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Anyone who appreciates a pizza with a thin-yet-chewy, homemade crust, mozzarella cheese, and generous toppings (that line forms behind us) has a new pizza place to check out. And we should say straightaway that the pizza is very good.
Steve Kolb, co-owner, creative force, and consummate idea man behind Felix's in Dogtown for the last seven years, has come up with a new menu, a new chef, and altered the name and logo to fit the new image: it's now called Felix's Pizza Pub. And if the pizza and the "trashed and thrashed" chicken wings are any indication, his prediction of "I think we nailed it" is correct. Relish agrees...we especially like the pizza-slice-as-apostrophe.
Two years ago, when SLM last caught up with Kolb, he was promoting his barbequed ribs. Now, in collaboration with chef Andy Roesch, he's parlayed those ribs into a signature rib pizza, Felix's Baby Back Pie (below), made from a half slab of ribs, bits of scallion, and a touch of rib rub on the cheese. The garnish? An impressive 3-bone teepee .
Roesch, a former employee who has since graduated from Johnson & Wales University, had no experience in pizza nor the desire to even dabble in it, yet was lured back by Kolb. For a guy whose baking expertise consisted of "a 10-day baking course at J&W" and a pizza research trip to New York City, he has come up with an almost perfect, thin and perfectly-blistered pizza crust. He says that "the secret's in the high gluten flour," and added that "I got it on the 9th tweak. A touch of garlic oil helped the dough to relax."
There are currently a lucky 13 specialty pizzas on Felix's week-old menu (not yet posted online), with one high point being the High Point--topped with kalamata olives, artichoke hearts, spinach,, sundried tomato, feta, red onion, and pepperoncini--and there are more concoctions in the works: on our visit, a shrimp, scallop, and mushroom pizza with alfredo sauce was outstanding.
The pizzas come in two sizes, 12" and 18", averaging $16 to $22 respectively, which may seem a bit pricey until you realize that all the better pizzas nearby (Katie's, Dewey's, Pi), are similarly priced.
The wings were outstanding as well: perfect size and crunch, tossed with garlic butter, parsley, and parmesan, then napped with a squeeze of hot sauce. Instead of the ubiquitous sides of ranch and/or blue cheese, Roesch came up with a kicky alternative: parmesan ranch with jalapeño.
At present, Felix's is open for dinner only, except on Saturday and Sunday when doors open at noon and 11 a.m. respectively. It should be noted that the restaurant currently has both a smoking and a non-smoking section (they applied for and received an exemption to the smoking ban), but we were told that the entire place will go non-smoking within a few weeks.
Good thing. Roesch's food deserves it.
Felix's Pizza Pub 6335 Clayton Av. 314-645-6565 felixsrestaurant.com Dinner daily; lunch Sat--Sun