When Pizza 23, 600 NW 23 St., opened on Dec. 14, it was another step for Uptown toward muscling its way into the conversation about where the locals go.
Already anchored by Cheever's Cafe, Big Truck Tacos, Tucker's Onion Burgers, Mutt's Amazing Hot Dogs, Granddad's Bar, The Blue Note, two terrific Guatemalan restaurants and the glory that is the Asian District, the only thing missing was pizza.
The man to bring pizza to Uptown was Justin Price, who'd helped open Jo's Pizza in Edmond and then opened a second Jo's of his own in far northwest Oklahoma City. But when the lease came up on that space, Price had a decision to make.
“I'd had this concept in mind for a long time,” Price said. “When the time came, I just decided to go for it.”
The model Price had in mind was simple: Pizza, salad and beer.
Price, who grew up in a restaurant family, said to differentiate himself from others he makes sure he has a quality selection of beers, makes everything from scratch daily and emphasizes fresh, organic ingredients.
“Our dough is unique in that it's a little more like the dough for a piecrust,” he said. “So our pizza crust is a little flakier than others.”
The result is a thin-crust pizza with a little more give than most. If you're looking for something in a Chicago-style, fuhgeddaboutit. Head north to Edmond and try Humble Pie. But if you like thin-crust pizza and whimsical toppings, Pizza 23 is for you.
Price offers 23 toppings, thus the name, and when fresh greens are called for, you can be sure they're organic.
“We love to eat in our family, but we also care about our health,” he said. “We also care about quality, so we slice our pepperoni in house and we offer premium products.”
Price admits you might pay a dollar or two more for his pizza, but promises the quality he's offering will make it worth your while.
Personally, I'm a fan of the bleu burger pizza, which includes crumbled hamburger, bacon, red onions, blue cheese and fresh diced avocados. The avocado and cheese lend a creamy finish to the crispy pizza that makes it pretty irresistible. I'm also a fan of the carnitas pizza, which is topped with pulled pork and pico de gallo. It's almost as beautiful as it is delicious. The Mediterranean also is a star, featuring a garlic-oil glaze, mozzarella, spinach, grilled chicken, sun-dried tomatoes and feta.
The salad roster is simple: House, chopped and Mediterranean. Like Jo's, the house salad comes in portions for one or two. The dressings are all made in house, and the greens are organic.
From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays, Pizza 23 offers a small pizza and salad for $8. Appetizer options include house-made bread, hot wings, and rib tips. My kids always demand the wings.
The bar menu includes more than 30 beers, including all the local brews Price could get his hands on and a small selection of wines.
Price recently purchased a truck which he intends to take on the road with his gourmet pizzas. He participated in the last H & 8th Night Market and has done some private events.
“The plan is to make the truck all glass on one side so people can watch us make the pizza,” he said. “We're going to have an oven on the truck, so it'll be as fresh as if you came by the restaurant.”
To celebrate months in business, Pizza 23 is planning a grand opening party on May 18, which will include live music on the expansive patio, food and drink specials and plenty of fun.
Pizza 23 is open daily at 11 a.m. For more information go online to pizza23okc.com.