Here, Eat This

Upper Crust: Vinny's Pizza

Pizzas by the slice at EaDo's Vinny's Pizza
Pizzas by the slice at EaDo's Vinny's Pizza Photo by Carlos Brandon
When Agricole Hospitality partners Ryan Pera, Morgan Weber and Vincent Huynh laid out their plans for a company-defining trio of businesses at the corner of St. Emmanuel and Dallas Streets, they decided a pizzeria would be the ideal entry point for such an endeavor.

Located both physically and conceptually between its sister businesses Indianola and Miss Carousel, Vinny's Pizza is an inviting neighborhood pie joint that slings elevated pizza by the slice — and for a reasonable price.

click to enlarge Homemade pepperonis on a Detroit-style slice. - PHOTO BY CARLOS BRANDON
Homemade pepperonis on a Detroit-style slice.
Photo by Carlos Brandon
The pies are great (more on that in a moment) but it's the prices that really surprised us. After all, we expected high quality pizza from the team behind Coltivare — in our opinion, the definitive Houston pizza kitchen. What we haven't come to expect is a sophisticated take on casual, by the slice pizza joints in Houston. Or, for that matter, reasonably priced street food in the heavily gentrified suddenly affluent neighborhood that is EaDo.

While pie options in Houston abound, great pizza is rarely found by the slice. Instead, our best options involve $20-$30 whole pies at traditional sit down restaurants.

Not so at Vinny's. While the online menu would have you believe they only sell full pies, inside you're sold individual slices at considerably lower prices ($3 for a slice of thin NY-style cheese, $4 for a square Detroit-style pepperoni).

click to enlarge Buffalo Lil Wangz from Vinny's Pizza - PHOTO BY CARLOS BRANDON
Buffalo Lil Wangz from Vinny's Pizza
Photo by Carlos Brandon
A slice of the thicker Detroit-style and bottled soft drink or Katz cold brew is a profoundly reasonable lunch for under $10. Add an order of eight Lil' Wangz (hot wings) and a second slice and you've got dinner for two for around $20 — in EaDo!

The pizza, while perhaps not exceptional, is well above average. The place is known for the Detroit-style square and New York-style triangular slices that grace its website and Instagram pages. In actuality, the biggest difference between the two is the shape.

While the Detroit slices are marginally thicker, they lack the true doughy depth that's characteristic of the style and tend to fold over when lifted. New York slices, however, are appropriately thin and floppy, requiring a classic New York fold to eat one-handed.

True to the Agricole Hospitality reputation, Pera and company source high quality ingredients, producing as sophisticated a product as they can afford to sell for $4 a slice. Beef is sourced from 44 Farms and the meaty, greasy, suction cup pepperonis that grace each delicious slice are made in house along with the crispy dough upon which they are so generously distributed.

click to enlarge El Primo with 44 Farms beef hamburger, ricotta, onions and bell peppers. - PHOTO BY CARLOS BRANDON
El Primo with 44 Farms beef hamburger, ricotta, onions and bell peppers.
Photo by Carlos Brandon
Beyond the pies lies a menu of hidden culinary treasures like the aforementioned and mildly-spiced Buffalo hot wings, housemade chicken meatballs, and a small selection of salads that could just as easily end up on one of Ryan Pera's more high end menus.

In stark contrast to both the formal fine dining ambiance of Indianola and the trendy well-dressed cocktail bar aesthetic of Miss Carousel, Vinny's provides a respite; a supremely laid back breath of fresh air that effectively sets the tone for the whole block. At the same time, it offers a more palatable option for those seeking a cheap late night slice or post-bar binge eat than your standard downtown grease trap or delivery joint cardboard dinner.
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Houston Press contributor Carlos Brandon is a freelance writer, blogger, and self proclaimed Houston hip hop historian. He contributes to various publications and can usually be found haggling with food truck cooks or talking politics on the METRO Rail.
Contact: Carlos Brandon