"I grew up in the Bellaire-West U-Rice area, and Albert Candelari was my grandfather," says Michael May, the owner and founder of Candelari's Pizzeria (2617 W. Holcombe, 713-662-2825). "We were looking for somewhere close by to move the original location, which used to be on Bissonnet. We needed good parking and reasonably priced rent. Paul Patranella owned Pauli's here before, and we struck a deal with him. I still run into old high school friends at the restaurant from over 20 years ago." Any further expansion plans? "Well, this is number five, but we're looking at locations in Memorial, Clear Lake and The Woodlands," says May.
May has added a full bar. There's counter service and a buffet at lunch; evenings, there's full service with wine service. "Steve, the store manager, is a trained sommelier and really knows his wine," says May. As for the food, he says, "We have a diverse appetizer menu made up of lots of small plates to allow you to try different tastes, then finish off your meal with one of our thin-crust, Euro-style pizzas. We're also offering more authentic items like polenta and fried rapini."
We took May's recommendation and tried the sausage platter, which, since Candelari's is the "king of sausage," proved to be an excellent choice. This was followed by a thin-crust pizza, half of which was topped with gorgonzola, walnuts, olive oil and red onion, the other half with shrimp, calamari and pesto sauce. Both were equally delicious.
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