A pizza concept coming soon to Southlake takes an approach that's entirely new — and that's saying something, given how many pizza concepts have opened in DFW. Called Delucca Gaucho Pizza, it's like a marriage between a pizzeria and a Brazilian-style churrascaria, and it will open a first location at 2001 W. Southlake Blvd.
In a classic churrascaria, servers circulate the dining room with meats. You indicate your readiness by turning your ticket green side up, and they bring the food to your table. At Delucca, instead of chunks of steak, it will be slices of pizza, with a choice of up to 20 flavors.
Husband-and-wife owners Evandro Caregnato and Vanderleia Mallmann know the churrascaria routine inside-out. Natives of Brazil, they worked for Texas de Brazil for many years, helping the chain open 54 locations around the world.
They knew they wanted to do a concept of their own and decided to merge their knowledge with the oh-so popular category of pizza.
"My husband has Italian roots, but we knew this would be something special and unique," Mallman says. "In Brazil, this is how you eat, with family and friends, sharing a table and many pizzas."
She says that the gauchos who created churrascaria steakhouses executed the same unlimited sampling format with pizza, in a casual yet elegant atmosphere, with wood-fired ovens in the background. The gauchos dubbed it "rodizio de pizza" and it remains a popular concept in their native country.
At Delucca, you pay a fixed price of $18.95 to sample an unlimited number of pizzas. It comes with a charcuterie and antipasto starter platter, a salad, and some seasonal small dishes. Then you wait for the pizza onslaught to arrive.
You can sample all the varieties or pick one. Choices include vodka sauce, sausage with fennel, shrimp and fontina cheese, steak and gorgonzola, chicken tikka masala, lamb and mint, soppressata and radicchio, mushrooms and leeks, and potato with rosemary and taleggio cheese.
Their signature flavor is the garlic picanha pizza — garlic picanha being the unique sirloin cut that's the churrascuria trademark.
The price also includes dessert pizzas, in five options that include Nutella; brie and apricot marmalade; and white chocolate-toasted coconut.
"But our approach is very gourmet, we're using top-quality ingredients," Mallmann says.
Their crust will be their own creation, one that appeals to the local tastes which veer towards a thinner crust.
"In Brazil, the crust is a little bit thick," she says. "But our style is light and thin, and we're using organic flour. With all of the options we have, it'd be hard not to find something you like."
They took over a space that was previously a CiCi's, with Southlake being a good launch point because the couple lives less than 10 minutes away. But they have definite plans for more locations.
"We already have so many people who want to be involved, to open their own branches," Mallmann says. "We just don't have anything like this here."