Jesta’ Pizza holds taste testing to prepare for spring 2020 reopening

Hannah Williford

Students taste tested crusts and sauces in Jester City Limits Wednesday during an event for Jesta’ Pizza, a restaurant that will be reopening next semester.

At the tasting, students chose between three different doughs and red, white and pesto sauces. Registered dietitian Sotear Kuy said these will be the base of the Jesta’ Pizza recipes. Students scored each ingredient and the sauces and doughs with the most positive feedback will be featured on the new menu, Kuy said.

Kuy, who is developing the menu for Jesta’ Pizza, said UT Housing and Dining held the testing to make sure the new items offered and the rebranding of Jesta’ Pizza would be in line with what students wanted.

Jesta’ Pizza has been closed for the fall 2019 semester. The remodeled restaurant will follow a build-your-own pizza concept, so students will have the ability to choose all of the sauces and toppings that they want at one set price, Kuy said. In preparation for the opening, Kuy said the Jesta’ Pizza team has researched what students liked in their toppings, sauces and crusts by visiting different pizza restaurants in Austin.

“(Student feedback) is … everything,” Kuy said. “It’s the reason why we are conducting all of these different tastings, and we are building out this new concept for the students, so it definitely means a lot to us to have student participation, student feedback and we really value their opinions. We’re taking all of it with us when we go into recipe development and menu development.”

Advertising sophomore Carolina Gonzalez said she always enjoyed the breadsticks served at Jesta’ Pizza but could taste an improvement in the quality of the sauces on Wednesday.

“I went there every week (for breadsticks),” Gonzalez said. “I loved the Jesta’ Pizza … but now that I’m tasting the sauces and appreciating it, I think I’m going to go for pizza. I like the customization part of it, just because it offers more variety and more options for students.”

Advertising senior Levi Romano said he also liked the idea of a build-your-own pizza over the previous premade menu options.

“We’re going into that phase where it’s better for the customer to decide what they want instead of like, it’s already there for you,” Romano said. “I like this. I like to see what I’m going to put (on).”

Editor's Note: A previous version of this article had an incorrect title for Sotear Kuy. The Texan regrets this error.