Toledo Talk

Wood Fired Pizzeria comes to Toledo!

I just stopped at the UPS Store on Executive Parkway off Secor. Right next to the UPS Store there is a Coming soon - Za Za Wood Fired Pizzeria sign. I have not had Za Za's but it looks like the real deal. I Google searched their Margarita pizza images and it looks good. This would be a very serious dilemma for the health conscious Danneskjold whose only saving grace has been that many of the coal fired and wood fired pizzerias are up near Detroit or further.

created by Danneskjold on Jan 07, 2013 at 03:30:45 pm     Food     Comments: 46

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Danneskjold: I notice their only two current locations are in Arkansas. Seems odd they'd choose to branch out here in Toledo. Think the Za Za we're getting and the one in your link are the same?

posted by Foodie on Jan 07, 2013 at 05:53:50 pm     #  

The Maumee Bay Brew Pub at the Oliver house has wood fired pizzas, good stuff. Try it. And the beer.

posted by Bruno on Jan 07, 2013 at 06:06:11 pm     #   5 people liked this

weird location for a nice pizza place!

posted by upso on Jan 07, 2013 at 06:07:32 pm     #  

I spoke to a young man unlocking the door at ZaZa. He said they are new to the area, not related to anyone else in the Mediterranean restaurant scene. They have owned restaurants before, but in Italy. That bodes well for the pizza side of things! He expects to be open in February.

posted by viola on Jan 07, 2013 at 06:43:10 pm     #  

Mancy's Italian also has Wood-fired Pizzas and they are very under rated. Their dough/ crust is killer.

posted by ahmahler on Jan 07, 2013 at 07:23:32 pm     #  

Viola and Foodie,

Not sure if I'm happy or sad. The one headquartered in Arkansas looked good but I'm also intrigued by the comments about the new owners.

Pizza Biga looks like they may be opening a location in Ann Arbor for fans Biga.

I enjoy Mancy's Italians pizza, not as much as Tomatoe's or Biga's in Michigan but for a restaurant that is not 100% pizza focused it is pretty good. I need to try Maumee Brew Pub at the Oliver House. I'm getting way too hungry right now!

posted by Danneskjold on Jan 07, 2013 at 09:06:30 pm     #   1 person liked this

Sounds wonderful, will definitely go.

posted by INeedCoffee on Jan 07, 2013 at 09:06:44 pm     #  

Biga is whole different thing. Probably the best pizza I've ever had outside of NY, and maybe even better than most of that. Mani Osteria is also quite good in A2. That currently hold sthe btitle of best pizza within 45 miles.

posted by ahmahler on Jan 07, 2013 at 09:17:47 pm     #  

New pizza place plans to open in Perrysburg on February 10.

5th Street Pub
105 W. 5th St.
at the corner of Louisiana Ave.
downtown Perrsyburg.

From the TCP article:

Geoff Kies takes his pizza seriously. ... he trained with the top: Roberto Caporuscio, the vivacious Italian owner of renowned NYC pizza place Keste Pizza & Vino.

5th Street Pubís Neapolitan pizza oven and even the tomatoes are coming straight from the Boot.

posted by jr on Jan 27, 2013 at 11:45:44 pm     #  


Thanks JR!

posted by Danneskjold on Jan 27, 2013 at 11:56:20 pm     #  

Just an update on 5th Street Pub...
They were supposed to open around February 10th but we called them today to see if they were open and it looks like it will be closer to March 7th.

So... it looks like a drive up to Pizza Biga's this weekend or end up checking out Maumee Bay Brew Pub at the Oliver House. We'll probably try Maumee Bay Brew Pub since it is local and we have not tried it yet.

posted by Danneskjold on Feb 13, 2013 at 11:48:31 pm     #  

The pizza place is being run by the owners of Lucky's.

And Danneskjold, if you venture down to Mutz while at the Oliver House: the buffalo chicken sandwich with fries amd a side of the beer cheese soup is one of the most satisfying meals in Toledo.

posted by Johio83 on Feb 14, 2013 at 12:47:23 am     #   1 person liked this

I'm full just thinking about it

posted by upso on Feb 14, 2013 at 07:43:59 am     #  

And don't worry upso, as I said, just "one of" ;) Grumpy's had me at pork belly and jalapeno mayo!

posted by Johio83 on Feb 14, 2013 at 09:46:21 am     #  

oh i'm not worried! ;)

posted by upso on Feb 14, 2013 at 11:14:15 am     #  

I guess this could also be posted in the Thin Neapolitan style Pizza Lovers thread.

