Loco for Locale

Dec 11, 2013, 10:10 PM | Updated: 10:10 pm

Seriously, it’s impossible to even type these words without getting that mouthwatering feeling.

We’re talking about La Piazza Locale — a place that makes seriously impressive pizza. In case you haven’t heard, there’s a little pizza joint in Glendale that, ever since Guy Fieri stopped by, has been a little tricky to get into. That place is called La Piazza al Forno and it, too, makes a mean pie. Well, now there’s almost always a seat waiting at La Piazza’s second location in downtown Phoenix — La Piazza Locale on 1st Street between Washington and Adams.

Serving up “certified” Neapolitan pizzas, both La Piazza locations mix top shelf ingredients with brick oven-fired flavor to achieve that “wet” style pizza that’s as thin as can be, yet perfectly foldable once you get past that first corner of each triangular slice. Owned by Justin Piazza (the dude’s one letter away from having “Pizza” as a last name!), he’s put family member Joseph Aguayo in charge of all non-pizza menu items at Locale. And here, that’s a lot. Think apps like calamari and fried risotto balls with prosciutto, pastas, other antipasti, and salads with some of the peppiest dressings ever. You might remember Aguayo from Verde restaurant in downtown (in the space where Matt’s Big Breakfast now slings scrambled eggs). So ordering can be tricky — you’ve got Aguayo executing menu items with precision, but pizzas that are among the best. We say: just go big and take stuff home.

On a recent visit, we tried the Italian Stallion ($15) that layers a hearty mix of Italian sausage, pepperoni, prosciutto de Parma, and sopressata over house-made mozzarella. It’s a meat lover’s wet pizza dream. A tad smoky, spicy, a little sweet … it’s perfect. We also got a Regina Margherita D.O.C. ($14) which is a $3 upgrade over the regular Margherita thanks to mozz of the bufala variety, rather than plain ‘ole mozz. Seriously, both are good in their own right, so you decide which you’ll go for — you won’t be disappointed either way. Both pies also come with San Marzano Tomatoes D.O.P., extra virgin olive oil, and strands of fresh basil.

La Piazza Locale, it turns out, occupies the former Cartel Coffee Lab space, who moved a couple doors down to now-larger digs. Besides wine and beer, Locale also has a number of great cocktails on tap, all created by Arizona’s celebrity mixologist, Jason Asher.

But here’s the question on everyone’s mind: Will La Piazza Locale survive? Bianco’s a hopskip away up Adams Street. Pomo’s got a following and serves a very similar “certified” pie. Cibo still kills it after all these years. Within five minutes by car, you can hit the other Bianco’s connected to Italian Restaurant. There’s NYPD, Humble Pie, and Federal Pizza. There’s now a 10,000-square-foot Spinato’s more in midtown, and Parlor, one could say, is kindof in the ‘hood. Sheesh, we could go on … there’s a lot of pizza in Phoenix! But once thing La Piazza’s got that’s the mark of every good pie joint: consistently A+ pizza. We’re not gonna get into the ratings game of who’s better than who, but we definitely consider this among our towns’ best. So in that case, we predict La Piazza Locale in for the long haul.

Plus, there’s only about 15 tables, how can it not be busy. You’ll love it, so head in soon!

La Piazza Locale
1 N. First St. 
Phoenix, Ariz.
602-795-7116
www.lapiazzalocale.com

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Loco for Locale