Andolini’s Pizza – New Location on Cherry Street

By on May 12, 2011

At Andolini’s, they take pizza seriously. Their master pizzaiolo learned his craft in Italy and he’s taught his apprentices well. That’s why, when I visited their brand-new Cherry Street branch, I took one look at their lovely dining room, brand-new but already homey and welcoming…

and then took a table in front, near the open kitchen, where I could watch them make my pizza. I ordered the Spring Street, which is a homage to perhaps my favorite pizzeria, Lombardi’s, on Spring Street in Manhattan’s Little Italy. It’s made with the same artistry as Lombardi’s, which has been making the pie off and on since 1905. I watched my waiter (who, like all the waiters, knows about Lombardi’s, Spring Street, and a lot about pizza generally) take the order ticket to the kitchen, and then I ran kitchenside to watch the show.

First the pizzaiolo took a big ball of homemade dough and pounded it into a flat circle.

Then he tossed it high into the air!

The pizza spread out. He caught it (if he misses, it goes in the trash) and spun it on his finger to make it even thinner and wider.

Back on the table, the dough was given its final shape and thick rim.

Now for the sauce. It’s rich, it’s made from crushed tomatoes, and using a long spoon, the pizzaiolo put a nice big glob in the center of the pie.

Then, slowly and carefully, he used the back of the spoon to spread the sauce in a spiral to cover the entire pizza.

Now, the cheese. Mozzarella of course. In New York’s Little Italy, it’s fresh and made in the basement. Not difficult, but painful, since the cheesemaker must plunge his hands into scalding hot water. And that’s what they do at Andolini’s. Now the pizzaiolo sliced the homemade cheese

and carefully put each luscious slice on the pizza

One huge ball of Mozzarella wasn’t enough so he sliced a second.

Now, the oil. Italian extra virgin olive oil is drizzled over the pie using a gleaming copper pitcher that wouldn’t be out of place in a Turkish bazaar.

Then another cheese. My pizza artist strewed grated Pecorino Romano, a lusty, flavorful aged sheep’s milk cheese from Italy, over the pie.

And now the pie is ready for the oven.

15 minutes later, it came out of the oven. It received a second dusting of Pecorino. Fresh basil leaves were strewn on top, and a masterpiece was ready for consumption.

OH how beautiful! It deserves another picture and the waiter, as proud of the pie as the chef, patiently stood carrying it as I snapped this second photo.

Oh it was sooooooo good! My friends, who were at first very skeptical of a pie that didn’t have any meat, devoured far more than they planned. I ate four slices, and the huge pie was gone. How did it compare to Lombardi’s? It’s been years since I ate there and my memory is hazy. I think the crust is better at Lombardi’s. After all, Lombardi’s has a coal oven, and that gives it the perfect blister, texture and char. But I think the toppings are better here. The cheese, the oil, the rich flavorful sauce just mix in the mouth in sprightly synergy, each component enhancing the others. I loved every bite.

Andolini’s
1552 E. 15 St. (Cherry Street)
Tulsa, OK 74120
(918) 728-6111

Other Location

Andolini’s
12140 E. 96th St.
Owasso, OK 74055
(918) 272-9328

Andolini's Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

http://www.andopizza.com

Open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner.

About the Author: Brian Schwartz

Born in NYC, age 0, on my birthday. College in Oxford at age 16. Law School in New Haven, Conn. 6 years travel in Africa and Asia. Haven’t done much lately. Still, I’m the only Tulsa member of the little-known Omega Society.  www.theomegasociety.com

I speak enough Chinese to order food not on any English menu. Spanish French Italian too (not fluently but food-ently) My favorite restaurant is Jean-Georges in New York. But those NYC chefs would sell their soul to get the produce available from the farms around Inola.

“A writer writes alone. His words tumble forth from a magical inner void that is mysterious even to himself, and that no one else can enter.” And yet, the most important thing to me the writer is YOU. Without you to hear them, my words are worth less than silence.

Brian Schwartz

About Brian Schwartz

Born in NYC, age 0, on my birthday. College in Oxford at age 16. Law School in New Haven, Conn. 6 years travel in Africa and Asia. Haven’t done much lately. Still, I’m the only Tulsa member of the little-known Omega Society. www.theomegasociety.com I speak enough Chinese to order food not on any English menu. Spanish French Italian too (not fluently but food-ently) My favorite restaurant is Jean-Georges in New York. But those NYC chefs would sell their soul to get the produce available from the farms around Inola. “A writer writes alone. His words tumble forth from a magical inner void that is mysterious even to himself, and that no one else can enter.” And yet, the most important thing to me the writer is YOU. Without you to hear them, my words are worth less than silence.

