Pyzano’s has somewhat of a cult following in the Hayward/Castro Valley area, and it always has. I’m not sure when this place opened up, but it’s not a chain and it’s owned by 9 Time World Pizza Champion Tony Gemignani, who has tossed pizzas with the likes of Jay Leno, Oprah, Emeril, and all over the Food Network. He’s apparently quite good.
But with all this hype came a bit of a letdown for me. I haven’t been to Pyzano’s in years and forgot that the atmosphere of the place is just your run of the mill pizza joint. But the prices aren’t – you’re paying for gourmet here for sure. I thought (read: was hoping) that with all the fancy pizza twirling, there’d be something more than order-at-the-counter, standard-leather-booths-and-rickety-tables, serve-yourself-soda-machine, and grocery-store-floor-tiling. Seriously, I thought they might have put some effort into posh, above-and-beyond decor, and maybe even table service. Apparently that’s not their style – moving on.
After I reconciled with my idea of what the place looked like, we ordered at the counter like the heathens we are, and sat down at the only remaining booth next to a table of children celebrating one or the other’s birthday. Nothing adds to a gourmet pizza dining experience like a handful of screaming children. At least they were screaming in Spanish so I could ignore them easier via not knowing what they’re saying.
My spinach salad came first and it was plain but tasty. Spinach, feta, cherry tomatoes and a simple oil and balsamic vinegar dressing makes for a nice, simple salad. Our pizza arrived shortly thereafter; we ordered a New York Style “Little Italy” pizza with four cheeses, tomato sauce, and a thin NY crust. I’ll honestly say that it was pretty dang good. The crust was thin and tasty (but not crispy) and the four cheeses were delicious. I can’t recall my feelings on the last pizza that I had there, so I’m only discussing my experience on this particular pizza.
In summary, the pizza was good. I was sub-par to me as far as my expectations based on all the ridiculous pizza awards, but if they hadn’t told me all that I probably would have just thought it was good pizza with no reservations. Same goes for the atmosphere; I expected something more than they offer, but what is there is just fine. The cost also seems to be a bit inflated due to all the good press, but, again, it is high-quality pizza and many people do love the heck out of it. So, close your ears to all the hype and just go enjoy a decent pizza in Castro Valley.
Also see this review on Urbanspoon.com