The 2014 Bacon & Brewfest people’s choice winner for the Best Bacon Dish was Brothers Express Pizza Café. It wasn’t the “Carnivore” red pie, slathered in red sauce, topped with mozzarella, pepperoni, bacon, Italian sausage, and Italian meatballs that took the prize. Imagine the tastes and textures of creamy cold gelato with a rich caramel flavor followed by the comforting taste of salty, fatty bacon. Yes, it was the Caramel Bacon Gelato that took the win. Brothers Express Pizza Café is creating a name for itself and quickly. Owners Robbie Sickler and wife hosted a grand opening only 5 weeks ago. The vision for this restaurant is in its name. Sickler wants the focus to be on family and food. Not just any food, fresh and fast food. Their pies take a turn on a revolving deck inside a massive brick oven reaching 750 degrees in little time. The oven possesses world record holding technology having produced 200 pizzas in one hour. So, if you need a couple hundred pies made you know where to turn. This new pizzeria can be found in Midtown Village across from Az Well. The space is sleek and modern with plenty of family seating. The menu is well designed with a simple format making it easy to navigate. Offers include pizza pies, calzones, salads, bread sticks and gelato. Little Brother, Middle Brother, and Big Brother, is used to distinguish pizza sizes. The menu makes it easy for a whole family to eat together or choose individual options. When I reached the counter I was immediately greeted by a friendly employee and Mr. Sickler, who was diligently cooking while holding a polite conversation with me. The evening’s meal was carryout, so my order was promptly brought to me nice and hot. My eyes hit the colorful gelato and curiosity got the best of me. Along with my order I opted for two scoops to-go. The first scoop, cookies-n-cream with blood orange sorbet plopped on top. Random, yes but oh so good! During my conversation I was invited to browse the walls which displayed beautiful black and white family pictures. The lasting family memories were captured in the beautiful country of Italy.
My drive home was accompanied by the intoxicating smell of melted mozzarella, spicy sausage, and hints of herbs. The aroma was escaping from two delicious calzones. My choice was the “Keep it Simple” calzone. What can I say? I’m a simple kind of girl. Garlic, pepperoni, ricotta, and Mozzarella filled a thin layer of crust topped with parmesan cheese and an herb blend. Like most calzones, the portion was generous. But, this handcrafted calzone was rather flat. The ingredients were evenly distributed promising a consistent savory bite. The ricotta cheese was a nice addition rendering a somewhat tangy, sweet taste. Marinara sauce sat lonely beside my plate. The well-seasoned crust complemented the ingredients so well didn’t crave the need for sauce. Though, my husband felt the portion of the sauce was a little stingy. His calzone, “Mighty Meaty”, was full of garlic, ricotta, Mozzarella, pepperoni, hand-pinched Italian sausage, and bacon engulfed in parmesan and herb covered crust. The crust was something special. It was soft but not undercooked or doughy. It allowed for the softest bites not taking away from the ingredients and adding a little more. Hungry yet? Brothers Express Pizza Café is serving up hot pies Monday – Saturday from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm and Sunday from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm. Let us know where you are eating! Tweet us @ThePlanetWeekly.

Cindy Huggins, RDN, LD is a registered dietitian nutritionist and local “foodie” Follow her on twitter @DietitianCindy for more foodie news.

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