16 Comments

  1. Kathrine

    May 12, 2011 at 11:23 am

    Any idea what kind of oven they use there?? Also, it would have been neat to see a picture of the bottom of the crust!

    • Bill Uhre

      August 5, 2011 at 10:51 am

      It is a Roto Flex a round rotating oven. That this Brooklyn born and raised boy who was taught how to make Italian pizza at 11 by Angelo Montelini. I know that round ovens give you more space but they do not cook well. If you can find 4 pizza places in NYC use one you would be lucky. I don’t like there pizza or there cheese or there NY story have eaten at both Owasso & Cherry St.

      I think there biggest crime and it made me ill is the canolli STAY AWAY FROM IT. Why does everyone who runs these sights run from telling the real truth. Every place is great except for maybe this or this. Not every restaurant can be great some are really bad and some are off the charts tell it like it is.

      I really want to like Ando’s (hip name) but most of the time the Mozzarella cheese does not even stretch. What the heck is that.

      I grew up in NYC, Marin county 2 years, lived in PDX for 10 years, Tulsa 15 years. Have eaten all over the world i think I know my food.

      • tulsa_ld

        August 8, 2011 at 2:55 pm

        -Although the cheese was the star of the show on my one visit to Andolini’s on Cherry Street, i have to agree on the cannoli. A friend brought one to work after their lunch knowing i missed my time in Boston and the cannoli heaven that was the North End.

        This one was not very good. Taste difference aside, it was simply too difficult to bite into/eat in your hand. The outer pastry dough was…i don’t know…denser, fried too long, i’m not sure…than what i would consider acceptable.

        I’ll be trying the restaurant again, and maybe i got lucky with the cheese on my first pie, but i will not order the cannoli.

        tulsa_ld, who hasn’t eaten outside the U.S. and supposes that means (by the above standards) he doesn’t know his food at all but comments anyway.

  2. Anthony D Cancellare

    May 12, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    In my humble opinion Ando’s is only paying homage to Lombardi’s pizza in the fresh Mozzarella it uses on its pies and the fact that they hand toss their dough. That being said this would mean every pizzeria that uses fresh Mozzarella and hand tosses their dough would be paying homage to Lombardi’s, which I can respect because fresh ingredients is key and Lombardi’s does set the bar high when it comes to the art of making a pie. Lombardi’s uses a coal burning oven which gives a pie a distinctively different tast, texture and look to the pie when compared to your typical pie that is cooked in a conveyer style gas oven like the one used at Ando’s. Charring your pie in a gas oven is not the same or can’t be compared to a charred pie you get from a coal burning oven. Lombardi’s is in a class by itself.

    • Brian Schwartz

      May 13, 2011 at 10:02 am

      You’re right about the oven. But I used to overemphasize the oven’s importance. Here’s what I wrote in my paean to pizza, “Pizza and Memories”. “The oven is the key to good pizza. Those old coal-burners create a white-hot intense heat that’s different in different parts of the oven. The pizza-maker knows all the different zones of the oven — the hot spots, the cool spots, the sweet spots — like a violinist knows his violin, and he shifts the bubbling pizza from one spot to the other to crisp and blister the crust without drying the dough.” But watching those guys at Andolini’s made me realize that the art of the oven isn’t the only artistry involved in pizza, and in that other artistry… shaping the dough, preparing the toppings, preparing the pizza for the oven … Andolini’s excels.

      My paean to pizza: http://tulsafood.com/tulsa-pizza-types-of-food-tulsa/pizza-that-brings-back-memories-pie-hole-pizza

  3. Pete

    May 12, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    I was not as impressed with the new location. We decided to try lunch on Tuesday as we had been the Owasso location and loved it.

    We both started with a salad. Lettuce was limp, warm and it all had brown edges (both the house salad and the caesar) … I was given the wrong soda twice during the meal. Pizza was good, however I also tried the Fettucine Alfredo and was brought a bowl of pasta that was clumped together and that was swimming in a watery, lukewarm alfredo sauce.

    The decor/location is great… (apart from the usual Cherry Street parking nightmare) The prices I thought were a little excessive for the main menu items … though the lunchtime special of $8.95 for as much Salad/Pizza/Pasta would have been more than reasonable had the food been up to scratch.

    Maybe we caught them on a bad day or at a bad time, but I’m not sure i’ll be going back anytime soon to find out.

    :0(

  4. seikel

    May 13, 2011 at 9:31 am

    I am really looking forward to trying this place. The eggplant pie looks fantastic.

