I winced when I first heard that a restaurant planned for the Mills 50 District would be called Pigzza. Did anyone not? Back then, in May of 2021, the project was announced as a collaboration between the owners of Stasio’s, the Milk District Italian cafe and market, and Pig Floyd’s Urban Barbakoa. So it sorta, kinda made sense if there were to be a fusion of barbecue, pizza and Italian dishes.
In the end, Pig Floyd’s Thomas Ward is the sole owner of Pigzza, whose tagline is “an Italianish joint.” And with the barbecue connection still intact, you’d expect the menu to be filled with pulled pork pizzas and pastas aplenty. But this little Pigzza has none.
Well, it has some, but surprisingly few. Which ultimately is a good, astute even, choice. Subtle is almost always the better way to go.
Those who do want to travel the fusion route should consider the Meat Me at Floyd’s pizza. (I’m curious how many customers who don’t know the barbecue restaurant’s connection assume the name refers to Floyd’s Barbershop a few blocks away and wonder what it has to do with a haircut.) The MMAF pizza has brisket, which lends a delightful smokiness to the taste, and a barbecue sauce made with grape jelly in lieu of red sauce. Smoked mozzarella and cheddar cheeses add some gooeyness, and it was topped with pickled onions, which I found a bit too acerbic. But the onions were the only thing I didn’t like about the pizza, so next time I’ll just ask to take a little off the top.
The pizza crust deserves its own paragraph because it’s that good. Besides the Meat Me pizza, I also had a basic pepperoni, and both pies had the same thin crust with a pillowy edge that had just the right amount of elastic chew. In terms of the pepperoni pizza, the toppings might have spread more to the edge, but I was pleased with it overall. And once a pizzeria has perfected its crust, only minor toppings adjustments are needed.
The BBQ Bolognese dish was the most obvious fusion pasta dish. It had pulled pork and brisket blended in the traditional red meat sauce and was tossed with al dente spaghetti then sprinkled with Pecorino Romano cheese. Another smokey dish.
Eggplant parmesan had ample mozzarella cheese and sauce, but the eggplant itself was too chewy. (It’s fine to leave the skin on the eggplant, but cooking time must be adjusted.)
And the cacio e pepe fries just didn’t work for me. Technically, it did have cheese and pepper, but cacio e pepe conjurs a certain image and this mound of fries, though quite substantial, didn’t meet it.
Pigzza occupies a building that used to be a auto service station and in more recent years a “buy here, pay here” car dealership. The car bay garage doors now open to a covered patio. Inside, the compact space has been cleverly designed, including using the upper spaces. On one my visits, the bartender had to haul out a tall step ladder to reach a high storage space. That’s really top shelf.
Service on both of my visits was cool headed, especially given that the restaurant’s newness has it crowded most nights.