SHARE
Pizza Buzz’s dill pickle pizza went viral and brought in a ton of new business. PHOTO BY MADISON SIMMONS

Let me tell you a little story about a small business owner and the pizza that changed his life.

Seven years ago, Jay Hansji and wife Manisha Hansji bought a small takeout pizza operation off Basswood Boulevard in North Fort Worth near Keller/Saginaw. He had just quit a job building machines in post offices, and she was looking for a reason to stop working at a certain Texas-built fast-food chain when the opportunity came up.

The Hansjis decided to not just sling pizza but to really learn the craft. Jay dived into dough theory (settling on a 72-hour fermentation time). He researched the very best cheeses available (an Italian mozzarella with higher butter fat content). He attended pizza-making conventions.

Jay Hansji, shown here in the lobby of his family’s restaurant, threw himself into the art of pizza-making after buying the business seven years ago.
PHOTO
BY MADISON SIMMONS
FAT-DADDY'S-300X250_B (1)

Thanks to hard work and this dedication to the art, the newly christened Pizza Buzz — with one table for customers who just can’t wait to dig in — built a stream of regular customers drawn by the high quality, but Jay wanted more.

“I wanted to spread my pizza around the Metroplex,” he said. “The only way to do that was something completely mind-blowingly different.”

Enter: the pickle pizza. The ingredients are simple: garlic butter (house-made), cheese, and dill pickles, all finished with a drizzle of ranch dressing (also house-made).

The result, Hansji believes, tastes just like fried pickles.

People really liked it. Then it went viral, gathering popularity on a few local Facebook pages. People did not just want pickle pizza. They demanded it.

“We went through five gallons of pickles a day,” Hansji said. “My whole walk-in cooler was full of pickles!”

Pizza Buzz sold more than 1,400 dill pickle pizzas in the month of December. Though he tried to discontinue it, customers made petitions asking Jay to keep it on the menu.

The craze has died down, but the Hansjis now have a new group of loyal customers. And, Jay said, other area restaurants have begun to make their own versions.

I can’t speak to the alleged copycats, but I can tell you about this pickle pizza.

I had every intention of waiting until I got home to break into the boxes.

I ended up eating my first slice while stuck in post-storm traffic on 35.

“Transcendent” might be a heavy term, but that pizza sure did something to me. The bass note was garlic butter, mingling with the yeasty crust. The sour pickle zinged through the cheese in a combination that should not have worked but did. In fact, it tasted just like fried pickles.

I finished the piece in three bites.

The rest waited until I got home. I had a suspicion that the longish commute (40 minutes thanks to the fact that no one in Texas can drive in the rain) might impair the quality of the slice. That was unnecessary. Where lesser pizzas might melt into a soggy puddle of cheese grease, these slices held their form.

Pepperoni, tandoori chicken, and pickle pizza share a plate. Pizza Buzz offers inventive pies in addition to the classics.
PHOTO BY MADISON SIMMONS

Pizza Buzz, whose extensive menu includes thin, hand-tossed, Detroit-style, cauliflower crust, and gluten-free crust, can accommodate vegetarian and vegan versions of almost all options.

The place also sells wings and a variety of apps, including a garlic cheesy bread that promises a “half-pound of cheese” per serving.

In the face of all these possibilities, I put great thought into my selections. In addition to the pickle, I chose a pepperoni thin crust (my personal barometer for quality pie) and the chicken tandoori pizza (the family’s nod to their Indian heritage). An exercise in contrasts of flavor and texture, the tandoori featured red-hot spiced chicken, red onions, house-made chutney, and fresh cilantro, each contributing their own notes to the symphony in my mouth. I had ordered this pizza Detroit-style. A delicious shell of melted cheese encased the thick, fluffy pie, and the bottom had been fried to a golden brown. That high-end mozzarella cheese really shone here.

Though less glamorous than its creative siblings, the pepperoni, in my opinion, truly spoke to Pizza Buzz’s craft. The layer of cheese and pepperoni on top was thicker than the crust. The meat was crispy and had a good bite. This, of all the pies, was the one I kept reaching for throughout the night. The flavor of the crust — that flavor achieved only through yeast, flour, water, and time — sang.

The pizzas, I will add, paired well with a six-pack of IPA that I bought from the liquor store conveniently located two doors down from the restaurant.

From Pizza Buzz’s small, classic lineup of desserts (cheesecakes, cannoli, cookie pizza), I went for the Nutella cheesecake. There is no photographic evidence of this because I ate it very quickly. Yes, it was that good.

Will Pizza Buzz become my go-to spot? Well, it’s about 10 exits farther north than I like to venture in North Texas, and there are plenty of joints closer, but, yes, of course Pizza Buzz will become my go-to spot, and if you have any sense, you’ll get yourself over there, too.

 

Pizza Buzz
Pickle pizza (10 inch) $12.99
Tandoori chicken pizza (4 square) $16.99
Pepperoni pizza (10 inch) $12.99
Nutella cheesecake $4.25

 

Pizza Buzz, 5418 Basswood Blvd, FW. 817-849-2896. 11am-8:45pm Wed-Sun.

LEAVE A REPLY