Typically speaking, chains (especially global chains) are the bane of a food journalist's existence. In our lifelong search for the next bite of inspiration, chains represent the metaphorical and literal gentrification of local food scenes. But, what happens when an international company brings the best version of a beloved ethnic cuisine to your backyard? What do you do when the most authentic version of something comes from a chain? In the case of Piola, we chose to stifle our inner food snobs and enjoy this unique bit of old world authenticity.
From the small canal city of Treviso (a short drive north of Venice), Piola specializes in classically simple pizza staples with crispy, paper-thin crusts. The sauce has a unique bite — tangy in a delightfully acidic way — while crusts are crispy enough to hold their form despite a lack of mass. Lightly charred edges bare the results of time spent in a wood oven, while toppings like burrata and soppressata add a layer of Italian charm.
Readers' Choice: Frank's Pizza
417 Travis, Houston