Though some Houstonians may be quick to brush off any Dallas interlopers, it's a pretty good bet that they'll be outweighed this evening by those curious to check out the newest import from the Metroplex: Cane Rosso, the long-awaited Neapolitan-style pizza joint that is finally opening tonight at 5 p.m.
The newly built-out spot at 1835 N. Shepherd Dr. is the first outside of the DFW area, and Cane Rosso is abundantly self-aware of their status as the new kid on the block in more ways than one. (Also in the immediate vicinity: Southern Goods, Bernadine's, Hunky Dory, Ka Sushi, Hugs & Donuts, Fat Cat Creamery, all of which have drawn rave reviews since their own openings across the last year or so.)
To wit: a press release that went out today notifying folks of Cane Rosso's impending opening that contained the self-effacing proclamation, "yes, we're from Dallas, but that doesn't mean that our pizzas aren't any good. It just means we've been practicing for Houston for 5 years." Easy, y'all; you've got a lot of pizza awards under your pizza belt, so no need to be too coy about it.
In other words, don't expect a North Texas vibe here in the same way that every Creek concept tries to capture a Hill Country aesthetic in every successive project. At the Houston location of Cane Rosso, you'll find both Houston-inspired pizzas (the Joan Marie, exclusive to Houston, topped with pepperoni, goat cheese and jalapeño pesto in addition to the standard mozzarella and San Marzano tomatoes) and a tap wall of Bayou City beers. And in the charity-minded spirit of Houston itself, Cane Rosso will continue to allocate a portion of its proceeds to Cane Rosso Rescue, a 501(c)3 non-profit founded by pizzeria owner Jay Jerrier that has placed 100 abandoned dogs in new homes since its inception in 2014.
As with other Neapolitan-style pizza places, expect thin-crust pizzas made from fresh dough, using fancy Italian flour, and fired in an even fancier Italian oven—this one custom-built for Cane Rosso—that bakes the pizzas in 90 seconds at temperatures nearing 900 degrees. The menu isn't limited to pies, however; the restaurant is also offering everything from pastas, sandwiches, salads and desserts to wine and cocktails.
While it's too soon to tell if the Dallas cult favorite will find a following here too, one thing is certain: Another Cane Rosso is already in the works, this one near the University of St. Thomas at 4306 Yoakum Blvd. Look for that Cane Rosso to open later this year, and long lines tonight for Cane Rosso's famous pies in the Heights.