Keep On Truckin': Pi Pizza Truck

Pi Pizza Truck 009.jpg
My two favorite slices: The Outdoorsman and the Who's the Mac.
There's something very appropriate about the fact that Pi Pizza's truck, dubbed Pythagoras, is stationed outside Catbird's nearly every night. The back of the truck reads: "Pizza. Tattoos. Whiskey. Rock 'n' Roll." The latter three of those are found in spades inside Catbird's, the Montrose bar best known -- by me, at least -- for its fierce Manhattans and tattooed clientele, all of whom fairly exude rock 'n' roll.

And on the side of the truck, another paint job reads: "Gourmet pizza without the attitude." There's no attitude at Catbird's, and -- true to its truck slogan -- you won't find any at Pi Pizza either. Of all the bar-food truck pairings I've found in Houston, this one seems the most natural and the most appropriate.

I also say that because Pi's brand of kitchen-sink-topped pizzas also taste best after a few of Catbird's ultra-strong Manhattans. This is drunk food of the highest order, and as such is probably not best appreciated sober.

But it was with a sober mind and belly that I ordered four slices at Pi this weekend. It was a dumb move that I won't pull again, as four Pi Pizza slices equal one large pizza. Complain about the prices all you want (I won't), but $7 to $8 for a slice isn't expensive when you consider that one enormous slice will feed two people -- or one hungry drunk.

Pi Pizza Truck 001.jpg
Seriously...that's a lot of pizza for $28.
I had a buddy with me that night who I tasked with walking across Yupon to La Fendee for some salads to go with our enormous pizza (this is a pro-tip; feel free to use it), a buddy who used to own and run a pizzeria of his own. He's always much harder on pizza than I am and wasted no time in tearing Pi's pies apart.

"The crust is great," he admitted. It fell right into that sweet spot of being substantial enough to support an array of toppings while being neither too thin nor too doughy (the latter of which many Houston pizzas tend to be). We both loved The Outdoorsman with its fat slices of vaguely sweet venison sausage; it was the most traditional of the pizzas we ordered. But that's where his compliments ended.

"Pi Pizza is like pizza for kids," he told me after some rumination. "I'm convinced that guy takes pizza suggestions from his friends, some of which are still in high school."

Ouch.

pipizzatruck.jpg
I tend to disagree with my pizza purist friend, however. Pi's pizzas are inherently immature, but in a fun and intentional way. It's this last thing which really counts: You are intentionally ordering a macaroni-and-cheese-and-bacon covered slice of pizza, so both you and the truck have to be slightly immature on some level. Embrace that shit. It's wonderful when you do.

It's the same attitude with which you have to approach slices like the 420. It's a pizza named after weed, topped with the same stuff stoners want when they're well and truly baked: chili-cheese Fritos, barbecue sauce, heaps of mozzarella cheese. If you find yourself taking that slice of pizza too seriously, then -- my friend -- you need to either take a few steps back or retreat to the loving confines of Pizaro's Pizza Napoletana, where you'll get a pizza made as close as possible to the strict hegemony of the Old World.

Here at Pi, it's about fun and it's about getting spicy nacho cheese Doritos on a pizza because it's silly and because you can. Sure, it's not going to taste better than a margherita from Pizaro's or an arugula-topped pie from Dolce Vita, but that's not why you're here.

That said, the pizzas themselves can use a little work: the tomato sauce was a little too sweet for most of the toppings, while the bacon in the Who's the Mac macaroni-and-cheese-and-bacon-topped pizza was undercooked and sliced too thinly to be effective. I picked it off and enjoyed the mac 'n' cheese much better on its own.

But they're still good. And they're about to be a whole lot better: Pi has started a delivery service for those nights when you just can't make it out to Catbird's. According to its Facebook page, "High-fives are passed out based on driver's discretion & are done so at no extra charge."



