Into Shelley’s Belly: The BBQ Chicken Pizza at Serious Pizza

The Big Meat pizza (left); Serious interior (right) photos by Matthew Shelley

After I finished putting together my mother’s almond milk bubble bath, I left her a note to tell her I’d be skipping out on her chili lasagna with bologna sugar cube wraps. She’s a bit of an artisan when it comes to dining combinations, but tonight was going to be my night. I had to break free from form and let loose the hair that I couldn’t grow because of a microwave accident I suffered in my late teens. My friend Jason has a second cousin who knows a guy that works at the post office, and he said that he overheard a couple of his customers raving about this new mecca of hipster grunge called Serious Pizza. It sounds like just the place for me to launch my shamisen one man band and show the world my brand of cool, while also absorbing a little of theirs.

Jump and get more serious.

Pizza in the early stages
Darius & Latoya prepare the slices, the bottle cap bar top

I pulled into Deep Ellum and parked my Fiat near the corner. The glowing neon of Serious Pizza felt like home. Those dudes from the post office were not lying. This place has all the best elements of classic hipster grunge: backed leather bar stools, painted brick walls, high ceilings, bright neons, and a custom bottle-top bar counter. The parlor style bench seating, open kitchen, and young, hip dough-tossers were covered in tattoos and flour. I normally only cry when I watch La Bamba, but the waterworks were in full effect as soon as I entered this magnificent garage- style pizza palace. It was an experience in itself just watching the process take place. Latoya behind the counter shot the orders on a wire across the bar top, the pizza ovens glistened with smoke, and the line of preparations worked fluidly with a majestic cohesion. There is an oversized chalkboard menu with pizzas, calzones, salads and even a vegan option. I feel like I’ve fallen through a rabbit hole into some glorious underground party where everyone is going to get lucky.

The BBQ chicken with Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Sauce

The pizza itself is a triumph of cuisine. With all the light-wristed, pansy pies flying around this city lately, it’s a joy to see a place celebrating the essence of in-your-face pizza. The dough is made in-house, as is the sausage and pizza sauce. It’s a fresh-everyday philosophy here with the veggies coming from the farmers market and the slices made to order. If you’re daring enough to order a large pizza, be ready to struggle getting it out the door.

The Stout (left); Order here sign (right)

I started out with a slice called “The Big Meat” with pepperoni, housemade sausage, ham, meatballs, and bacon (each of which were cuddled together in every bite). This is a meat lover’s dream. Each bite feels deliciously raunchy, and the meaty satisfaction culminates well with most of their full bodied beers. I’ve always liked a good stout with my pie, so I chose Young’s Double Chocolate Stout. Continuing my lascivious descent into pizza paradise, I ordered a slice of the BBQ chicken pizza. It’s a more sensuous slice than The Big Meat. Grilled chicken, onions, and mozzarella were brought out by Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Sauce, and I now have discovered the perfect marriage of BBQ and pizza. These hand-tossed thin crust beauties set me into a whirling pantheon of cosmic enchantment. One slice would be sufficient for most, but I couldn’t help myself. This place is serious about cool and serious about pizza, so unbutton your trousers and let the wild winds of spontaneous indecency run rampant through your hidden desires. As Nietzsche said, “There is more wisdom in your body than in your deepest philosophy,” so let your body do the thinking and put this pizza in your mouth.