  5. Mandy Vavrinak

    May 13, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    (disclosure: Andolini’s is a client of my company) — Pete, as of May 12th, the Cherry Street location had been open only 4 days. While they’ve done extensive training, those first few weeks with new staff mean that sometimes things go wrong… I do hope you’ll give them another shot in a couple more weeks after the opening hiccups are past! In the meantime, I’ll share your comment with the owner so he’ll know what you experienced and can work on specifics with the staff. Appreciate everyone sharing their opinions!

  6. dancinhomer

    May 13, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    That’s a fine-looking pie, and as I don’t live in Owasso, I’m glad to see one close to me. Looking forward to it!

  7. Brian Schwartz

    May 15, 2011 at 11:27 am

    I’m not clear on the details, but I believe that Andolini’s offers all-you-can-eat pepperoni pizza slices for only $9. Only before 3:00 PM. I think the price includes salad too. Obviously that’s dine-in only.

  8. DannyB

    May 16, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    I tried the new Andolini’s location last night and was very impressed. Their mozzarella is some of the best I have ever had and the crust is amazing as well. If you like mac and cheese, you will not be let down by their version of the dish either. They have many cocktails and beers available from the bar, and I would recommend a “Little Moscow,” which is vodka, ginger beer, and mint. I cannot wait to return.

  9. Lisa

    May 22, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    Ate there on Friday for lunch and was not impressed at all. The pizza we ordered was undercooked and and the dough was chewy instead of crisp. The service was mediocre at best.
    We tried the caprese antipasto which tasted okay but looked overdressed with too much balsamic dressing “decorating” the plate.
    Our waitress bragged about the in house cannolis so I gave them a try. They had way too much liquer of some sort in them and the shells were so hard I could barely put my fork into them.
    We won’t be returning to this restaurant when there are so many other choices in this area.

  10. Kristie Moon

    May 23, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    Went to the Cherry Street location on Saturday and it was wonderful. Exceeded my expectations. Will be frequenting this place for sure.

  11. Jerry

    May 26, 2011 at 9:56 am

    Had dinner last night with my wife. I have been served pizza from all over the world during forty years of travel. Some have been not so good. Some have been beyond great. The pizza I was served last night was the worst pizza I have ever seen, tasted or looked at. After a discussion with our waiter. He said thats just the way we do it. We paid, left a nice tip, and left the pizza on the table. No one like a manager came over to discuss?? Hope things improve or they will be toast !!!

  12. tulsa_ld

    June 3, 2011 at 10:50 am

    -I had the opportunity to dine at Andolini’s yesterday. Being a New-York inspired pizza, i anticipated a softer, foldable crust. While the toppings were cooked through, the middle of the pie was almost too raw in a couple of small spots. Another minute in the oven and i think it would have been fine.

    My order included the site-made sausage on the pie as well as a side of garlic knots. The bread of the knots was cooked perfectly, but the garlic was in the bottom of the dish in standing oil. I assume it is to infuse the aroma of the garlic into the experience and flavor the oil. However, i personally prefer the garlic to be more prominent. The size of the order, for the price, was about right. Tasty, but more garlic incorporated into the knot would be preferred. When it comes to garlic, i don’t do subtle.

    The pizza toppings, especially the cheeses, were well done. The cheese usually isn’t the star for me on a pizza, but the quality and flavor of the cheeses they use surprised me. Next time i’ll likely get a meatless with plenty of cheese.

    Sausage is a divisive meat, especially for pizza hounds, and i am usually afraid to comment. My personal taste buds told me the sausage was fresh, cooked well but not seasoned enough for me. i prefer more of a black pepper hint in the sausage, which i fully acknowledge could be my awkward taste buds rebelling against anything subtle.

    To round out the comment, the wait staff all were attentive, though a couple of them appeared new to the waiting game (including my waiter). With time and experience, i assume they will get more comfortable and familiar with the job.

    Overall, i think it’s a good addition to Cherry Street even with Pie Hole down the road a ways. Not my top pizza place, but i wouldn’t be opposed to dining there again so i can try one of their other (many) specialty pies.

    tulsa_ld

    • shredder

      August 6, 2011 at 4:44 pm

      We have been going to the Andolinis in OWASSO for a couple years…..never had issues…

      We are disappointed with the Tulsa addition….too small and hot; lord help you if someone is in the rest room and you gottgobad

      The pizza is inconsistent… burned bottom, under done…I am thinking it is a quality control-learning issue.
      We have given them 2 attempts and now go back to Owasso…always perfect. (Don’t go at high noon, you will have to wait)

      Try their lunch all you can eat with salad special…that REAL sausage is killer and the Caeser salad is awesome.

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