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Location Info

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Catbirds

1336 Westheimer, Houston, TX

Category: Music

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25 comments
markbrawley
markbrawley

It would be nice if we could organize our food truck vendors into a great location like what they have done in Austin and Ft Worth

H_e_x
H_e_x

I hate the empty lots food trucks park on in Austin. They should move around town, because who wants to go to an empty lot in 100+ degree weather just for some grub?

Kelli
Kelli

I do

H_e_x
H_e_x

Then Austin is a short drive away. Lets keep Houston 200 miles away, the way it should be. Keeping a food truck stationary kind of defeats the whole purpose. Might as well just buy a shed or something.

Mag
Mag

what area of town are they in Austin?  That might be worth a road trip!

EC
EC

Putting Fritos and mac n cheese reminds me of something an elementary school student would do.  Doesn't even sound appetizing. 

Anthem281
Anthem281

Sorry but this review was way too nice.  This pizza is garbage.  I can go to Costco for a cheaper, equally large and most importantly tasty slice of pizza.  The truck owner has lots of friends that try to support him by cheering his venture on, but ultimately the only thing that will truly help is raising the quality of the pizza he serves.  

Kelli
Kelli

I really wasnt a fan, and I really wanted to be.  We went Christmas Eve after looking at lights in River Oaks and I was super excited ESPECIALLY when I saw the size of the slice.  I love almost all food trucks (with special eyes for Modular, Rice Box Truck, HTown Streats, and newly Stick It) but I just didn't like the slice I got.  I'd much rather head over to Brother's for a slice.  #justsaying

Stacio1982
Stacio1982

@Kelli where is brothers? never heard of it.

Naggrom
Naggrom

Catbirds calls itself a jazz bar and only plays jazz music.  Any requests to play rock and roll are met with scoffs.  Seriously, it's on says jazz bar right there on the sign, or you could have just looked at the website.

Teldar
Teldar

Catbirds USED to be a jazz bar when it was called Dizzy's. When it was Dizzy's it was a coffee and wine bar and had jazz music on an almost nightly basis. Catbirds is no more jazz than Fantasy is a novelty store.

Amanda
Amanda

I'm with Katharine on this. Catbirds touts itself as a jazz club, but the core crowd is proudly rock 'n roll with a good dose of classic '90s slacker. :)

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

As a side note, "classic '90s slackers" are still exactly the kind of boys I continue to crush on to this day...

John
John

Have you been to a real jazz bar, and have you been to Catbird's? Clearly there's a disconnect.

jason tinder
jason tinder

For me it is about the crust which is astounding.  They are fun, tasty and very cool people to boot.  Their pies are deserving to be in the top pizza listicle and they do pepperoni slices for $5.  All the best to the ninjas.

CameronByars
CameronByars

Wow, thanks for the details. Can't wait to try!!!

Matthew
Matthew

i'll disagree that one slice can feed two people. MAYBE two chicks who've recently had dinner or are full of booze. the slices are large, but not really any bigger than two slices of a normal large pizza from any mega-chain. i don't know many people that eat one slice of pizza (half of their slice) and call it a day.

that said, their stuff is very tasty, but $1-2 too expensive per slice. ordering two slices of their pizza for lunch (not an unrealistic portion size for an average adult american male) is a $15+ proposition. i don't know what his finacials look like, so maybe he can't lower the price. that's fine, but i probably won't go on a regular basis like i would otherwise.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

I guess portion size varies between individuals. I couldn't make it through one enormous slice (a whole slice, not the cut-in-half portions shown above) all by myself. Sober, that is. But I know plenty of ladies with far larger appetites than mine who - you're correct - wouldn't consider one slice a portion size.

Felderman
Felderman

One slice is a quarter of 16" pie! A QUARTER! That is a lot of food and more than one serving!  Look at the photo above, each slice is different AND cut into two and even those are large! I'll have to disagree and say that one slice of Pi Pizza is definitely a decent portion. 

TOM
TOM

Just to clarify those slices are split in half, so it is a BIG ass slice of pizza! 

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

Yes, I should have clarified. The truck kindly offered to cut each piece in half for easier eating. They are big-ass slices of pizza!

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