ZaZa Wood-Fired Pizza and Mediterranean Cuisine
3550 Executive Pkwy, Toledo
Some time ago, a monthly tradition began with new friends and neighbors. When we realized we shared a fanatical love for pizza, we went on a mission to introduce each other to various pizzerias. Lucky for all of us, the Toledo area has quite a varied selection of pizza pie and we are slowly eating our way through the list, one delicious slice at a time.
Grape leaves and pizza?
ZaZa’s is true Italian pizza baked in a brick oven im- ported from Italy. Yet, they offer Mediterranean cuisine as well. Oh I had my doubts. It’s an interesting story, re- ally. Not being the shy type, I had a few questions for owner Saif Dari. For starters, what is up with authentic Italian pizza and tabouli and hummus at the same es- tablishment? Truly I found it a bit odd. Dari is Palestin- ian but spent many years in Italy and eventually owned his own pizzeria there. When he moved to Ann Arbor in 2003, his wife spent much time at the family Mediter- ranean restaurant.
After dabbling in the pizza franchise industry, Dari knew he needed to get out on his own and share the true Italian pizza pies he loved with others. He loves Mediter- ranean cuisine as well, so his wife assisted him in perfect- ing their recipes. Everything is made fresh daily and they are vegan friendly as well.
There isn’t a kids’ menu, but pizzas range from $7-$12.50 and leftovers are always great. They also of- fer lasagna, additional salads, kibbie, fries and more. My friend was rubbernecking at every gyro platter that went by, and the word is that the chicken tawook and chicken shawarma are very good as well.
Great wall of pizza
ZaZa’s pizza is styled after the Veneto region of Italy. Veneto is far north and the pies are all about the va- riety of toppings. It is thinner than Nea- politan but has the same great wood- fired flavor.
I was a tad overwhelmed when we walked in and there was a display of the 23 varieties of pizza. Are you kidding me? The employee at the counter was very friendly and gave us a take-out menu to look over at our table. You order at the counter, pay, select your beverage, and take your number to your table. After you are seated, the
waitress will take care of anything else you need. With our large group that included several young kids, it seemed we always needed something and they were most accommodating. The fast casual concept is a family friendly relaxed atmosphere with kids in tow and the food was prepared quickly which is always a bonus with hungry kids.
“We do everything from scratch,” said Dari. Af- ter trying the hummus, tabouli, and of course pizza, I don’t doubt that. If it is not perfect to Dari’s taste, then it won’t be served. Everything we tried was wonderful.
However, since we are fanatical pizza lovers that want to try it all, we all ordered a different pizza, as did our kids, and then we sampled each other’s pie. For a foodie I couldn’t have asked for it a better way! We started with tabouli, hummus, and fattoush to share. Just as we have the calamari rule, we also try hummus ev- erywhere we go and it passed with flying colors. Even though the pizza was speedy, it was helpful to have something for the kids to munch on while we waited.
After studying the vast array of pizza choices, we fi- nally ordered. We tried pizzas with mushrooms, grilled eggplant, arugula, gorgonzola, etc. It was a fabulous food fest! The children were content with basic pepperoni pizzas and a margherita pizza. We will be back for sure and probably sharing a gyro and chicken shawarma with our pizza pie.
Bottom Line: Who knew there were so many varieties of pizza? If you enjoy ultra-thin crust pizza with wood fired flavor, you will enjoy ZaZa’s. It’s fast and casual and perfect for family dining. You can’t go wrong with the Mediterranean offerings either.
Karen Zickes is a mom to three active children and a freelance writer who resides in Holland, OH. She can be reached in c/o email@example.com