Barring true Armageddon, you will never come closer to the sights and sounds of the zombie apocalypse than at 2:30 a.m. in the West 7th corridor on a weekend. When my guest and I entered the labyrinth of one-way streets before the pandemic, a mass of bleary-eyed people was staggering up and down the sidewalks. Moving quickly to our destination, we passed a woman sitting on the curb. She was missing a shoe and staring blankly at her feet. We avoided eye contact with a man who was grunting and cursing incoherently at passing cars. As we approached our destination, we realized that it was packed with similarly afflicted folks, but it wasn’t human brains that these fiends craved. It was food. Fooooood.
ZaLat Pizza, 843 Foch St, FW. 817-780-0420. Temporary hours noon-12am Sat-Sun, 4pm-12am Mon-Thu. All major credit cards accepted.
After shouldering past a group of guys filming a TikTok video, we entered ZaLat Pizza. The four-month-old eatery’s small space is more of a production kitchen than a restaurant. Pizza boxes are piled floor-to-ceiling along the walls with a break in the clutter for a large painted menu and signage encouraging you to order via ZaLat’s app or Zalatpizza.com.
The kitchen dominates the space and is in plain view directly behind the L-shaped ordering counter. From simple salads, candy bars, and pints of ice cream to unique pizza combinations, the choices are many. Luckily, the friendly staff is helpful in navigating the eclectic offerings but definitely not as friendly as the group of slurring brand advocates standing in line next to us who insisted on steering our order.
The decision-making process went on for a while due to a disagreement between two of our advisors about the virtues of Sirancha, ZaLat’s trademarked name for Sriracha-ranch sauce, which comes with every order. We were hoping to explore a wider sampling of the menu, but, unfortunately, individual slices are offered only from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. We needed to choose wisely.
Names were called for pickups. Various branded delivery drivers came and went through the crowd of customers. Someone named Miranda was having a video chat that was just starting to get interesting when our new friends reached their decision. We should order a Pho Shizzle, a Loaded Notato, and The NYC. Why the hell not?
Despite the top-notch zombie-watching from our small table in the enclosed, pet-friendly patio, the next 20 minutes seemed like an eternity. Thankfully, the pizza was worth the wait, but if you are planning on trying this place, you’d be wise to order ahead.
The first pizza we received was the Loaded Notato. A play on a loaded baked potato, it was topped with bacon, jalapeños, mozzarella, cheddar, chives, and a blue cheese ranch swirl. The flavors combined well. The smokiness of the bacon took the lead, and the Sirancha, which was used here as the base sauce, melted with the cheeses to delicious effect. I had hoped for more of a blue cheese flavor, but I was unable to detect any. Also, this pizza could be too spicy for some. My guest took one bite and was unable to finish.
Sadly, the Pho Shizzle was a fizzle. Maybe our disappointment was rooted in the fact that we had just accepted Sriracha ranch, mozzarella, and blue cheese as “normal” toppings for a loaded baked-potato, but I’d have been less put off if this Vietnamese soup-inspired pie was more traditional in its flavors. I eat pho often, but I have never seen oven-roasted chicken, red peppers, or caramelized onions in the bowl. And although both plants are called “basil,” the herb used to garnish Mediterranean dishes lacks the citrus-twang and aroma of the Thai variety one typically finds in Southeast Asian cuisine.
The real standout was The NYC. The classic pizza is made with house-roasted tomato sauce, mozzarella, and a dusting of dried oregano. As directed, we ordered the half and half: Half the surface is topped with all-beef pepperoni and the other with Italian sausage. The acidity of the homemade sauce played foil to the greasy goodness of the crispy-edged pepperoni, and black pepper added a nice kick to the juicy sausage chunks.
The ZaLat zealots, as they called themselves, were very generous with their toppings. The crust was close to perfect, with a bit of char and a nice crunch, which yielded a steamy soft center. The slices folded well in-hand with a slight crackle. They didn’t become soggy and didn’t droop.
Next time you’ve got the munchies and you don’t mind battling the undead, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better late-night dining option. But if you’d rather save your bugout bag for the end times, get to ZaLat Pizza before the bars let out.
Loaded Notato $15.99
Pho Shizzle $14.99
The NYC, half and half $13.99