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South Austin Pizza Stand Brings the Amore

4 June 2009 2,782 views 5 Comments

I don’t remember the first time I saw Giovanni Pizza Stand on South Lamar at Barton Skyway, and was surprised to learn when I finally visited this past weekend that it has been there for two years. Giovanni is easy to miss – it’s a small white trailer with unassuming signage set in the back of an empty parking lot.

UntitledOwned by Julio Rangel, word is he settled on calling his little pizza and pasta stand by an Italian name to avoid people driving up and asking for tacos. Julio and his wife make all of the food at Giovanni, and his cooking experience includes years at local Italian restaurants including Mezzaluna and Brick Oven.

We met a group of friends for dinner at around 8 p.m. on Saturday night, including Rachel and Logan from Boots in the Oven. The stand is located on the west side of Lamar Boulevard in between Ben White and Oltorf on the corner of Barton Skyway. There was no wait when we arrived, but according to some online reviews there is often a line, so it is a good idea to call orders in to 512.656.7033.

We told Julio we wanted a pizza and a pasta as there would be four of us sharing. They suggested the large Margarita Pizza ($12) and the Linguini with Scampi ($8). We asked if it was legal to buy a six pack of beer and enjoy it with our meal and they thought that would be fine. I hopped across Barton Skyway and picked up a sixer.

menuWe sat down with our beers and began catching up about the day’s activities — Mr. and Mrs. Boots told us that it was their five year anniversary and they went to a rose wine tasting at Vino Vino.  Adam and I picked up fresh produce at the downtown Austin Farmer’s Market and tasted delicious cake balls, a cake shake, and frozen hot chocolate at Holy Cacao, another food trailer in South Austin. We were later joined by our friend David, who ordered a couple slices of pizza, and Betsy, who brought her own salad and a sandwich from Thundercloud Subs.

Before we knew it, a freshly baked pizza with fresh tomatoes, basil, mozzarella, garlic, Romano cheese and olive oil was set in front of us — immediately followed by the pasta dish and garlic bread.

pizza and pastaThe pizza was crisp but still bready, with the right amount of sauce, cheese, and fragrant topping. I shook crushed red pepper and Parmesan cheese on top and took a bite. It was delicious. Next I tried the shrimp pasta — the flavors melded together nicely and I was very impressed that this great flavor came out of such a tiny trailer. My one complaint is that I felt the pasta was overdone and I would have preferred it a bit more al dente.

We all agreed that the pizza is among the best in Austin — easily in the top five. In November I wrote about my favorite spots for pizza pie. They included Homeslice in South Austin, Salvation in Central Austin, Saccones in North Austin, and Cipollina in Clarksville. After a recent overcooked pie at Salvation, Giovanni’s may have replaced it on this list.

groupWe thanked Julio for the delicious food and told him we would surely be back again. He waved happily. It was not until we arrived at our friends home down the street that we realized that a) no one had paid and b) we had taken Julio’s bottle opener with us. Adam and Logan went back to settle up and later told us that Julio seemed unconcerned even though he knew we had forgotten to pay. He was just glad to know he had cooked great food with love for grateful customers. Thank you so much Julio, we will most definitely be back!

If you are interested in joining a group of Tasty Tourers for the South Austin Food Trailer Tour next Saturday, please RSVP on Facebook and we’ll see you there! The tour is during the day when Giovanni is closed, but I challenge the true believers to head over there that night after a break from eating to take a dip in Barton Springs.

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  • Anonymous

    What about Red House? Awesome pizza!! I think it's time to do a pizza poll. :-)

  • double tonic

    This place is going on my list. Sounds delish!

    My biggest, most shocking pizza surprise in recent memory … hanging out at Lavaca Street with a pretty large group, we decided to try a large pizza from Hog Island Deli next door and eat it at the bar. For $24, it was MASSIVE and fed six people.

    None of us could believe how good it was. Definitely Top 5 in Austin.

  • Jordan

    Jodi Bart is looking hot these days!! ;-)

  • Jodi

    Ha ha! I'm not in that photo. But, thanks on behalf of my friends Betsy and Rachel!

  • jeff

    It's indeed great pie. make sure and ask Julio to try whatever soup he has next time – always made the day of based on what's available; sometimes he'll through a pint in for free just to let you enjoy it!