I forgot to bring my camera to dinner last night so I’m hoping my words do justice to the great experience I had at ZZ’s Pizza in Walnut Hills.
For a little back-story- I drive past ZZ’s on Gilbert Avenue everyday on my way to work. It wasn't until about the 20th time I drove past that I realized it was a restaurant. I thought to myself “Is that place really open? Is it legit? " After a bit of research I learned the establishment has been around more than twenty years, closing for a couple years in the mid-2000's before re-opening under new ownership. The awkward shape of the building gives the impression the space is much smaller than it really is. It’s shaped quite like a slice of pizza, narrow at the entrance and flares out into a triangular/oblong shape. A mixture of high-top and regular tables line the walls as well as a long bar that takes up about half of one side of the restaurant.
My eyes were immediately drawn to the Ikea wine racks and once I perused their selection of bottles I knew this place had something going. House bottles are $20 and then some higher priced from $26-$44. It’s not just pizza, after all. The beer selection is decent, the liquor selection is a small 2 foot long shelf with about one bottle of each of the major liquor groups. But why go with liquor when there’s plenty to choose from in the wine department?
With a wine list longer than the actual menu it took me longer to choose a bottle than a pizza. Not much in the way of starters, some simple salads, a couple soups, a few sandwich choices and then the pizza menu. We ordered a bottle of the Cebastiani chardonnay. The pizza took a few minutes to make its way out which gave us plenty of time to enjoy our Caesar salads and most of the chardonnay. I was surprised by the flavor of the Caesar, it wasn’t drenched in dressing which sometimes seems to happen. The romaine was very green and leafy and served slightly at room temperature; I’m starting to realize how much I prefer lettuce when it’s not quite so chilled.
We ordered the Cajun pizza from the specialty pizza menu. The toppings really made it a work of art with all the colors and shapes the pie had going on: sour dough crust with light pizza sauce, cheddar cheese, ground sausage, shrimp, green peppers and onions. Sometimes specialty pizzas worry me because I can get annoyed by the toppings after just one piece but this combination was very balanced. When I’m eating pizza I want to feel like I'm eating pizza. Although the Cajun had a variety of toppings, there wasn't so much that the crust and traditional pizza flavors were altered. It was supposed to have jalapenos but I didn't find any on my two pieces which was fine with me because the spice of the Cajun seasoning was enough to get my face sweating a bit.
I feel like there are a lot of restaurants I try one time and say I’m going to go back, but time or geography or habit get in my way and I don’t end up returning for a second trip. I really mean it when I say I will go back to ZZ’s Pizza. The menu is not extensive, but everything they have to offer is done just right.