Ask someone to name a favorite food, and pizza is often high on the list. That is certainly true for me. I love just about any variety – thin crust, pan style, meat-topped, veggie-topped, any combination you can concoct (except pineapple, because sweet things do not belong on pizza ever, ever, amen). But if there is something special, something truly unique, something above and beyond the tried and true classic definition on a pizza, well, then it’s got a place in my heart forever.
And for my money, special pizza comes from Campisi’s.
Campisi’s, opened in 1946 by the family Campisi (duh), is a wonderful Italian eatery, despite the sign on their flagship location that proclaims Campisi’s an Egyptian restaurant. It just so happens that when Papa Campisi moved into the space, he didn’t have enough money for a new sign for the former Egyptian Lounge, so he just stuck on his name and added the word restaurant. Locals still call it “The Egyptian.” Legend has it that Jack Ruby spent his last evening here before he shot Lee Harvey Oswald, so this is a genuine piece of Dallas history here.
But you want to hear about the food.
The food is fantastic, all of it, but it’s the pizza that is their claim to fame. It is truly unlike any other pizza. First of all, it isn’t round, nor is it rectangular. It’s oval-shaped. (Their boxes are rectangular though.) The crust has a rustic, homemade bite to it, and the sauce is rich and flavorful. You can add any variety of toppings, but I highly recommend their All the Way pizza, covered in Italian sausage (heavy on the fennel), salami instead of pepperoni, mushrooms, green peppers, and green onions. On any other pizza, this combination might be boring, but here, it is sublime. It is easily the best pizza have ever eaten. (The closest second is the pizza I used to make myself when I worked at an Italian restaurant in high school and had free reign with the cheese, so any pizza that can beat that has to be amazing. And it is.)
I thought long and hard about what food I wanted to highlight as the best snapshot of my hometown. I considered the Mexican place around the corner from my house that my family adores, and I promise to take you there if you visit me. But Campisi’s is Dallas, as far as I’m concerned. And I know I’m not the only one who feels that way.
Seriously, please visit. I will personally introduce to the best pizza Dallas has to offer.
(Photo Credits: campisis.us, nbcdfw.com)