Southside Flying Pizza: Small Town Vibes in Austin
For the past few years, I’ve disavowed pizza because it seemed like every major chain was always way too greasy and fatty. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good pizza every now and then. But every time I craved some I was left questioning whether it was worth satisfying this need with pizza I knew would leave me feeling disgusted after one slice. I was disheartened––until I recently discovered Austin-based Southside Flying Pizza.
Southside Flying Pizza is a local restaurant that’s been around for about 15 years according to their signage. They offer a variety of pizzas, sandwiches (even burgers at some locations), wings, and so much more. Their pizzas are made from scratch and you can build your own pizza if you’re not feeling any of their “High-Flying Pizzas”––although they’re pretty good already. Southside Flying Pizza currently have 6 locations in Austin and recently opened one in Houston.
I visited the South Congress location and immediately was greeted by feelings of nostalgia. Parking is a little weird, but to me, it seemed worth going through the difficulty because Southside seems like one of those places that’s been a staple to the community for years and remained a much-needed constant despite the drastic changes happening around them. It felt like I was walking back into a time before technology’s takeover.
Their indoor seating area has large windows from which you can watch people pass by. Brick columns plastered with art stud the sides, and old movie posters cram every inch of the tables. I sat on the covered part of their outdoor patio, which I found incredibly relaxing. The mahogany wooden benches contrasted well with their modern green chairs. This suggested to me that they were committed to keeping their old-school vibe while incorporating modern elements of today’s Austin. The outdoor walls are covered in murals, depicting what looks like the founder (it also coincidentally looked like what I assume is the manager of the location). Southside seems like the place you would come to when life feels overwhelming and you need to ground yourself for a minute. Overall, I enjoyed the low-key atmosphere and watching the people and cyclists go by while waiting for my food.
We ordered a large Flyin’ Hawaiian, which according to their website menus isn’t available at all their locations. We also ordered buffalo wings, and Waterloos to drink alongside the pizza. The Flyin’ Hawaiian consists of BBQ Sauce (although we replaced it with marinara), chicken, ham, red onions, pineapple, jalapeños, mozzarella, parmesan, and romano cheese.
Upon the first bite of pizza, I can already tell that it’s light, cheesy, and fresh––such a change from the rubbery feel of large national pizza chains. Its larger-than-normal slices and fresh ingredients give that cheese pull that you see on movies and TV while remaining soft and tender. Its easy to pull apart and melts in your mouth. There’s sweetness, there’s saltiness, and there’s heat––I can’t think of a better combination. It almost seems umami, a word meaning “essence of deliciousness” in Japanese. The meaty, savory deliciousness deepens the flavor of the dish.
The wings were also flavorful, soft, and easy to chew (you know how some wings feel like biting in leather?). They were spicy, but not so much that you needed to drown yourself in water to cool down. The spice level was just enough to encapsulate the buffalo heat and still savor the flavor.
If you’re looking for some tasty local pizza, Southside Flying Pizza is the spot. It’s sincerely one of the best pizzas I’ve had in a long time, affordable, and the place gives you that small-town feel in a big city. They recently acquired a delivery robot and you can see it going down South Congress. They’re an establishment that remains an Austin favorite while adhering to some inevitable change. They’ve managed to do it without compromising their authenticity and artisan value. Go give it a try if you haven’t already, I promise you won’t regret it!