Family-run Leander operation offers slice of familiarity
Pizzeria Rialto owner Phillip Saccone embraces his East Coast roots, and the evidence is in the pizza.
The one-size-fits-all, 18-inch pizza pies are mandatory at most New York–style pizza shops, Saccone said, and popular originals such as the Piazza, the Venetian and the Gondolier ensure an authentic Italian taste. He uses artisan bread, 100 percent low-fat mozzarella cheese slices and homemade sauce when creating Pizzeria Rialto's core product.
The business has helped Saccone, who previously worked for 30 years as a member of the insurance industry, his wife, Ellen, and his three children start anew. Despite being "semi-retired," Pizzeria Rialto serves as Saccone's new passion.
"The thing a smaller-run business can offer is hand-picked ingredients," he said. "I pride myself in taking this pizza up against any in terms of quality."
The location on US 183 is open every evening and often serves as a dining getaway for many families, Saccone said, many of whom regularly frequent Pizzeria Rialto.
"Certain families will come in and sit down at the same place each time," he said. "That's the real nice part of having a small, family-run shop like this—you get that kind of interaction."
Pizzeria Rialto's pizza is perfect for those families, he said, with only the 18-inch size available—larger than most extra-large pizzas at chain restaurants, Saccone said.
And with large families come diverse pizza preferences, but fortunately Saccone said any pizza can be sectioned off to feature multiple favorites on one pie. The menu also offers calzones, stromboli, pizza rolls, sandwiches and salads for those seeking something beyond pizza.
But the specialty pizzas often have customers visiting repeatedly to try new options, he said. Saccone features traditional styles as well as white pizza, which features a ricotta and mozzarella base instead of marinara. Pizzeria Rialto even features the Heart Health Special, a pizza inspired from Leander Healthcare Center doctors located around the corner in the Osage Village shopping center.
No matter the pizza, word of mouth has helped keep customers coming back, Saccone said.
"There's going to be some people who like your pizza and some who don't," he said. "Fortunately, we have had a lot of people come back for more."
- The Venetian: Sauceless pizza with feta, black olives, red onions, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh basil—$18.75
- The Grand Canal: Sauceless pizza with spinach, roasted red peppers, Italian sausage, fresh garlic—$18
- The Piazza: Traditional pizza with sun-dried tomatoes, fresh basil, artichoke hearts, black olives—$18
- The Gondolier: Traditional pizza with roasted red peppers, bacon, feta, fresh garlic, fresh basil—$18.75
- The Strada: Traditional pizza with salami, Canadian bacon, green and red peppers, green olives, garlic—$18
Pizza Amore (Lovers)
- Amore Meat: Traditional pizza with pepperoni, Italian sausage, bacon, Canadian bacon and ground beef—$18
- Amore Veggies: Traditional pizza with mushrooms, peppers, red onions and black olives—$17
- Amore Combo: Traditional pizza with Italian sausage, pepperoni, black olives, mushrooms, peppers and red onions—$18.75
- Amore Italiano: White pizza (ricotta and mozzarella) with added marinara, ground meatballs and Italian sausage—$18.50
- Amore Cheese: Traditional pizza with mozzarella, provolone, Parmesan and feta—$18
Pizzeria Rialto, 2701 S. US 183, Ste. A, Leander, 512-259-2399, www.pizzeriarialto.com
- Mon.–Sun. 4–9 p.m. (first order at 3:30 p.m.)