FEED ME! Pie cravings filled at Antica

By on September 10, 2013
Antica Chef Alex Demmon tends to a wood-fired pizza. MARY GROSSMAN

Antica Chef Alex Demmon tends to another fresh pizza.

JACKSON HOLE, WYO – Crispy pancetta, charred pears, Gorgonzola, provolone, mozzarella, Parmesan, and Romano.

Wild game sausage, mushrooms, caramelized onions, buffalo mozzarella, roasted garlic oil.

West Jacksonites who have had only Domino’s Pizza to satisfy their pie cravings can rejoice at the arrival of Pizza Antica in the space that was formerly Giovanni’s, located just east of MovieWorks Plaza.

If you compare Antica’s pizzas to pies at all price points, they’re not the best in town. However, if you’re looking for fresh ingredients and house-made sauces and toppings – Antica roasts its own peppers and imports San Marzano tomatoes and flour from Italy – and also value, friendly and attentive service, and an outdoor deck with fire pits, Antica is your best option in the valley.

The pancetta/pear/Gorgonzola pie, with an olive oil and herb base, is $12. The wild game sausage pie, No. 7 on the list of red pies, is $14.

Antica Chef Alex Demmon says the restaurant’s crust is a thin one, but I’d call it medium. Pizza crust is a personal preference. If you’re a pie eater looking for value I imagine you prefer medium thickness, with one 12-inch pie able to feed two people instead of being an individual entrée.

Open for about a month, last Sunday Pizza Antica offered its first all-you-can-eat pizza night. For $14.99, adults get all the pizza, salad, and soft drinks they care for. Kids under 10 are $6.99. Servers walk around with a variety of pies and diners flag down the pizzas that intrigue them.

If you’ve been in town long enough to remember the Old Yellowstone Garage’s Sunday all-you-can-eat pizza nights, where the pizzas were among the best ever, but were scarcer than subtlety at the Western Design Conference, that’s not how Antica rolls. Pies are plentiful. If there is a particular one you’re interested in trying, and ask a server nicely, it’s entirely likely you may soon see one stopping in front of your table.

I prefer Antica’s white pizzas to its red ones. Demmon says he keeps the red sauce simple on purpose, to let the flavors of the San Marzano tomatoes shine through. “I don’t throw too much garlic in there; it overpowers the natural taste of the tomatoes,” he says.

I say the more garlic the better. I’m almost embarrassed to admit how much garlic my own red sauce has in it, along with anise, anchovy paste, EVOO, and splashes of white wine and balsamic. Maybe I need all of that extra stuff because I don’t use tomatoes imported from Italy?

There’s nothing wrong with simple, but if I’m going to go simple, I’m going to go really simple. Antica’s white pies have a base of olive oil and herbs, which allow the crispy pancetta and charred pears on pie No. 10 to do a wonderful job of shining through.

Pizza Antica offers typical Italian entrees such as eggplant parmagiana ($14), baked penne ($14) and lasagna ($14) starting at 5 p.m. daily. I have yet to try any, however. Open for lunch Monday through Saturday, between 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m., they offer a six-inch pizza and a salad for $8. Happy Hour is from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Monday through Friday and includes $6 six-inch pizzas, two-for-one well drinks and $1 off beers.

Pizza Antica, open Monday to Saturday from 11:30 am until 10 p.m., and Sundays from 5 until 10 p.m. 734-1970, 690 S. Highway 89, pizzaanticajh.com


About Geraldine Mishev

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