The dining frenzy that has ensued since Blissful Glutton first posted on Antico Pizza on Hemphill has been swift, in fact, I don’t know that I’ve seen any establishment be so well received in such a short period of time (check out the 42 five star reviews on Yelp). And yes, I too have succumb to the fantastic vibe and food from this wonderful Westside pizza mecca.
I’ve made four visits since they opened, and every time I come away happy. Best slice ever? I’m not going to go that far, and if you read my pizza series you’ll know I am not a big fan of categorizing pizza in that manner. But Antico pizza is special. The care in each pizza is palpable (and delicious). Giovanni and his crew set the mark for hospitality. The patrons give each other the little nod while in line, as if to say, “yeah, I’m in on it too”. And the diavaola pizza with spicy sopressata and fiery marinated calabrese peppers haunts my dreams.
The one problem I’ve had with Antico’s pizza is that it can get quite soggy in the center, often within minutes, which I find to be problematic, especially when the business model is, or at least was intended to be, takeout. This pizza needs to be eaten right away. Before I took a pie home last Friday night, I made a point to stand at the communal table and devour two slices before heading out. In the eight minutes it took me to get in my kitchen, the pizza was a limp mess. It was still edible by folding it over, but it just wasn’t the same.
I noticed on the box that holes have been punched in the top, something that I didn’t notice on the first pie I took home a week ago. I wonder if Antico did this in attempt to reduce the steaming effect on the takeout?
Instead of eating the soggy pizza, I decided to forego eating for a few minutes and try to reheat it, but I wasn’t quite sure how to go about it. Pizza stone? Directly on the rack? Aluminum foil?
I finally settled on using a cookie sheet. I figured the pizza is already cooked, we just need to crisp the bottom surface. A hot pizza stone is going to bake the pizza quickly, and cooking directly on the rack won’t provide the hot surface we need all over the bottom of the slice.
I placed the sheet in the oven, then heated it to 400 degrees. Once it reached temp, I threw two slices directly on the sheet and promptly heard them sizzle.
They came out fantastically. The sauce dried out a bit, as reheated pizza normally does, but in a short three minutes the dough crisped up perfectly. The tip of the pizza was just dry enough to support the load of the toppings, no longer soggy at all, and the crust puffed up and became light and chewy and wonderful. Dare I say, the crust was even more enjoyable than it was right out of Antico’s ovens, when I thought it was a bit heavy on this particular pie.
Not that reheating pizza on a heated cookie sheet is some sort of amazing discovery, but if you are dealing with a soggy Antico pizza, I highly recommend going this route. Let me know how it goes, or if you have better results with other methods.