Apparently, in Perrysburg opened on Mon, Mar 4.

Photos on their Facebook page of their menu.

Maybe I'm overlooking it, but I don't see a potato pizza on their menu. I thought potato pizza was popular in Italy. I was hoping the 5th Street Pub offered this option.

At home, I enjoy making pizza dough from scratch and baking it credit-card thin on a stone. I make the Margherita pizza often. I try to keep a basil plant alive for fresh basil. My wife makes and cans pizza/pasta sauce in the summer and fall, so we use that on the pizza. We have mozzarella cheese-making kit, and it's suppose to be easy to make this cheese, but we have not tried it yet for some reason. I think the Calder Dairy Natural Milk sold at the Phoenix Earth Food Co-op is a good choice to use when making mozzarella. For now, I buy the small barrels of mozzarella cheese at the store. And the other toppings are olive oil and coarse, grey sea salt. Our natural gas oven only goes to 550 degrees. I bake at 525. Apply the fresh basil after the pizza comes out of the oven. Simple and delicious.

But this winter, I started making a potato pizza (patate), and I like it equally as well as the Margherita. The potato pizza consists of yellow potatoes sliced thin with a mandoline and then soaked in water for a while. On the dough, it's just the potato slices, diced yellow onion, black pepper and olive oil. I still make a very thin crust, but I bake it much longer than the Margherita. The potatoes provided an excellent combination of crispy and soft.

I love pizza, and my favorite is what we make at home, but I need to visit a few places in the Toledo area to see what I'm missing. Plus, it's quicker to dash out somewhere for a Neapolitan style pizza. I like to let my pizza dough "age" in the frig for two or three days to develop flavor, so making pizza at home is not a spur of the moment thing.

The 5th Street Pub menu offers a funghi pizza option, but it says it also contains tomato sauce, which seems strange to me. I made a funghi pizza at home once, using cremini mushrooms sliced thin with the mandoline, but I used no sauce. It was just the shrooms, a lot of shrooms, diced yellow onion, salt, and olive oil. Excellent. The leftovers the next day were even better.

posted by jr on Mar 05, 2013 at 10:27:23 am     #  

now i'm hungry. thanks

posted by upso on Mar 05, 2013 at 10:45:55 am     #  

Any sauce on that potato pizza jr? If yes, what type?

posted by Foodie on Mar 05, 2013 at 01:14:33 pm     #  

Foodie posted at 12:14:33 PM on Mar 05, 2013:

Any sauce on that potato pizza jr? If yes, what type?

No sauce on the potato pizza, and none is needed. Same with the mushroom pizza. Adding a tomato sauce or some other sauce would interfere with the taste of the spuds and shrooms, in my opinion. Those pizzas taste great when those ingredients are the stars.

The potato pizza consists of yellow or gold spuds, yellow onion, olive oil, fresh ground black pepper, and good crust. It doesn't sound like much, and I was skeptical the first time, but it tastes great.

I got the potato and mushroom pizza recipes or ideas from Jim Lahey's book My Bread, but I use a different recipe to make the dough, and I bake on the stone instead of the baking sheets. Jim's recipe calls for fresh rosemary leaves, but I don't like rosemary.

I have not tried the Pizza Cipolla recipe (onion pizza). That pizza uses thinly-sliced yellow onions, heavy cream, salt, and fresh thyme. Sounds interesting.

Last summer, we visited the Black Star Farms winery in northern Michigan, and we ate at their cafe, which offered wood-fired, Neapolitan-style pizzas. They offered five styles of pizza. We got the Margherita pizza, but they also offered a potato pizza. From their menu (pdf file):

Potato [pizza]
yukon potato, Leelanau Cheese raclette and fromage blanc, roasted garlic oil, arugula, black pepper

Knowing what I know now, I would have ordered their potato pizza. Our Black Star Farms pizza was good, but the crust could have been better or airier. The one downside was that the person who made the pizza used a rolling pin to shape the dough. Even I can shape pizza dough by working it on the back of my knuckles. No need for a rolling pin. Use gravity. I know from experience that shaping pizza dough with a rolling pin can make the crust harder or tougher and prohibit the dough from bubbling up along the edges. When I learned to shape pizza dough in the air with my knuckles and fingers, then I stopped using a rolling pin.

