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Carbs and Karbach at That Pizza Place on Ella

Excellent speciality pizzas and 90 different craft beers.

See how the pies are made and check out That Pizza Place On Ella's big beer selection in our slideshow.

That Pizza Place on Ella — you know the one, the one that used to be a Double Dave's and still has an army of wooden booths that bear the Double D brand on them, the one possessed of an Abbot and Costello routine of a name and bright, beckoning patios — is the place to be on a Sunday night in Garden Oaks. Here's why.

Inside, there's an all-you-can-eat pizza buffet that's decidedly not of the CiCi's variety; it holds rounds after hot rounds of That Pizza Place's specialty pizzas, like the Texas Philly and the roasted garlic-topped Poppin' Prosciutto with goat cheese and fresh basil, along with all the stromboli, cheese-covered breadsticks and pepperoni rolls you can fit in your stomach (plus a salad bar for those of you who feel the need to supplement your cheese and carbs with a small side of greenery).

Pies include the Poppin' Prosciutto, which goes well with St. Arnold's or a Karbach.
Troy Fields
Pies include the Poppin' Prosciutto, which goes well with St. Arnold's or a Karbach.

Location Info

Map

That Pizza Place on Ella

3322 Ella Blvd.
Houston, TX 77018

Category: Restaurant > Pizza

Region: Outer Loop - NE

Details

Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays through Wednesdays, 11 a.m. to midnight Thursdays through Saturdays
All-you-can-eat buffet: $6.99
Pepperoni roll: $1.50
Stromboli: $7.50
Starter sampler: $10
Large, one-topping pizza: $13.50
Large specialty pizza: $13.50

READ MORE:
Pics: That Pizza Place On Ella
Creative Pizza and Crafty Pints at That Pizza Place On Ella

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There are also nearly 90 different craft beers to choose from — both on draft and in the bottle — and it's a selection That Pizza Place is clearly proud of, crowing its numbers from the red, white and blue marquee on Ella. There are arcade games you haven't seen since the 1980s in the back and an air hockey table that begs you to change that $5 bill into a satisfying, clangy whoosh of quarters before declaring war on your friends armed only with tiny plastic discs.

Out back on the shady patio, there is usually a band of the laid-back Texas country or "Gulf and Western" variety — inoffensive, easy-listening stuff that's more of a soundtrack than a spectacle but made more enjoyable by the smiles of the men playing it — and families from the surrounding neighborhood taking in the evening with endless pizza and cheap pitchers of really good beer.

That Pizza Place on Ella has developed a smart formula with these Sunday evenings, but that's not where its success begins and ends. Instead, the little pizza joint that broke away from the Double Dave's empire has cultivated a small but loyal following in the area that, with time, may prove to draw in guests from all over the city as well.
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Back in 2010, Double Dave's franchise owners Kelly Weddel, Brett Robinson and Kirk Robinson decided that the large pizza chain wasn't the team they wanted to play for anymore and set about transforming their restaurant on Ella Boulevard into a pizza joint of their very own.

They developed new recipes for the sauce and the dough but kept a few things the same for sake of customer satisfaction — the branded booths remained, for example, as did the renamed pepperoni rolls — and set about getting really good beer in the place instead of typical adjunct lagers like Bud and Miller. On the marquee outside, a defiant new sign read: "Same Owners, Better Pizza."

Their commitment to the neighborhood was apparent early on, when the team decided to allow its customers to rename the restaurant itself, with the winner receiving a year's worth of free pizza. Finalists for the new name included Backyard Pizza, owing to its comfortable feel, and Pie Whole. But the winner was That Pizza Place on Ella, both charmingly silly and disarmingly straightforward at once — just like the restaurant itself.

The menu is short here, with only nine specialty pizzas and a handful of side items: stromboli, calzones, some appetizers and a handful of pasta dishes. The specialty pizzas have cheeky names like The Situation and Dirty Bird that reflect the cheerful attitudes of most of the employees — all of whom do an excellent job of remembering their patrons' names and favorite orders from visit to visit. There are specials nearly every night of the week, from large one-toppings and a pitcher for $16 on Saturdays to Geeks Who Drink pub trivia nights on Tuesdays that feature buy-one, get-one pepperoni rolls and cheap Texas beers.

