Formaggio Gourmet Pizzeria6135 Lakeside Dr.
Reno, NV 89511
I just started University of Nevada, Reno’s MBA program and now give too much thought to other peoples’ businesses—what makes some work and some fail miserably. This spot was Blue Moon Gourmet Pizza’s original location. Windy City Pizzeria followed, and while their pizzas were passably good, they closed shop after a year. Now in what many could call an act of pure bravado or history-shucking stupidity, Formaggio Gourmet Pizzeria has opened up in the same location. Yet, if Formaggio’s sheer enthusiasm for food is enough to ensure success, it cannot be stopped.
My wife, Kat, and I walked into Formaggio on a quiet Sunday afternoon. They still need to remove the last external remains of Windy City because although the inside is quite comfortable, the exterior looks disheveled. I felt compelled to ask something horribly rude like, “How are you going to make it in this almost doomed location?” Luckily, I never had to ask because the server told us everything we could want to know about the restaurant, herself and her family, with whom she runs the place. Kat thought the waitress was too chatty, but Kat’s more of a book person. Plus, I’d already had a couple pints of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and kept asking questions. I would say our server was incredibly helpful, personable and knew just when to walk away.
Of course all this warm-hearted goodness isn’t worth a darn, much less your cash, if the pizza isn’t any good. Formaggio’s approach is an oldie, but a goodie: Love the food you serve, make that food healthful and fresh, and heap on the toppings. Kat and I ordered a medium specialty pizza—half Roman, half Italian ($19.95). The Roman comes with olives, artichoke hearts, sliced tomatoes, garlic and feta. The Italian comes with olives, pepperoni, Italian sausage, green peppers, mushrooms and diced tomatoes. The server brought us a cup of her mother’s homemade chunky blue cheese dressing for dipping. I was thrilled.
I thoroughly enjoyed the crispy thin crust and bounty of meat, cheese and veggies. Unfortunately, my pizza was missing the menu-promised pepperoni, but I couldn’t tell for some time because each slice was covered with so many veggies and so much melted cheese.
I couldn’t get very far through the pizza, having started my meal with the meatball sandwich ($7.95). The homemade meatballs are all covered in gooey cheese, served on a fresh baked pizza dough roll, and a cup of sauce on the side. The meatballs needed some spice, and the sauce was very low-sodium, but the roll made everything better. It was delicious and baked just to a light crunch.
Anything you want on your pizza that Formaggio doesn’t have, you can bring in, and they’ll put it on some dough for you. I was thinking about things I would want on a pizza that they wouldn’t possibly have. The server mentioned crab. Honestly though, considering how high they pile the toppings, if you asked Formaggio to put anything else on your pizza, the crust would collapse upon itself mid-lift, and, depending on how you were sitting, you might just spill the whole thing on your lap. Then your wife would laugh at you.