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  • VOL 08, ISSUE 01 • WINTER 2020
Oklahoma Piazzaiolos

Oklahoma Piazzaiolos

Traditional pizza craft meets Midwest hospitality at Andolini’s

Italian-rooted pizza tradition found its way to Oklahoma by way of New York and San Francisco with two brothers who merge the Old World craft of the pizzaiolo with the honest, simple hospitality of the Panhandle at regional restaurant group Andolini’s.

A made-from-scratch concept has always been the baseline, but owner and head pizzaiolo Mike Bausch measures himself against international quality standards. He regularly attends, gives workshops and competes at major industry events globally. At the 2020 Pizza Expo in Las Vegas, he’ll present a talk on menu development. So, what’s on his menu?

Ando’s Classics section is stacked with pies you’d expect to find in Brooklyn or San Francisco. The “Purple Label” luxury pizzas have descriptions as detailed as wine tasting notes, with backstories on places and traditions that inspired the pizzaiolo.

The Spring Street 20, for example, is an homage to turn-of-the-century pizzerias from Little Italy in New York City. It features EVOO from Puglia, Pecorino “before and after the bake,” house-made mozzarella, fresh basil and a slight char. The ingredients are common; it’s the freshness and detail that makes this a $29 pizza.

At the top of this section, the owner’s essential Italian attitude toward pizza as culinary art presents itself: “No substitutions, no halfs, no compromises.”

For those who want substitutions or halves, all of the same toppings are available in the make-your-own pizza section. They’re mainly classic Italian salumi and vegetables: Genoa salami, red onions, artichoke and house-made Calabrian sausage. While the Bausch brothers take their pizza seriously, they respect their customers, too. Those customers may choose a signature creation or a DIY, and still get the same quality.

“Pizza patrons, for the first time in history, are demanding convenience and experience simultaneously,” says Mike Bausch. “Menus need to reflect that with incredible and eclectic ingredients done quickly—and with an option for delivery. The only path to success is ‘wow factor.’”

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