But all of the specials, the service and the neighborhood feel would be moot points if the pizza itself weren't good. Luckily, it is.
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The first pizza I received at That Pizza Place came out with such a large, puffy ring of crust around it that my heart sank: I thought my boyfriend and I had mistakenly ordered a deep-dish pizza, the type of pizza that this Texan simply cannot get behind. Instead, I peered over the edge to find that only that outer, puffy ring was thick — the hand-tossed crust itself was perfectly thin, neither cracker-crisp nor spongy and soggy.

We had ordered the White Gold, smitten by the menu's proclamation that "every bite of ricotta is like finding white gold." I feel that way about ricotta, too. In addition to the crumbly bits of creamy, salty cheese, there were also ample rounds of pepperoni and prosciutto draped across each slice, topping off a tangy, robust marinara sauce that bore no trace of the sickly-sweet red sauce so often found on Double Dave's pizzas.

Along with a couple of fresh pints of Karbach's Saison Barn Burner and Hop Barren Stout, we polished off the White Gold almost too quickly, deciding that a medium was definitely enough for two people but that we still wanted more. Our eyes met across the table, and we both uttered the words with relish at the exact same time: "Sunday pizza buffet." Less than a week later, we were back and plowing through slice after slice of Hawaiian and pepperoni pizza while a baseball game played on the TVs and the band played out back. We studiously avoided the oddly sweet pepperoni rolls, however, which neither of us liked at Double Dave's and which we don't like at this new incarnation either.

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16 comments
scndbox1
scndbox1

It is unbelievable this place gets a thumbs up for pizza.  I was hoping for some good pizza after they switched from Double Daves.  Unfortunately, it is another McDowells, Dairy King, Burger Queen.  Just another example of a place that does not want to pay the franchise fee but keeps all the same recipes.   Good for them on the beer, but the pizza is horrible. 

Mississippi Mike
Mississippi Mike

I respectfully disagree. I went there this past Sunday. No a/c, no pizza out on the buffet, salad bar wasn't kept clean, nowhere to sit due to tables not being bussed. Several of us customers were very disappointed and had to wait for the food to come out and then it was gone in a second.... I can understand any restaurant having a bad day however I visited this restaurant last year after seeing an advertisement and it was the same way. In other words nothing has changed. I respect Ms. Shilcutt and went back (Sunday) on her recommendation but on this one she got it wrong. I will not spend another penny in that place.

PixieWrangler
PixieWrangler

If only they would clean the place up. Kicky restaurant names and specialty pizzas are charming; skeezy bathrooms, greasy tabletops and sticky floors are not. Come on owners - make your decor and overall ambience worthy of your pizza!

Misty
Misty

I work in Garden Oaks and hit this place for lunch a few times a month, at least. Great pizza and service!

Thraeryn
Thraeryn

I'm a huge fan of the crust here. Golden, crispy bottom without being a thin cracker, as Katharine noted. I wish I knew the secret.

Willis
Willis

As a chef myself, I really can't think of any restaurant that cooks wear gloves. I love the place!!! You might wanna talk to your date, That Pizza Place has a closed kitchen! Don't be ASS and know what your talking about before you post a dumb comment.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

I'm curious; since it's not an open kitchen, how did you see this? The place always seemed very sanitary the three times I went...

Hanabi-chan
Hanabi-chan

I went there when it was still Double Dave's. I was not too impressed by it then. Now, it sounds like someplace I want to check out. I work in the area but live on the other side of town. A pity that because I would like an alternative to CiCi's in the evening and weekends.

Robert
Robert

I still think the name I submitted was the best....... H'Ella Good Pizza Good pizza, good buffet, great beers!

Mamacita
Mamacita

I will definitely have to check it out again. The last time I was there, shortly after the break with the franchise, the pizza wasn't good and they were out of everything--salad dressing, straws, napkins, etc.

Randy
Randy

place is disgusting... used to live in Garden Oaks and nothing like watching people with bare hands make your pizza after touching their noses and hair etc.... Place is dead 6 out of 7 days too.. Not sure how they are surviving..

Tim McDaniels
Tim McDaniels

Sounds good, might just have to swing by there....

Corey
Corey

Naturlich, danke!

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

"Nosh" actually comes from the Yiddish nashn, which originally meant "to eat on the sly." (And which came, in term, from Middle High German naschen.) According to Webster's, "nosh" has been in use since the 1930s. Fun with etymology! :)

Renee Jonard
Renee Jonard

I have re-discovered my love for pizza there. Crazy good!

 
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