Houston has been experiencing an influx of new pizza places, including Gold Tooth Tony’s in the Heights, which serves Detroit-style pizza; Nonno’s in Montrose, which offers a Midwestern tavern-style pizza, and Neighbors in Second Ward, which bakes up crispy, cheesy New York-style pizzas by the slice or whole pie. Yet another pizzeria is on its way, and this local pizza joint is looking to combine a couple of different styles.
Shawn Bermudez and chef Matthew Pak, co-owners and partners behind local mainstays like the Burger Joint and the Taco Stand, are officially entering the pizza game with a new pizzeria and pasta restaurant, aptly called the Pizza Place.
Located at 2124 North Shepherd Drive across from the Katz’s, this new pizza joint will offer a super casual place to dine on fresh pizza, pasta, salad, and gelatos, all of which will be made in-house. The pizza, which will be baked in a custom-made Fiero Forni gas and wood oven, however, will be the main fixture — with Pak offering what the owners call a Neopolitan- and New York-style hybrid.
“I follow everything pizza, and I’ve been following it for years,” he says. “I’ve been messing around with dough for over a year now. ... As far as this style of pizza, I don’t know what to call it or if there’s even a name for it.”
Pak says he’s aiming to capture the crispy, bubbliness, and chewy texture of a Neopolitan crust while avoiding the sag in the middle that can be bad for delivery. Instead, he’ll incorporate a crispy middle that channels New York-style pizza.
The inspiration behind the pizza comes from Pak’s years in upstate New York, where he says he worked in pizzerias and became intrigued with different styles of dough and pizza making.
Pak says he and Bermudez decided that pizza would be that venture because “we always go with the popular stuff.”
“We’re looking to have as much business as possible and do something that everybody loves and that people eat very often — pizza being one of those things,” Pak says. From the start, we always had a burger concept in mind. Me and my partner always wanted to do a taco place, and ... and we’ve always loved pizza.”
The 3,800-square-foot restaurant, which is slated to open in fall 2024, is now under construction, he says, and renderings show that a majority of the restaurant’s space — more than half — will be dedicated to a massive covered outdoor patio that will welcome diners throughout the year.
The Pizza Place will be open from 11 a.m. to midnight daily for dine-in, take-out, and delivery following its opening in fall 2024. 2124 N. Shepherd Drive.