If Houston has proved anything with its pizzerias, it’s that they can be good at more than just one thing. Betelgeuse Betelgeuse prides itself on both pizza and space-themed cocktails, and Pizaro’s goes beyond its expertise of Napoletana-style pies, also cooking up New York- and Detroit-style slices. New to the scene is Elro Pizza and Crudo, a pizzeria that offers a novel combination of hot specialty pizzas and light, refreshing fare to appease Houstonians in any season — but especially in the heat.
The anticipated restaurant, helmed by Terrence Gallivan — the chef behind the lauded, albeit shuttered restaurant, the Pass and Provisions, finally opened at 2405 Genesee Street on Friday, June 23, after more than a year-long wait.
Named for Gallivan’s children Eleanor and Ronan, the restaurant focuses on specialty wood-fired pizzas and a variety of seasonal crudo for a balance of hearty and warm with light, cold and refreshing dishes. Diners can find items like Elro’s smoked kampachi, made with shisho, pumpkin seeds, and yuzukoshu, alongside its Neptilla-cured salmon, made with apples, celery, and hazelnut. Pizzas range from creative combinations like its chorizo pizza, topped with Mahon cheese, piquillos, and arugula, or its mushroom pizza made with smoked maitake, Scamorza cheese, and rosemary, to its classic mozzarella made with tomato sauce and basil.
Salads, snacks, and hoagies, or sub sandwiches, made with homemade bread will also grace the menu, along with beer on tap, classic and specialty cocktails, and a short and sweet list of hand-picked wines, a feature that pulls from Gallivan’s experience as a wine buyer at Pass and Provisions.
The idea for Elro came from a combination of people’s love of pizza and the hope to balance out the menu with lighter, cold dishes that will be refreshing to Houstonians in the heat.
“I really just wanted to have a place where the food is simple and well sourced and delicious,” Gallivan told Eater Houston. “It’s something that’s different enough appeals to a wider audience.”
Gallivan says the location is also exciting. Housed in a vintage bungalow, “the whole idea is for the space to feel homey,” Gallivan says in a statement. “It will be a place you can pop in for a drink and bite with friends in shorts and flip flops or can be a date night spot.”
Though Gallivan says he’s far removed from Pass and Provisions, which opened in 2012 and closed after a seven-year run in 2019, Elro is informed, in some ways, by Gallivan’s experience at the two-part restaurant, he says. (Pass was the tasting menu side of the restaurant and Provisions, a more casual neighborhood restaurant that served pasta and pizza), “[Elro is] a streamlined version of what we were kind of doing at Provisions to some degree,” Gallivan says.
Betty Maccagnan, the same designer who worked on the Pass and Provisions, has designed Elro, incorporating a playful space that welcomes families and couples. Diners will find a wallpaper used throughout the space that features a whimsical Fable print that harkens back to children’s stories and rich colors. The dining room, which seats 16 people, features green velvet vintage chairs with hints of yellow and blue — Gallivan’s children’s favorite colors, plus globe lights and terracotta-like tiles on the 16-seat bar, which is a nod to traditional pizzerias. The 40-seat patio, which is first-come, first-serve, uses vintage iron patio furniture with white paint and tropical pink fabric for a relaxed vibe.
While opening weekend only featured dinner service, Elro will soon expand to lunch service starting this Wednesday, and will soon add lunch and dinner service on Tuesdays.
Elro is open from noon to 10 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday for lunch and dinner. Reservations are available for the dining room, but the patio is first-come, first-serve.