When Pizza Volta opened this past winter, the owners wanted to let everybody know that in addition to outstanding pizza, they are committed to supporting local nonprofits saying, “Pizza Volta believes in serving more than just delicious pizza to the Salt Lake City community. On Tuesday nights proceeds from local nonprofits are given a platform at Pizza Volta to promote their cause. Portions of every pizza sold in-house or for take out go directly to that participating organization.” Nonprofit organizers interested in being featured can check out the Pizza Volta ‘Pizza With a Purpose’ page on their website for application information.
Pizza Volta is the sister restaurant to Jackson Hole’s Hand Fire Pizza, but like most sibling’s, not identical twins. Whereas Hand Fire Pizza (it’s all there in the name) is wood fired pizza, Pizza Volta cooks with voltage – pizzas are cooked in electric deck style pizza ovens. That’s actually a welcome change from the swarm of wood fired pizza places that have sprung up here in the past few years. I love a good wood oven pizza, but some variety is also nice.
With seating for some 160 customers, you shouldn’t have to wait long for a table at Pizza Volta, which is a sprawling, modern eatery that’s very appealing and spacious. Splashes of purple light lend a nice, mellow vibe to the restaurant and a unique, colorful train mural on the back wall is definitely eye-catching. Although it’s quite contemporary, with an exhibition pizza kitchen, exposed ducts and such, Pizza Volta nevertheless feels very warm and inviting. In part that’s from the wooden tables and chairs and in part from the warmth that exudes from an owner like Paulie and down through amiable servers like Sigrid, and even to a super friendly and busy teenage busser named Max. It was Max’s very first day on the job and had only been working about three hours, but was absolutely killing it. He’s got a great future in food service. My wife would have hired him on the spot for her restaurant.
Whole Burrata Love
The Starters section of the Pizza Volta menu features three salads – a mixed salad ($11), kale salad ($12), and the All Hail Caesar ($12). We chose to start our meal with the cleverly named Whole Burrata Love ($11), which is a generous serving of arugula, a big ball of fresh burrata, heirloom tomatoes, smoked sea salt, olive oil and a hefty drizzle of balsamic reduction.
Other appetizers include the Pretza – pizza dough pretzel with parmesan, garlic oil, herbs and a side of tomato sauce ($6), a hummus platter ($13) with house-made pita, and a charcuterie platter ($15), which we opted for and featured Beehive cheeses, Creminelli meats, really good focaccia style bread strips, olives, pickled veggies, and more.
But ultimately, Pizza Volta is all about one thing: PIZZA. There are 16 or so signature pizzas on the menu that range from a Classic Cheese Pizza and Sweet Italian Sausage, to the vegan Tomato Tomahto pizza, a Beets & Dill pizza, and a barbecue style Love Ya Elote pizza with chicken, red onion, mozzarella, corn, micro cilantro, and queso fresco. It’s an eclectic lineup of pizzas that range in price from $13 for a 12-inch cheese pizza to $22.50 for many of the 16-inch pies.
I always feel that a good test at an artisan pizza place is the Margherita because it’s so simple. There’s nowhere to hide a bad crust or inferior ingredients. A good pizza begins with a great crust and Pizza Volta’s is outstanding. One of the owners, Paul Cucchiarelli, told me that they use a California Artisan 00 type flour from Utah’s own Central Milling. It’s nice to see them making use of local ingredients. The Margherita crust was just about perfect, with a beautiful char and toasty bubbles on the outer crust – thin and slightly chewy, topped with simple tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, and julienned basil leaves. We were off to a good start.
All of the pizzas at Pizza Volta are available with a gluten-free crust for an additional $4. My wife is gluten-free and opted for a pizza with a LOT going on called the PestO-G. The thin and crispy gluten-free crust was topped with a colorful melange of ingredients including a pesto sauce base, mozzarella, diced butternut squash, red onion, spicy dried tomato, and chevre. It’s a mind-blowing pizza that my wife loved and I liked a lot too. I wouldn’t have even known that the crust was gluten-free had we not specifically asked for it.
Pizza Volta Bar
In addition to the large main dining room, Pizza Volta also features a 21-and-over bar area and a full selection of cocktails, spirits, liqueurs, wine, beer, and cider, plus “Like a Virgin” mocktails. We chose to enjoy Portlandia PInot Gris ($11/glass or $37/bottle) with our dinner.
I can’t resist ordering a meatball pizza when I see one on a menu and I’m especially fond of the meatball pies at Villaggio Pizzeria and Maxwell’s. Well, now I can add Pizza Volta to that list. Their large, homemade meatballs are sliced thin for topping the Meatbawls! Pizza, which is a simple but sensational pizza with a perfect crust topped with tangy tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, red onion, oregano, and those magnificent meatballs. In addition to pizza, Pizza Volta also serves a classic calzone ($12) with mozzarella and ricotta cheeses and a side of sauce.
Since there were no gluten-free dessert options and we were stuffed to the gills from sampling three pizzas and two appetizers, we chose to forego dessert. But if you’re in the market for something sweet, Pizza Volta offers chocolate caramel cheesecake, tiramisu with a chocolate coffee bark, and berry shortcake. However, since we only got around to three of the 16 pizzas on the Pizza Volta menu, we will surely be back to enjoy more. Personally, I’ve got my eye on the Chew-BACA pizza with ricotta spread, mozzarella, bacon, caramelized onion, arugula, and spicy honey. Sounds like a winner to me!
Photos by Ted Scheffler
Culinary quote of the week: “The perfect lover is one who turns into a pizza at 4:00 A.M.” – Charles Pierce