Back in the day, if my parents ordered Pizza Hut, I had to convince myself it was okay to have subpar pizza. Face it: When you're growing up in a part of the country known for its prowess with greasy thin crust, eating the saline-saturated cheesy mush bread at the Hut felt like a slap in the face. But I was a kid. I moved on and ate happily.
As an adult, however, I don't like settling for mediocrity. Luckily Houston has the kind of pie I loved as a kid, and the rest of the pizza game is solid. Newcomers are showing off, too. There's a lot to like here.
One of the newcomers is Southside Flying Pizza from Austin. They're in the East End, serving up larger-than-normal slices (it's so big it's cut in half to better handle) inside a blindingly orange space with a bunch of televisions, a dining loft, and a couple taps pouring Texas beer. I can see coming by on a Sunday to catch a football game.
But I'm not sure I'd make this my regular haunt. Southside's mozzarella overwhelms its pies, which I'd be fine with if it the cheese has more bite. The crusts lack flavor, too.
And if we're talking about single pies, I feel especially cheated with the King of Pepperoni, which promises "double pepperoni" but comes nowhere close. Plus, the pepperoni just doesn't stand out, hidden inside that blanket of mozzarella and a parmesan topping.
Southside works when it just loads up on toppings. Specifically, I enjoy the Flyin' Hawaiian, obviously a pineapple pie that also includes chicken, ham, red onions, jalapeños, and barbecue sauce. There's sweetness, saltiness, heat ... the more the better. Same goes for the Athena, a Greek pie with feta, spinach, olives, tomatoes, and red onions. Just give me flavor.
Southside also gives customers the option to build their own pizza, and I'd give that a go just to see if I can come up with something as good as anything on the menu.
I've had a nice time during each visit to Southside. The counter person takes orders, makes pizzas, and cleans up, all while remaining courteous and conversational. There's plenty of sports to watch here. The beer might include Eureka Heights and Saint Arnold. It's a relaxing place to munch on some pizza, again, maybe for a football game. And I bet families would have a nice time here, especially with children who aren't like me at age 8 and don't have seriously high standards.