Anthony Calleo at Pi Pizza Truck — which parks Wednesday through Saturday at Johnny's Gold Brick bar in the Heights — first saw a photo of a burger in which small pizzas take the place of buns on the Facebook page of Midtown Pizza Kitchen in Joplin, Missouri. He calls his rendition “Jumping the Shark 2016.”
The burger patty is nestled between two mini-versions of Pi Pizza’s best-selling soppressata pizzas. To add a little tang, Calleo and his crew also spread on olive tapenade.
One of the aspects of Calleo’s pizza creations that makes them so good is a tender, chewy crust that’s crispy on the underside. When it comes to turning pizza crust into buns, that's a huge advantage. A bite crunches into the outside before sinking into the soft, saucy part and then finally into the meaty burger patty. Consider this: There's no need to add cheese, because there is already cheese on the pizzas. Ditto for condiments, because there is already seasoned tomato sauce, too.
The burger is priced more at steakhouse levels than fast-food ones. It’s $16 — but it is a burger patty and two pizzas. It takes as much time to make small pizzas as big ones, so the burger is a labor-intensive sandwich.
I was able to try the burger on Saturday and ate more than half of it in one sitting, even thought I swore I wasn’t even particularly hungry. It’s one of those “can’t put it down” sandwiches. As I compulsively kept taking bite after bite, I thought, “Anthony is really onto something here.” For that matter, if Pi Pizza had secured a booth at the upcoming Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, it would sell thousands. The Jumping The Shark burger is ideal carnival fare.
Pi Pizza introduced the creation this past Saturday night and will offer the Jumping The Shark burger again this week from 5 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, 5 p.m to 1 a.m. on Thursday and 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.
After than, Calleo says, there are no guarantees he’ll continue to make it. So, get this wonderful, over-the-top burger creation while you can.