1415 S. Congress Ave.
Austin, TX 78704
Stan Adams finally delivered something that resembled East Coast pies with his first Brick Oven store. But things were still sparse. Then the Jersey-styled Saccone’s opened out on 183. But downtown still had this huge void. Finally, out of the blue, in 2005 three friends opened a little joint on South Congress called Home Slice and turned things upside down for Austin Pizza lovers.
Home Slice works because they serve up a Neapolitan style East Coast pizza that’s easily among the top three in the city. Their pizza oozes authenticity which starts with an amazing crust that’s alternately crispy and a little charred on the bottom (as it should be) and most importantly, has shelf life. The texture of the crust is just about perfect: tender without being mushy and with a slight crunch.
And unlike the famous Pepe’s in New Haven which pretty much just offers up pizza and clams on the half shell, Home Slice has a much more extensive menu.
The Antipasto is a good version with classic Italian cold cuts along with along with assorted cheeses, peppers and olives. And they have a Greek salad that’s actually very tasty with crispy Romaine and really decent feta cheese along with Kalamata olives. The Calzones rely on wonderful dough which Home Slice has in abundance. The pepperoni and sausage calzone is my favorite: stuffed with ricotta and mozzarella, and adorned with a zesty marinara. And there’s a huge Hot Meatball sub that takes me back to the Whalley Ave. in New Haven. This is a sub that has, if you’ll pardon the small pun, sub-stance.
But the pièce de résistance at Home Slice is the apizza (or “ah-beeetz,” as Tony Soprano would call it). Their most popular pies fall into the “Tried and True” category. No substitutions here, please. The classic Margherita dates back to Naples in the late 19th century, and is a wonderful pie: fresh mozzarella, tomato, garlic and basil. Home Slice offers up a version that is “molto bene” (very good). With crust like theirs, the Margherita works beautifully. Another favorite pie is the ever-so-compelling Pepperoni and Mushroom. It not only comes out of the oven looking regal like a Botticelli still life, but the taste is spot-on. And the pepperoni is not greasy! And my personal favorite is the Sausage (real Italian), Ricotta Cheese and Roasted Red Pepper. The flavors of this pie just roll off your tongue with each luscious bite. You kind of fold it and then just go for it. That’s old school style. And the result is ultimately rewarding.
And I must give Home Slice props for trying the most difficult of all pies to pull off, the White Clam Pizza. We used to pay exorbitant Fed Ex fees to have this one overnighted to Westlake from a joint called Grand Appiza in East Haven, CT (unfortunately now closed). Home Slice does a nice job with this, better than anyone else down here. Almost there (Wooster street) but not quite. Still, kudos to them as this is the king of all apizza, in my humble opinion.
Home Slice has two locations at 1415 South Congress and immediately next door. This is the mecca for pizza on SoCo. These guys are the real deal!