Restaurants / Openings

Houston Doubles Up On New Pizza Hotspots — Via 313 Celebrates Detroit-Style Pies While Magdalena’s Keeps It Upscale Italian

Memorial and West U Both Get In On the Always Welcome Pizza Fever

BY // 03.08.24

Pizza, pizza, pizza pie. Houston is getting two new neighborhood pizzerias with two very different pizza-making styles. In the Memorial area, Austin export Via 313 just opened at 10201 Katy Freeway, Suite 350 near the Memorial Hermann Medical Center. Founded by Brandon and Zane Hunt, Via 313 specializes in Detroit-style pizza.

Known for its rectangular shape, each Via 313 pizza is baked in a heavy steel pan (inspired by the auto parts trays found in the Motor City in the 1940s), where the light, focaccia-like dough (put through a slow-rise two-day process) develops a golden, crisp crunch on its bottom. While on top the cheese, spread from edge to edge, develops a lacey, caramelized texture before it’s topped with dollops of tomato sauce.

The Hunt Brother’s move to Houston brings the 18th Via 313 restaurant overall. This growing pizza empire has been hailed for making “One of the very best pizzas” by Food & Wine magazine and recognized as one of the “Top Pizzas in America” by the Food Network. Menu selections you can expect at Via 313 include the Detroiter ($15), with smoked pepperoni beneath the cheese and natural casing pepperoni scattered atop; and the Cadillac ($18), made with gorgonzola, fig preserves, prosciutto, parmesan and drizzled with a balsamic glaze.

Magdalena’s Brings Chef Power

Across town in the West University neighborhood, Nicolas Nikic has opened Magdalena’s Trattoria and Pizzeria at 5110 Buffalo Speedway at Westpark. Magdalena’s brings a focus on fresh, authentic Italian cuisine including handmade pasta, hand-tossed pizza, grilled specialty items and Italian desserts. If Nikic’s name and certainly his face looks familiar, you might have met him when he worked in the front of the house, managing restaurants like DaMarco and Dolce Vita. Inspired by his own Italian mother Magdalena and her family recipes, he’s brought on executive chef Luis Silva, whose CV includes time at Vic & Anthony’s and La Griglia, as well as pastry chef Maribel Zarate.

Cheese Tortellini at Magdalena’s
One can enjoy cheese tortellini and other pastas hand made in-house at the new Magdalena’s Trattoria and Pizzeria. (Photo by Alex Montoya)

Magdalena’s menu features a dozen thin-crust Neapolitan-style hand-tossed pizzas, including variations like salsiccia e friarielli ($21) made with house-made sausage, rapini and pecorino cheese and a tonno e Cipolla ($21) with preserved Sicilian tuna, Tropea onion and tomato as well as the traditional Margherita. In addition, Magdalena’s expansive offerings also includes handmade pasta from potato gnocchi ($19) simply tossed in butter, cheese and fresh sage leaves to a sweet corn-filled ravioli with lobster in a tomato olive oil sauce ($32).

Or indulge in secondi like oven-roasted branzino ($48), baked quail with polenta ($30) and Barolo braised osso buco and risotto ($44).

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Magdalena’s Executive Chef Luis Silva
Magdalena’s executive chef Luis Silva prepares Neapolitan-style pizza at this new West University Italian spot. (Photo by Alex Montoya)

The restaurant’s wine list, curated by Nicolas Nikic, who earned a GAJA Award of Excellence for Best Sommelier, features an extensive selection of domestic, French and Italian wines. These wines are also available for purchase by the case at competitive retail pricing.

“We’re thrilled to bring this restaurant to life and to share my family’s authentic Italian recipes with the Houston community,” Nikic says. “I grew up in Vienna and studied hospitality all over Europe, learning from the very best. Magdalena’s will give our guests a true Italian dining experience in the heart of Houston.”

Via 313 is open Mondays through Thursdays from 11 am to 10 pm, Fridays and Saturdays from 11 am to 11 pm, and Sundays from 11 am to 9 pm. Magdalena’s is open Tuesdays through Thursdays from 4 pm to 9 pm, Fridays from 4 pm to 10 pm, Saturdays from 11:30 am to 10 pm and Sundays from 11:30 am to 9 pm. It is closed on Mondays.

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