I’m no historian, but pizza was probably rare in the Old West. That’s too bad for the cowboys, because Nitza’s Pizza shows us what they were missing.
This new pizzeria in Old Town serves the classic circular Italian-American favorite in a rustic southwestern environment.
It sits below the on the corner of Fifth and Front streets and opened about a month ago. It’s a little place with four tables and a bar inside and four tables on the patio.
Its specialty is pizza, which sells by the slice for $3, with a soda for $5 or with a soda and salad for $7. A 14-inch pizza with six slices runs $16 or a large with eight slices costs $18.
All the usual toppings are available, and they’re going to be excellent, because what makes this place great is its crust. It’s soft, but not like Dominos or Pizza Hut. Those places’ dough is soft, but heavy and chewy. Nitza’s dough reminds me of the bread Scarcella’s Italian Restaurant serves before their meals. It’s light and fluffy with just a hint of oil drizzled on it.
If you’re going here, though, go for the special pizzas. You won’t get these anyplace else.
The Spicy Cowgirl has a serrano cream sauce topped with cheese, shrimp, jalapenos, roma tomatoes, red onion and cilantro. The Singing Cowboy has a white cream-sauce base topped with cheese, seasoned prime rib chunks, bacon, mushrooms and grilled onions. The Gambler has a plum tomato sauce topped with cheese, pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms and olives.
I tried the barbequed chicken pizza. It had a mildly spicy barbeque sauce topped with the house cheeses and smoked gouda cheese, red onion, cilantro and topped with big chunks of roasted chicken. The chunks were moist and the barbeque sauce was just right – not too sweet or overpowering.
The place has six beers on tap, four wines by the glass for $7 and three local wines by the glass for $8 and $9 and bottle for $28 to $30.
It has a few non-pizza dishes, such as the $9 Stromboli – a pizza dough pilled with toppings and mozzarella, three salads from $8 to $10, four bar-style appetizers from $5 to $11 and four subs ranging from $8 to $10 – and I like that they don’t try to trick you into thinking you’re spending less money by charging $7.95 or $9.95. They say it like it is: $8 and $10.
It opens at 11 a.m. everyday except for Mondays, when it's closed. Happy hour runs from 3 p.m. until close on Tuesday through Thursday and 3 p.m. until 7 p.m. from Friday to Sunday. The phone number's 951-695-4444.
This would be a great place to go with a friend or take a small family of four or five for something a little classy but not too formal. And for the pizza fan, it’s a must.