a whisper of rosemary! If that didn’t tantalize your senses, nothing could!