Hopefully, these local pizza places are not using rolling pins to shape the dough. Maybe it's faster to use a rolling pin, but that kind of shortcut negatively impacts the overall enjoyment of the pizza. It's the little things that add up to something delicious.

posted by jr on Mar 05, 2013 at 04:32:01 pm     #  

Thanks jr. And, thanks for the links. You're dead on about the dough/crust. One of my first jobs in my youth was managing a pizzaria. The great thing was that the owner was all about quality. High quality ingredients, home made dough (his never divulged secret recipe) that we hand formed, tossed and spun in the air. It was a great learning experience and a fun job.

posted by Foodie on Mar 05, 2013 at 06:00:36 pm     #  

Jr - thanks for the information on Fifth Street Pub. We went there this evening for dinner. I think I might revisit attempting making pizza at home as well. Simplicity seems to be the key to the best pizza. I have not tried potato pizza before but I have seen it on menus. I think the main reason I stick with the Margherita is that in the past we have had to travel so far to get the style of pizza I like that I do not take risks. But that has changed!

Fifth Street Pub is Very good! Right now there is no other pizza around Toledo I know of that compares to it. It is very similar in taste to Pizza Biga. Biga crust edges Fifth Street slightly, basically in the bubbling that you mention above but it is very close and since IMO Biga sets the standard "Very close" is really good.

The links below should show you some pictures of the pizza we ate this evening. We ordered their standard Margherita. Then paid $1.00 extra for a pizza they call their "Real Deal Margherita" which adds grape tomatoes and Imported Mozarella instead of Fresh Mozzarella.

I preferred the Real Deal but both are great. Personally (IMO) this is not pizza that you order carry out and feed a family. This is pizza that is enjoyed immediately after it is pulled from the oven as it gets cold quickly. If eating with a group we even like to order one pizza at a time. They cook very quickly so there generally is not a long wait.

TomatoesAPizza Coal Fired location in Farmington Hills MI still is in a class by itself, not better then 5th Street or Biga but they do something differently I can' explain that is unquelly enjoyable. But I will be curbing my trips up to Biga now that I found I really enjoy 5th Street in Perrysburg. Thanks again Jr.

posted by Danneskjold on Mar 05, 2013 at 07:39:24 pm     #   2 people liked this

Those look amazing Danneskjold. Just solved my "wonder what we'll have for dinner Saturday" question. Thanks.

posted by Foodie on Mar 06, 2013 at 09:56:29 am     #  

WNWO News report on 5th Street Pub with pictures of oven and pizza making process:

posted by Danneskjold on Mar 11, 2013 at 10:21:32 pm     #   1 person liked this

Excited to be checking out Mani Osteria in A2 tonight. Any quick recommendations appreciated.

posted by Danneskjold on Mar 28, 2013 at 04:10:35 pm     #  

My favorites so far for antipasti is the crispy pork belly, pizza wise the red onion and pistachio. And if your looking for a great after dinner drink check out Ravens Club just down the street great old school cocktails. Mani's drinks arn't bad either thought.

posted by In_vin_veritas on Mar 28, 2013 at 04:16:50 pm     #  

Looking forward to your report on that outing Danneskjold. Enjoy!

posted by Foodie on Mar 28, 2013 at 04:30:33 pm     #  

I've heard nothing but good things about this 5th street pub

posted by upso on Mar 28, 2013 at 05:12:00 pm     #  

I visited 5th Street Pub over St. Paddy's Day weekend. Everyone in our group of 5 was very satisfied with the food. My experiences with wood fired pizza are rather limited, but the pizza was excellent in my opinion.

