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Zoli’s NY Pizza, Big-Deal Pizzeria, Opens Tuesday, August 6

The NY style pizzas at Zoli's have a light, airy, open crust .

The NY style pizzas at Zoli’s have a light, airy, open-crumb crust .

zolis ny pizza sign

Zoli’s NY Pizza opens the maws of its deck ovens at 5 pm Tuesday, August 6.

Expect thick crowds for FaceBook/Twitter/Pizza whiz Jay Jerrier’s newest Big Deal pizzeria.

Jerrier, who also owns VPN-certified Cane Rosso in Dallas, says he hopes Zoli’s thick, doughy, cheesy, saucy, chewy New York style pizzas will especially appeal to the small contingent of pizza fans who don’t embrace Cane Rosso’s somewhat floppy, thin, Neopolitan pizzas.

At Cane Rosso, pizzas cook directly on the oven floor in less than two minutes, charred by a wood fire and a super hot oven. At Zoli’s, pizzas cook in deep dish pans or on traditional circular pizza trays in one of three high-tech Italian deck ovens whose temperature can be precisely controlled.

At Cane Rosso, the pizza dough is made from superfine 00 flour, water, yeast and salt, a combination prescribed by VPN rules. At Zoli’s, where VPN rules don’t apply, Jerrier employs flour, water, yeast and salt, but also adds a little sugar and oil, which makes the dough a bit richer and sweeter.

While I’m a big fan of VPN pizzas, I also think Jerrier has a hit on his hand with Zoli’s. I popped in recently for a quick preview and was smitten by both a traditional round NY pizza and the “Grandma,”  a deep-dish rectangular pizza baked in a dark metal pan. You can buy any pizza at Zoli’s as a whole pie or by the slice.

The NY pizza reminded me of the best Brooklyn slice joints. I loved the thin, foldable, chewy crust; the slightly crisp bottom and the open, airy crumb that extended from the thick rim to the tip of the slice, The pies are topped with a chunky tomato sauce flecked with oregano and a gooey mozzarella that bubbled and charred in all the right places.

The Grandma, like all grandmas, was even better, its thicker, equally light crust and crackly bottom the result of a longer rise and an olive oil lacquering. Jerrier says all of Zoli’s pizzas employ the same dough, just differing amounts. The Grandma was soft and pudgy, like a grandma and a good focaccia,  but hefty enough to stand up to whatever you want to pile on –grandpa, for example, or Brian Luscher’s sausages or maybe Lockhart BBQ’s brisket.

This is the pizza your grandma would make if you had a New York grandma who loved you.

Zoli’s menu also includes salads, sandwiches (“Wait till you try the chicken parm,” says Jerrier), and special pizzas designed by special people — chefs around town, Oak Cliff residents, maybe even an EscapeHatch writer.

Here’s the take-home: Between Cane Rosso and Zoli’s, if you can’t find a pizza that wows you, says Jerrier, “then maybe you just don’t like pizza.”

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