New York-based pizza chain opens new Austin locations

Stephen Acevedo

Between Home Slice and Austin’s Pizza, the 512 already has plenty of picks for on-the-go Italian favorites. However, New York-based chain Neapolitan Express thinks there could still be room
for improvement.

This month, Neapolitan Express officially opened its first two Austin-based trucks.

“We’re trying to grow this business all across the country,” corporate partner Chris Abbruzzese said. “Austin is very food truck intensive, so a move down here was a natural step for
Neapolitan Express.”

Neapolitan Express plans to establish itself in Austin by serving authentic handmade Neapolitan pizza — which is a type of pizza topped with mozarella and sliced tomatoes — with the highest quality ingredients.

“Mostly all of our ingredients are imported from Italy,” Abbruzzese said. “Everything is handmade with all fresh, organic and non-GMO ingredients, which is very different than most pizza places
around here.”

In order to ensure that the pies are being made to the absolute best of employees’ abilities, Neapolitan Express’ Austin locations are starting with a limited menu that will slowly grow as new staff master the pizza-making process.

“Every two weeks, we expect to launch with another two new pizzas,” Abbruzzese said. “That’s so our staff gets trained more efficiently to make them.”

In addition to offering high-quality pizza, Neapolitan Express also serves their pies out of some of the most eco-friendly food trucks on the streets.

“We burn about 75 percent less carbon emissions compared to the average food truck on the road,” Abbruzzese said. “We run on compressed natural gas and use reclaimed methane gas
from landfills.”

He said it’s important to the company to do their part to help limit the amount of carbon emissions they put out.  

They also make a point of leaving the truck’s windows wide open for customers to see inside.

“We like to show what’s going on inside the truck and how clean it is so people can enjoy the pizza making experience,” Abbruzzese said. “We take a lot of pride in that.”

The pizza at Neapolitan Express is all served in personal portions, which Abbruzzese said is the best way to prepare pizza quickly while also making sure it’s fresh out
of the oven.

The outer crust is nice and fluffy, while the crust under the toppings is at the ideal thinness to allow the flavors of the toppings to be clear. The menu is currently only four pizzas deep, but it’s clear that they are sure to perfect each of those four pies.

The Margherita pizza is the most simple option, but still packs an impressive amount of flavor. The minimal combination of tangy tomato sauce, mozzarella and parmesan are put over the top with the addition of some fresh basil leaves. It’s a surprisingly effective preparation for a pizza.

The best pizza on the menu by far is the A Diavolo pizza. Using the same base ingredients as the Margherita pizza, it distinguishes itself from the rest with the addition of spicy salami, hot honey and fresh Italian jalapenos. For a recipe coming from a New York chain, it’s actually very successful in delivering a noticeable, but still enjoyable, spicy flavor that Texans will appreciate.

Although the pizzas are all well-made, the prices are a little high, ranging from $9 to $13 a pop without a drink. Customers will undoubtedly get the quality they’re paying for, but it won’t be enough food to keep everyone full. That aside, it’s clear that Neapolitan Express has the right kind of pizza to set itself apart from competitors and find success in downtown Austin.