Yesterday, a Facebook page came to our attention. It was for a place called Zoli’s New York Pizza Tavern. In the “about” section, it said: “If you hate Cane Rosso, you’ll love Zoli’s. True Old School NY style pizza joint. We even have chicken and ranch dressing. Coming as soon as we can find the right space.” Curiously, the address listed, 2612 Commerce St., was the address for Jay Jerrier’s Cane Rosso.
Shortly after we asked Jerrier about the page, it disappeared. And when I say “we,” I mean Carol. He wouldn’t respond to our email. Again, “our” means Carol’s. So I was brought into this investigation, because I know Jerrier. And when I say “know,” I really mean “have embarrassing, possibly marriage-ending photos of.” (No, no. Just kidding. I have Jerrier’s cellphone number because of this story I wrote about him. That’s all. Really. (Maybe.))
So here’s the deal: Jerrier knows this guy from New York named Lee Hunzinger. Hunzinger came to Dallas awhile back to help out at Cane Rosso. Then he returned to NYC. But before he left, Hunzinger and Jerrier kicked around plans to open a New York-style pizza place. They have a test kitchen of sorts, with a deck oven, in the back of Cane Rosso. You know, crispy crust, sell it by the slice. All that.
“We just like pizza,” Jerrier says, by way of explaining how he could proselytize for Neapolitan pie and then turn around and do such a thing. “A lot of people hate Cane Rosso. The crust isn’t crispy. There’s no chicken. I get that. And I’ve been eating it for five years. New York style is, like, forbidden fruit to me.” He spent some time working there and came to love the slices served in that fine city.
Hence Zoli’s, named after Jerrier’s first dog. Hunzinger is returning to Dallas to be the executive chef. He has a pie called the CBR, for chicken, bacon, and, yes, ranch. Jerrier says it’s awesome.
And the location of this joint? Right now, the “leader in the clubhouse,” as he put it, is an 1,800-square-foot spot in Oak Cliff. The lease has been negotiated but is not yet signed. On the off chance that it doesn’t work out, Jerrier has scouted other locations, too, including one in East Dallas.
So there you have it. The full scoop. Unless you want to see those pictures of Jerrier. Follow me on Twitter. If I don’t get the first pie out of the oven at the new White Rock Cane Rosso, I’ll share them with the world.