2 December, 2021, 17:30

El Rustico Birria Pizza is a real thing. And it’s on the menu at Zio Peppe.

"The idea for the birria pizza was there from the beginning when we knew we wanted to do Sonoran-Baja-Arizona-Tucson pizzas."

We here at Tucson Foodie wouldn’t be doing a good job of serving the great people of Southern Arizona if we didn’t take notice when things like a pizza topped with a favorite local taqueria’s birria and served with consomé for dipping crosses our path. But we did notice.

While Zio Peppe are newcomers to Tucson’s east side, owners Mat Cable and Devon Sanner are no freshmen to the local food scene. Cable has owned and operated Fresco Pizzeria for years and Sanner worked under and alongside Janos Wilder for over a decade.

El Rustico Birria Pizza at Zio Peppe

El Rustico Birria Pizza at Zio Peppe (Photo by Adam Lehrman)

The El Rustico Birria pizza features Zio Peppe’s signature crust, which includes a well-executed blend of hard red wheat from BKW farms, mesquite flour from Ishkashitaa, and the gold standard for Neapolitan style pizza, Caputo 00 Flour from Napoli. The pizza is topped with mozzarella, onion, and cilantro before getting a generous spreading of El Taco Rustico birria. After baking, the pizza gets a light oil drizzle before being served alongside El Taco Rustico’s birria consomé. Both the birria and the consomé are picked up multiple times per week from  El Taco Rustico.

“The idea for the birria pizza was there right from the beginning when we knew we wanted to do Sonoran-Baja Arizona-Tucson pizzas,” said Sanner. “Actually, we were first conceiving of it as a calzone, which would be a natural to pair with the consomé for dunking.”

El Rustico Birria Pizza at Zio Peppe

El Rustico Birria Pizza at Zio Peppe (Photo by Adam Lehrman)

After much experimentation Sanner and Cable didn’t find the calzone to be to their liking, but were happy with the pizza creation.

And I can tell you it’s delicious. If you’ve had the quesabirria tacos at El Taco Rustico, just imagine a pizza version of those tacos, sans the tortilla.

As for future collaborations, there’s nothing in the pipeline yet, said Sanner. A fall menu update is in the works, however and a seasonally appropriate ravioli is currently running as a special.

“We are running a special right now that might make it on the menu in some form. It’s a savory take on a PSL — coffee-accented pasta, a ricotta-pumpkin-pumpkin spice filling, holiday spice béchamel, and an amaretto-cherry sauce.”

Zio Peppe is located at 6502 E Tanque Verde. Visit ziopeppe.com for more information, including full  menu and hours.

Adam Lehrman started Tucson Foodie in late 2008 as a way to track his search for the best food Tucson had to offer.

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