The number of fast-casual pizza options in Southlake is a little staggering. Even within the various sub-genres, the fast-growing, affluent Tarrant County suburb is suddenly pizza-rich. The town already had plenty of options, ranging from floppy, New York-style pies to gourmet versions with high-end toppings, and everything in between. So when the Kansas City-based Spin! Neapolitan Pizza hit the scene in mid July, the field was already oversaturated. Now the restaurant scene is an all-out pizza brawl, and only the unique will likely survive that kind of competition. Luckily, Spin! has enough going for it to outlast the inevitable eddying of the pizza wave.
If you ever forget the restaurant’s name, its décor will not-so-subtely remind you. There is a mural depicting Italian cyclists, bicycle wheels hang from the high ceilings, and the light bulbs hovering over the booths are adorned with bike gears. The place has every reference to spinning its corporate props deparment could conjure, short of nailing a washing machine set to spin cycle to the wall. The effect is fun and hip-looking. The dining area is a mix of comfortable booths, small tables, and communal bar seating. Warm wood accents abound throughout.
A fully exposed kitchen allows dinners to gawk at the behind-the-scenes action. While it was kind of cool to peek beyond the curtain, my guest and I could have done without hearing the manager loudly bark orders at staff.
The place’s menu hangs behind the walk-up counter and includes choices for appetizers, flatbreads, pizza, salads, soups, gelatos, and sandwiches.
The mondo pork meatball appetizer arrived engulfed by cheese and marinara sauce, with crumpled ribbons of fresh basil.The center of each enormous, well-seasoned meatball oozed with melted mozzarella. The dish was a gooey, savory, salty treat. The accompanying thin, crispy focaccia bread was a fantastic scoop for the excess cheese –– and the only thing that stopped me from licking the plate.
Though the restaurant’s name promises Neapolitan-style pie typically featuring a deliciously soft-borderline-soggy crust, the offerings appeared to be more along the lines of classic wood-fired pizza. Whatever you call it, the end result was a flavorful crust that was thin but with just enough heft to hold the generously portioned gourmet toppings.
Spin!’s signature pies are divided into two categories of sauce bases: bianco (a toasted garlic olive oil glaze) and rosso (red sauce). Of the 6 and 12-inch varieties, we went with the former, which ended up being perfect for lunch.
Spin! Neapolitan Pizza
1586 E. Southlake Blvd., Southlake. 817-416-7746. 11am-9pm Sun-Thu,11am-10pm Fri-Sat. All major credit cards accepted.
The rosso salsiccia and caramelized onion pizza had a fire-kissed char on the puffed-up edges of the crust. The spicy and sweet ingredients made for a tasty, dynamic flavor combination. Likewise, the patate bianco pizza, with crisp roasted potatoes, luxurious pancetta, and roasted red peppers was a delicious amalgam of textures and balanced flavors.
The shrimp scampi pizza featured sharp notes of garlic mellowed by the ample portion of cheese and small, tender, fresh-tasting shrimp. The Calabrian peppers were spicy but not so much that they overpowered the dish’s subtler flavors. This bold dish paired nicely with a glass of refreshing blood orange sangria. The bar offers two other sangria varieties, wine, and craft brews specially selected to pair with the food.
If we had one complaint, it was our salad course. The Sonoma salad, with mixed greens, grapes, raisins, apples, blood orange dressing, and goat cheese was cloyingly sweet. The Caesar was standard issue and not distinctive in any way. Gorgonzola fans might appreciate the generous use of the strong cheese in the chopped BLT salad, but we found it made it too one-note.
In a cruel, diet-busting use of product placement, the restaurant sets its housemade gelato options near the front counter, making them all too easy to grab and scoop on the way out the door. The rotating menu of seasonal flavors included a decadent, creamy pumpkin cheesecake item.
There may be a million pizza places in Southlake, but none of them are as unique and creative as Spin! Bloated and satisfied, it was all I could do not to grab one of the bicycles from the wall to burn off some calories.
[box_info]Spin! Neapolitan Pizza
Stuffed mondo pork meatball $6.95
Sonoma half-salad $5.25
Salsiccia and caramelized onion pizza $12.45
Patate pizza $11.95
Shrimp scampi pizza $14.95[/box_info]