They also had a modest but good alcohol selection. Ambiance is a little goofy and it was rather crowded. I will definitely be going back for the food.

posted by brainswell on Mar 28, 2013 at 05:22:50 pm     #  

Great dinner in Ann Arbor tonight at Mani Osteria. Thanks to the people who brought it to our attention on Toledo Talk! Wow, we really do have a lot of good pizza options in the area and fortunately the list is growing (and getting closer)

We tried three items tonight at Mani Osteria, some pictures are linked below. We had two pizzas: The Margherita pizza and the Clam Pie. We also had the Pickled Tomato appetizer - a house specialty. We were heading to see a band play after dinner and that had an effect on our menu selection. We both would really like to try their Crispy Pork Belly appetizer next time we go as well as the Carbonara Tagliatelle pasta dish.

Maniís crust ranks right up with the best in the area - extremely light, and bubbly and each pizza was cooked perfectly. The only negative comment I had with my Margherita pizza is purely a personal preference issue. At Mani they dust it with a little fresh grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or other hard Italian cheese. We would ask them to withhold it next time as I thought it creates a more complex flavor and with the Margherita the simplicity is what we prefer best. Eating and enjoying Maniís pizza reaffirmed that 5th Street Pub in Perrysburg is a viable, quality pizza contender in the region. Though I think 5th Streetís crust might fall slightly below Biga or Mani the overall flavor and enjoyment of 5th Street is as high and 5th Street is still in its infancy and likely to continue to get better with experience.

The Clam Pie pizza was a little too flavorful for us. We did enjoy it but would probably opt for one of the other choices next time. The picture of the Clam Pie does not do it justice. The pizza is topped with Clams, mozzarella and white wine and is then covered with thin, crisp potatoes and a fresh lemon to squeeze on top. The only thing you see in the pictures is the potato topping.

The Pickled Tomato appetizer is their special take on Italian bruschetta and we would definitely order that again in a heartbeat. It comes with small, pickled tomatoes, whipped ricotta and tapenade (which is a olive, anchovy, caper, olive oil puree) You basically spread all that on fresh bread, mash it down and enjoy.

OhÖ we also had very good service. Informative, unpretentious and intent on making sure we enjoyed the meal.

The only Pictures on my FlickR account are of pizza. FreakyÖ. I admit it.

posted by Danneskjold on Mar 29, 2013 at 01:01:00 am     #  

Thanks for the post and the pics Danneskjold - the pics do the food enough justice to make me want to head there for lunch!

posted by Foodie on Mar 29, 2013 at 08:37:07 am     #  

So we finally made it to 5th St. the wife and I. A few observations: First of all the place looked great. As this is stumbling distance from the house, I predict I will return (a bit too) often. Really nice space, well appointed and homey, especially for a new joint.
Ordered a salad. They apparently dumped one of those big ass clamshells from the grocery on a plate and brought it out to us. No veg, no croutons, no nothing - weird big plate of greens. Good house dressing though.
We ordered their signature Margherita and it was - well, it tasted great. The crust, the sauce were really quite good. But the tomatoes were - grape! Seriously? Grape tomatoes on an "authentic" pizza d'napoli? C'mon man.
We'll be back. I'm really rooting for the place; they are doing a lot of things right. But grape tomatoes? Hopefully they will either find some decent romas to put on their pizza or just leave them off all together.
So, naturally, we consoled ourselves with a trip to Mani Osteria. Those pickled cherry tomatoes are ridiculous! The cauliflower soup was sublime and the drinks were out of this world. No one in Toledo serves drinks like that. No One.

posted by Progress22 on Apr 02, 2013 at 10:06:35 pm     #  

right on! thanks for the update!

posted by upso on Apr 02, 2013 at 10:39:33 pm     #  

Progress22 - I pretty much agree with your write up. Both Mani and Fifth Street put a small spin on each of their Margherita's. 5th Street adds the Grape tomato's and Mani dusts theirs with a hard grated cheese. I could probably do without both peculiarities but for me the Grape tomato's at 5th Street didn't greatly alter the flavor where the hard grated cheese at Mani's did.

