Mike Rizzi is fanatical about the quality of his food. "It's all about the ingredients," says Rizzi, who just opened Rizzi's Pizzeria (2865 Dulles Ave., Missouri City, 281-208-1800). "We don't want to be just another pizza joint, so we need to stand out."
What makes Rizzi's stand out? "First, the dough we use is a family recipe that goes back to the 1800s, to my great grandfather in Italy, who ran a bakery. The cheese we use is a blend of mozzarella and provolone that I just couldn't get from suppliers in Houston, so we buy it directly from a cheese maker in Wisconsin. The sauce is homemade, as is everything else in the restaurant. My cheesecake is made with whipped egg whites, so it's very light. And for my tiramisu, I went to work in a restaurant in Rome and learned how to make it the way they do."
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Rizzi's Italian fried chicken has already gotten plenty of buzz and a strong following online. "It's marinated with Italian seasonings, and my dad sends us the breading from home. It's pressure-fried, so it cooks quickly and it's served with 'those potatoes.'" Those potatoes got their name from customers who loved them so much, they kept asking, "What are those potatoes?" For the record, they are Idaho spuds, cut into pieces of eight and breaded with the same breading used on the chicken.
Mike's fanaticism has paid off. The pizza dough is made with extra virgin olive oil, which keeps it nice and moist. The tomato sauce has a slight sweetness and is not in the least bit acidic, while the cheese is nice and gooey. The chicken is lip-smacking delicious, and the Italian seasonings make a nice change from the standard Southern fried chicken.