For our second stop on the Austin Pizza Tour, we stopped by The Backspace. The brainchild of Shawn Cirkiel, it bases its delicious pizza on the pizza of Naples, Italy. The focus at The Backspace is on fresh and local, so we were curious to see just how well they delivered on that promise.
The Backspace is a cozy little space with an authentic wood-fired oven and interesting and eclectic décor right in the heart of downtown Austin.
Unbeknownst to us, there is a required reservation for seating. We should have known of course, that since it was Friday, that the prospect of seating might be just a bit challenging. While we waited we snapped a picture of Jake and Jairo the pizzaioli at The Backspace:
I guess we were in luck that night because we were able to get our seat at the bar. Once we knew we could settle in and relax, we made our choices from the menu.
For our appetizer, we choose the squash antipasti (local squash, pumpkin seed pesto, Pecorino Romano). While squash is one of my favorite vegetables, this dish would have been more delicious if it came out with a nice butternut or Kuri squash instead of the summer squash that was the base. I am sure it was just what I expected in my head that had me disappointed, as the dish came out in a smoking hot cast iron pan, topped with a deliciously smooth and garlicky pumpkin seed pesto. We really enjoyed it, but we were here for pizza, and it was pizza we were going to get!
We ordered the fennel sausage pizza (shaved fennel sausage, mozzarella, roasted red peppers, and basil). We added an egg to the sausage pizza because we were craving breakfast for dinner.
What a beautiful pizza! The sausage was amazing and very savory. Of course fennel is one of my favorite herbs, but the sausage on this pizza is some of the best I have had ever had. The Backspace only uses San Marzano tomatoes to make their pizzas, a fact that the hostess says is a big source of pride for the establishment.
For our next pizza we ordered the bianca (arugula, Mozzarella, ricotta, and Pecorino Romano). I have to be honest, while the cheeses were very fresh and local, the sheer amount of arugula on top of the pizza was overwhelmingly bitter.
Just look at that blistered crust though! How can you help but tear into a slice!
We were definitely happy with our selections here at The Backspace and will definitely come back for more.