I thought Mani's crust was a bit superior but 5th Street's taste and flavor were more enjoyable for my taste. Either way - I am very happy that we have a pretty darn good option (if not perfect yet) close to home. It really adds something unique to the Toledo area dining scene. (imo)

posted by Danneskjold on Apr 03, 2013 at 05:29:35 pm     #   1 person liked this

Just a quick update regarding Za Za's, appears to still be a work in progress and not yet open. Paper is up over the windows, so no way to see how close they are to opening....waiting patiently.

posted by breeman on Apr 04, 2013 at 11:28:27 am     #  

The best pizza I have had in this area is NeoPapalis in Downtown Ann Arbor. Opened up last year and is owned by the same company that owns Pizza Papalis in Downtown toledo. In fact their manager is the guy that opened up the one here. Instead of the Chicago style, it is thin crust and they have a good variety of toppings along with subs on homemade buns. The pizza tastes great and it only takes them about 5 minutes to bake one.

posted by classylady on Apr 18, 2013 at 03:58:27 pm     #  

We had 5th Street Pub in Perrysburg on Saturday. Let me tell you the wait was well worth it! That was some gosh darn good pizza. I tried the one with the Pesto Sauce instead of pizza sauce. AMAZING. Not to mention the beer is served in mason jars!

posted by stooks on May 13, 2013 at 07:42:35 am     #   1 person liked this

heading there tomorrow! looking forward to it!

posted by upso on May 13, 2013 at 08:35:18 am     #  

Upso, our waitress told us the oven they use to cook the pizzas was flown in from Italy. It was really nice. I def. will be going back to try all the variety of pizzas they offer!

posted by stooks on May 13, 2013 at 11:00:11 am     #  


posted by upso on May 14, 2013 at 10:45:19 pm     #  

Nice write up UPSO. Iíve been there now a few times. I find Iím a purist that only wants the Real Deal Margarita pizza which I think is far superior to their regular margarita pizza. A girl I work with tried their meatball smash on ciabetta bread using the creamy garlic sauce and said it was one of the best things she has eaten so I look forward to trying that my next time round.

My wife and I are fortunate we can get their for lunch and during early dinner hours when it is slow when the noise isn't too bad - I have heard that from a few people. It is good to see they are so busy. It is certainly a unique pizza method in this area and I was curious how well it would fly.

posted by Danneskjold on May 15, 2013 at 05:34:17 pm     #  

For those Pizza Freaks - In reference to UPSO's review above of Fifth Street Pub this is a picture of Pizzeria Biga's margerita pizza. (Biga has two locations in the Detroit Suburns and a third planned for Ann Arbor) - Note the crispiness and "bubbleness" of the crust in the photo. IMO Biga has the best crust around, however, Fifth Street Pub's flavor puts them right up there and I think Fifth Street being relatively new will likely continually refine and improve their crust. I hope they d not change much though - I truly enjoy it already.

posted by Danneskjold on May 15, 2013 at 09:13:19 pm     #  

Had dinner there tonight. Very nice. I thought the pizza was good by Toledo standards. But not ny or Chicago quality. The smashed meatball sandwich is a must. Staff were fast and good.

posted by bobo on May 16, 2013 at 10:12:42 pm     #  

I have been to ZaZa's several times. I like it better than 5th Street Pub becuase the crust is more tender and doesn't get soggy. By my estimation, a pizza cooks for 3 minutes. Unfortunately, there is no potato pizza option. However, one with marinated artichoke hearts is wonderful.

If you have tried both places, please tell us which place does what better than the other.

posted by JnJ on Jul 11, 2013 at 03:30:23 pm     #  

For those who have not yet tried Pizzeria Biga in Michigan they have now opened an Ann Arbor location under the name Bigalora. Hopefully will make it up there myself in a week or so. The only downside to the previous locations was the drive.

posted by Danneskjold on Nov 17, 2013 at 06:53:59 pm     #  

Not comparing ZaZa's pizza to anyone else. Normally I will eat at restaurants a few times before deciding if they are worth returning to. If I ever return to ZaZa's, I will not order another pizza because the one we ate their was so bland and tasteless that I have too many options to return.

posted by wrongo on Nov 18, 2013 at 08:47:22 am     #   1 person liked this

Unfortunately, you have to specify that you want additional free toppings when you order your pizza: oregano, basil and/or garlic. Otherwise, depending on your toppings, it can be bland without one or more of these freebies. But hey, free fresh basil? Yes, please.

posted by JnJ on Nov 18, 2013 at 10:02:30 am     #