As all Fort Worthians know, there isn’t really any compelling reason to go do Dallas – certainly not when it comes to food. Everything folks in the Big D. think they do better, whether burgers or haute cuisine, Fort Worth has a trump card (or two, or ten). Seriously, no disrespect to the likes of, say, Maple & Motor or Fearing's, but am I really going to drive thirty-plus miles when the likes of Fred’s Texas Café and Lonesome Dove are in my backyard?
That said, I’ve never quite been able to find a Fort Worth match for Campisi’s, a beloved pizza / pasta institution on Mockingbird Lane in Dallas since 1946. The rectangular-shaped, thin-crust, uber-crispy pizza adheres to no known tradition – not New York, or Chicago, or Neapolitan. It’s more akin to something your mother might have made for your growing up, hardly gourmet, but richly satisfying, and for years I've been taking detours there when visiting Dallas.
Here’s the good news: I no longer need to make the trek east to enjoy Campisi’s. Earlier this week, the ever-expanding mini-chain opened its ninth North Texas location, and first in Tarrant County on Camp Bowie Blvd. in Fort Worth If the opening party I attended is any indication, Fort Worth’s other top-notch pizza makers – like Mellow Mushroom, Mama’s, and my personal fave, Fireside Pies – will be facing some serious competition.
The first thing that strikes you about the Fort Worth location is that it’s nothing all like the original Dallas spot, which is heavy on the bric-a-brac and family photos. This Campisi’s has polished wood floors; a sleek bar space; and flat screens televisions discretely mounted to the wall. You can certainly take the whole family, but you could just as easily head here for a romantic date night.
What is not different from the Dallas location is the pizza – still rectangular, with a nice spice to the tomato sauce, and a terrifically crispy crunch to the crust. The extremely genial servers – who at one point apologized to us, even though we were the ones responsible for spilling our drink – brought out plate after plate of samples; and though I’m normally hesitant to pile too many toppings on a pie, I especially liked the "All the Way," which is topped with finely diced sausage, salami, mushrooms, and peppers. Of the appetizers we tasted, the toasted ravioli proved a flawless rendition of a dish that can sometimes be a soggy, oily mess.
With a menu that also includes salads, pastas, and Italian classics like chicken parmigiana, there’s plenty to enjoy even if you’re not in the mood for pizza. (Though who wouldn't be in the mood for pizza?) And since you won’t have to drive to Dallas, you can take that gas money you save and order yourself a glass of wine.
Campisi's serves both lunch and dinner daily from 10 a.m.