Can't Hold a Candle to It

Candelari's Italian sausage pizza is a Washington Avenue wonder

"They're waiting for some meat," he said. "Same as me." I got up and took a look at the pizzas they weren't interested in. All four of them were some combination of mushroom, onion, peppers and cheese. The hungry boys (including my tablemate) jumped when a pepperoni pizza and a ham-and-pineapple pizza came out of the kitchen. The meat-topped pies were gone in seconds. My buddy and I each got a ham-and-pineapple slice. It was just as awful a combo as I remember. In the hour I sat there eating and chatting, not one sausage pizza hit the buffet line.

As I looked around the dining room, I noticed that lots of tables held whole pizzas on stands. These lunch patrons must have ordered pizzas from the menu instead of the buffet, I deduced. A quick bout with the math convinced me that this was the smart play. A 12-inch New York-style pizza with Italian sausage goes for nine and a quarter, about a buck twenty-five more than the pizza buffet. So two people can split a premium pie and a salad for less than the cost of two buffets. And since the buffet doesn't include any Italian sausage pie, it isn't very attractive anyway -- except to vegetarians.

Order your pizza with one topping: Italian sausage.
Troy Fields
Order your pizza with one topping: Italian sausage.

Location Info


Candelari's Pizzeria

6002 Washington Ave.
Houston, TX 77007

Category: Restaurant > Italian

Region: Heights

Candelari's Pizzeria

6825 S. Fry Road
Katy, TX 77494

Category: Restaurant > Italian

Region: Outside Houston

Candelari's Pizzeria

7425 Highway 6
Missouri City, TX 77459

Category: Restaurant > Italian

Region: Outside Houston

Candelari's Pizzeria

25680 Highway 290
Cypress, TX 77429

Category: Restaurant > Italian

Region: Cypress

Candelari's Pizzeria

2617 W. Holcombe Blvd.
Houston, TX 77025

Category: Restaurant > Italian

Region: Braeswood


Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

12-inch sausage pizza: $9.25
16-inch sausage pizza: $11.25
Lunch buffet: $7.95
House salad: $5.95
Penne with sausage: $7.95
Lasagna: $7.95

6002 Washington Avenue, 832-200-1474.

The pizza at Candelari's Washington Avenue location is superior to the pizza at the original Candelari's, I told my editors.

"Have you tried the original Candelari's since your last review?" the board shrewdly quizzed me. I had to confess I hadn't been back since I reviewed the place in July 2003.

"Maybe the pizza has improved there, too," I said, agreeing to set up a taste test.

On a recent evening around five, I stopped by the Washington Avenue location and picked up a pie to go while a dining companion did the same thing at the Bissonnet location. We met back at my house and laid the two boxes side by side.

The pizza from the original Bellaire location had a thicker crust, especially around the edges, and while there were nice yeast bubbles, those air pockets were undercooked instead of crusty. The texture of the crust was soft and doughy, and the pie was heaped with too much mozzarella -- all of which combined to make a pie that tasted gooey, just like two years ago. The pie from the Washington Avenue Candelari's was much better. It was thinner, more thoroughly cooked and much crispier.

I wrote a gushing review of Candelari's original location two summers ago, despite the fact that the pizza crust wasn't all that great. The Italian sausage was so good, I would recommend it if they served it on Wonder Bread, I remarked.

Well, now I really have something to rave about, because Candelari's has finally put it all together. At the new Washington Avenue location, you can get the company's phenomenal Italian sausage crumbled over a world-class pizza crust.

Skip the stupid lunch buffet and get a sausage pizza off the menu. Get one for dinner with a salad and a cold beer. Get it to go, get it delivered, but however you do it, get a Candelari's Italian sausage pizza into your mouth as soon as possible.

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