The Deco District, under the aegis of the very official-sounding Jefferson Woodlawn Lake Community Development Corporation, appears to have emerged as a model of said development. Anchored by the venerable Woodlawn Theatre and the muy tropical Deco Building (its colors evoking Miami, but never mind), Fredericksburg Road has morphed from struggling-to-survive to beginning-to-thrive. There’s activity, there are visual delights and surprises, there are cultural centers … and a few restaurants.
There could be more. Of everything, but especially restaurants; they are key to a vibrant nightlife. Alamo City Pizza Parlor is doing its part in the meantime. Good pizza can be as important an anchor as a theater, as stabilizing as a substation. And good pizza it is. Owner Dave Garcia is a graduate of the St. Philip’s College culinary program, and he apparently learned a few things while there. We don’t imagine that St. Philip’s pushes the use of packets of Kraft Golden Italian dressing for salads, but the underlying mix of real lettuce, shredded mozzarella, black olives (yes, those black olives), tomato, and bell pepper was fresh and appealing, as was a stick of pizza bread. (Add ham, and, voila!, this becomes a chef salad.)
An order of hot wings could serve as a starter or as the main meal paired with a salad. There are several varieties from which to choose, including some breaded models, and they’re listed on a chalkboard —but not on the online menu as I had mistakenly assumed. Accordingly, I’m now forced to admit that I neglected to write down the name of the wings I ordered, but no problem: They’re the ones that sound the most lethal. They taste only marginally fiery, however, which is all to the good; the meatiness of the wings can be better enjoyed that way, and one isn’t forced to tame too much heat with too much ranchy dressing.
But I’m really just putting off the main event. (I could put it off even farther by mentioning that Alamo also does several pastas, including the inventive-sounding lasagnaroni topped with chicken and Alfredo sauce, plus subs, wraps, calzones … ) And the main event is, of course, the pizza. I hadn’t intended to eat all of my personal-size edition of Texas `sic` Best Pizza, but I did. This pizza puts together pepperoni, Canadian bacon, and Italian sausage with black olives (once again, those black olives), green bell peppers, mushrooms, onions, and jalapeños. If you’re asked whether you want jalapeños or not, the correct response is “yes, please.” They’re what make this pie Texas, after all. Dave’s crust is just puffy and browned enough around the edges to take it out of the realm of mass-produced pizza, and the ingredients all work together harmoniously — just like a good community-development project. I would eat this pizza again while watching a paleta cart pedal by.