Wood Fired Pizza Wine Bar

Part of my USF Dining Guide

Wood Fired Pizza Wine Bar is a unique experience into pizza. When most people think of a pizza joint, they think of fountain soda machines, kids screaming and running around the place, and large families taking a trip out to eat. Wood Fired Pizza is none of those things. Wood Fired Pizza is elegant and a great place to take a date or a close friend, I have seen plenty of people on dates during visits. The restaurant is dimly lit and the tables and chairs aren’t what you find in a normal pizza restaurant, they are sleek and stylish. My friend and I decided to order their Michaelangelo pizza during our last visit (House Made Fresh Mozzarella, Pepperoni, San Marzano Tomatoes, Caramelized Mushrooms, Caramelized Onions, Organic Herbs) Grandi size ($20). The waitress during our visit was very friendly and helpful throughout our meal and the pizza expert himself, Peter Taylor, came to our table to let us sample a slice of a new pizza he was concocting made out of pork. My friend and I agreed it was the best free sample we have ever had.

Our pizza was a work of art. Each part of it from the crust, to the sauce and cheese, and the toppings was enjoyable. The onions and mushrooms were sweet and crunchy, melting away in our mouths. The cheese and sauces were unique and flavorful. The crust had a crunch to it. Any piece of our pizza that might fall off was instantly picked up with a fork and consumed. The flavor of the pizza hasn’t been matched by any place in Tampa that I have visited. Everything tastes so fresh, it is hard to relate the pizza to other pizzas because most pizza places try and fail to deliver this level of quality in a pizza. Normally after eating a bunch of pizza you feel a little sick because of all the grease that you just put into your body, but Wood Fired Pizza left us feeling great. One thing we haven’t been able to try yet that we want to try is their vintage sodas.

At the end of our meal the waitress brought us the dessert menu, but we were too full to try anything. The cannoli caught our eye and we debated for about twenty to thirty minutes before deciding we just too full. Wood Fired Pizza is located near the University of South Florida on Bearss Ave. near Soho Sushi and Collegiate Hall. The price range may be a little bit too high for a college students budget, but splitting the bill with a few friends may remedy that. The pizza creations at Wood Fired are worth the prices, in my opinion. Wood Fired also offers beer and wine specials on various nights and a happy hour (check their website for details on that). If you’re ever craving pizza and want to take a date out or go to dinner with a few friends, drive over to Wood Fired and experience pizza in a way you never have before.

Wood Fired Pizza Wine Bar on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Name: Wood Fired Pizza Wine Bar

Cuisine: Pizza

Address: 2822 E Bearss Ave. Tampa, FL 33613

Phone Number: (813) 341-2900

Neighborhood: USF

Website: http://wood-firedpizza.com/

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Cappy’s Pizzeria opens in Riverview

Cappy’s Pizzeria opened last week in Riverview where Cuenelli’s once stood and I finally got a chance to try earlier today after eagerly awaiting it’s arrival this past year. Cappy’s is only open from 5-9PM Sunday-Thursday and 5-10PM Saturday and Sundays, so keep that in mind when planning your pizza trip. I ordered over the phone and it took only 20 minutes for them to prepare my large New York style pepperoni pizza ($12). Cappy’s is cash-only, and while some people complain about this lack of convenience, I can’t blame them for running a simple business model with the expensive fees that credit card companies charge small businesses. The inside of the restaurant looks great, they really added their own touch to the establishment. The pizza was nice and hot and still warm when I made it back home.

The slices were huge. Plenty of pepperoni, which was savory with each bite. The crust had a smoked taste and the cheese was rubbery as New York-style pizza normally is. The crust was harder than most pizzas made in Tampa Bay, which might turn-off people who haven’t tried their pizza before. After my first bite I quickly got used to the different taste and texture of the pizza. The pizza was a little greasy, but not so much that it would drench the pizza.  There wasn’t much sauce on the pizza, as usual for this style. It tasted fresh and I was full with just a few slices. I want to try Cappy’s Chicago-style pizza, but I need to have a few more diners with me for that because I can’t imagine eating a loaded Chicago pizza alone.

Cappy’s Pizzeria coming to Brandon/Riverview is a great new development for local business in the area and I doubt I’ll be ordering Domino’s or Pizza Hut anytime soon. Lookout there is a new pizza choice in town.

Cappy's Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Name: Cappy’s Pizzeria

Cuisine: Pizza

Address: 6260 Winthrop Town Center Ave Riverview, FL 33578

Neighborhood: Riverview

Phone Number: (813) 662-4811

Website: http://www.cappyspizzaonline.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Cappys-Pizza/175562309134957

Mel’s Hot Dogs

Mel’s Hot Dogs is a part of my USF Dining Guide.

Mel’s Hot Dogs is well-known as one of Tampa’s best places to have a Chicago-style hot dog since 1973. The menu has a number of quality hot dogs, corn dogs, chicken choices, and burgers to choose from. Once you decide what main entree you want you, you choose whether to upgrade to a basket and have coleslaw or baked beans with french fries. They have both soda and draft beers to choose from.

My personal favorite is their corn dogs ($2.50). They are crispy just like you would have at a fair, such as the Florida State Fair, and the beef hot dogs inside taste fantastic. The french fries are also crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. The baked beans are usually sweet and the coleslaw tastes like real home-made slaw.

The hot dogs ($2.75) vary depending on which one, but you can usually count on the bun to be toasty and soft and the beef to taste just right. I normally will not eat hot dogs, but Mel’s is probably the only place where hot dogs actually taste good to me and it’s because of their attention to making quality food. I have tasted their Angus Beef Burgers ($4.75) as well and was impressed with how good it tasted, Mel’s can do more than just your average hot dog. Checkout their menu for more.

The employees are friendly and strike up a conversation every once in awhile. Normally you only wait a few minutes for your food and Mel’s is located right next to Busch Gardens and just two miles from USF so it is a convenient local business for students and tourists to stop at. There is plenty of seating for both small and large parties as well, though parking is a little limited they have extra in the back.

Justin happy with his hot dog.

Mel's Hot Dogs on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Name: Mel’s Hot Dogs

Cuisine: American

Address: 4136 E Busch Blvd. Tampa, FL 33617

Neighborhood: USF

Phone Number: (813) 985-8000

Website: http://www.melshotdogs.com/

*Prices do not include basket prices