Restaurant Report: Dazzo's Pizzeria

710 Gay Street, 525-2105

Martha Boggs didn't plan to own two restaurants, but the proprietor of the Bistro at the Bijou bought Dazzo's Pizzeria from Gavin Loyer last year. "I like to make friends with my neighbors," Boggs says. "No matter how much you like your food you get tired of it. So I'd come up here and get food and got to know him. He decided to sell and made me an offer I couldn't refuse."

Another reason Boggs bought the place is stated on the menu: Grandma's Pizza. ("This pizza is why I bought this restaurant. I love it!") Having an employee with pizzeria experience didn't hurt, either. "Johnny Wolfe, the sous chef at the Bistro, had worked at Andolini's while in school at College of Charleston. I told him, ‘If you'll go run it, I'll buy it. I can't run two places.'" He worked up here the last month Gavin was here, and Gavin taught us his recipes."

Longtime fans of the place will notice few changes. Boggs added a smaller pizza, streamlined some of the entrees, and offers some entrees as specials instead of menu items. She also added what she describes as "a baby brunch since we're open seven days a week and open during brunch. We've got a white pizza. You take that and put eggs and Benton's bacon on it. It's good." The brunch also features bellinis and items such as Eggs Basilicata, a dish she invented that features polenta, tomato sauce, and eggs. "Eggs are good on anything. I was up here one day, and I was hungry," Boggs says. "That's how I come up with all my best ideas."

Dazzo's serves sandwiches and various pasta dishes. "The homemade crepe in the manicotti melts in your mouth," Boggs says. Pasta lovers who are watching their waistlines or their wallets will appreciate the half portion option. But pizza is the most popular menu item. "Pizza outsells everything 3:1. Then pasta and calzones. I'm surprised how many calzones we sell.

"At a lot of Italian restaurants, everything tastes the same. We have three distinctly different tomato sauces: house sauce, grandma's sauce, and pizza sauce."

"It's a craft," Wolfe says. "Gavin used to say you gotta make 10,000 pies before you know what you are doing." He estimates he's more than halfway there. "Since we make everything from scratch—including the mozzarella—things just taste better. It's nice to do everything homemade."

Dazzo's Pizzeria

710 Gay Street, 525-2105

Sunday 3 p.m.-9 p.m., Monday-Thursday 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m., Friday 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m., Saturday 12 p.m.-11 p.m.

Must Haves

Grandma's Pizza: This thick rectangular pizza made with mozzarella cheese, roasted garlic, olive oil, and tomato sauce is an old-fashioned, authentic Sicilian pizza. "The first time I had it I thought it was the best thing I'd ever had," Martha Boggs says.

Pizza Margherita: This light pizza is a thin crust Neapolitan hand-tossed pie with tomato sauce, pools of fresh house-made mozzarella cheese, and chiffonade of basil. It's simple and beautiful.

Eggs Basilicata: This brunch offering combines layers of polenta, Italian sausage, onions, peppers, tomato sauce, and Parmesan cheese topped with eggs. The eggs are similar to poached but are actually cooked by basting in tomato sauce.