First Dish: Via Della Slice Shop

Kristy DurkinOctober 8, 2021
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A new family-run pizzeria has opened in Downtown Phoenix. While it’s still finding its footing, it’s jumping off to a tasty start.

Located on the corner of Van Buren Street and Fifth Avenue next to We’ve Got Flowers! is the new Via Della Slice Shop. Its housed in a historical warehouse, which I discovered after scrolling back through Via Della’s Instagram. I learned that the building was originally built in the 1920s as a car shop and later became a machine shop in the 1940s. Before I get into the pizza, I must note that if you want to see true Phoenix preservation passion, check out Via Della’s Instagram, as they’ve chronicled the enormous time-consuming task of restoring and preserving this wonderful structure. The owners also completed the project during the height of the pandemic, so the fact they are open and slinging pies is pretty amazing.

When I first walked in, I instantly felt a warm and inviting vibe. It was almost as if the building was happy to have been brought back to life, not to mention the delicious pizza aroma filling the space. Exposed beams and pipes give it an urban, rustic feel while the red bricks scream traditional pizza shop. They are still adding finishing touches to the interior of the restaurant but the potential is strong. I approached the counter and reviewed the handwritten chalkboard menu and decided on two slices, the original and the white pizza, with a Mexican coke to wash it down.  Yes, I know, a pretty “vanilla” order but my motto is if a pizza shop can do a plain cheese pizza well then I know I’m in for some stellar specialty pizzas. Via Della has a winner. If you’ve been looking for a New York-style slice (like my husband constantly is), this is your place. The crust is thin but bendable, topped with bubbly cheese and perfect for the fold-over method as it mashes all the cheese and sauce together, making it possible to achieve that perfect, clean bite. The sauce has depth of flavor without being overpowering, with a thin layer of mozzarella melted on top. The white pizza slice was a surprising delight as the salty mozzarella blended with a sweet counterpart that I couldn’t identify it at first. Then, my taste buds and brain kicked in and I realized it was sweet, caramelized onions. They are hidden within the cheese and each bite has a wonderful mixture of flavors. To top it off, the crust was sprinkled with sesame seeds which I loved! It reminded me of a bagel crust, with that mild nutty goodness, waiting as a treat at the end of the slice.

As I devoured my two slices, I struck up a conversation with a patron who was sitting two bar stools down. He was enjoying a slice of The Grandma Pie, which is Via Della’s deep dish pie topped with pepperoni. This fellow pizza-lover was doting over his slices and I took his opinion pretty seriously as he divulged in detail his top favorite pizzas joints around the Valley. He added how much he was enjoying, in particular, Via Della’s sauce and asked if I had tried their wings. I have not, but I have heard the homemade honey hots are a must. As we sat there chatting, I realized it was such a nice feeling to be out in a restaurant conversing with a stranger as we watched Phoenix bustle by through the front windows. There was already a sense of community occurring in this long-standing building, which I am sure was the ultimate goal when preserving it. I am thrilled to have this charming pizza addition Downtown and hope for more places with this level of passion and delicious grub to open throughout Phoenix.

Please note that Via Della’s hours of operations are not set in stone so look at their website/social media to get the most current information. They are also offering discounts for Downtown concertgoers, so keep an eye out for that, too!

222 N. Fifth Ave, Phoenix, 602-341-6327, viadellapizza.com

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