Pizzas at Paul's Pizza Shop are crafted with a painstaking attention to detail and quality. The marinara sauce is canned straight from the tomato, the mozzarella cheese is comprised of whole milk and the dough—made with old-fashioned, compressed yeast—can only be created by two cooks who have made those pizzas for more than 20 combined years.
"Our pizza's definitely better than your average pizza," owner Bruce Raley said.
The pizzeria has been a staple in the Klein community for more than a decade. First opened by Paul Friedman in 2000, Raley purchased Paul's Pizza Shop in March 2006. Before the purchase, Raley said he experienced a life crisis when he began having seizures, two of which resulted in serious car accidents.
The restaurant owner said he had a successful career in IT business management, but his seizure medication made him rethink his career and he considered purchasing a business. The search eventually led him to Paul's Pizza Shop.
"I kept coming back to it because I just liked it more than the other businesses we looked at," he said.
Raley said keeping everything the same was important, and little of the menu has changed. The restaurant still offers a variety of traditional pizzas as well as some distinctive options, such as a barbecue chicken pizza served with barbecue sauce and a buffalo chicken pizza topped with alfredo sauce.
"I didn't change the branding, because if I had, people would have thought we had changed all of the stuff," Raley said. "That's why you want the business. You want the recipe. You want the name."
The pizzeria offers more than just pizza. Raley said the restaurant is known for its pepperoni rolls and cheese sticks. Paul's Pizza Shop also offers some carefully crafted calzones, a few simple pasta dishes, hot and cold submarine sandwiches, soups and a varied salad bar.
"It's not just lettuce and cheese and tomatoes," he said. "We've got a bunch of prepared salads. I have a cook [whose] responsibility is to make salads."
Sitting across from Klein High School, Paul's Pizza Shop has been a first job for many high school students within Klein ISD, Raley said.
"They're almost like my nieces or something, and most of them come back and say hello when they're in town," he said. "One of the things I'm proudest of is the kids who come out of here."
Raley said the vast majority of the business comes from repeat customers, and he values the restaurant's reputation as a family-friendly business.
"So many of our customers we know by name or sometimes I forget their name, but I know the pizza they like," he said. "When people come in they should feel welcome, kind of like they're part of the neighborhood, part of the family."
From the menu
- Pepperoni rolls: Topped with Romano seasoning and served with marinara or ranch for dipping. $4.75 (3), $7.50 (6).
- Calzones: Made with thin dough and topped with ricotta and provolone cheeses, calzones come with a choice of three toppings and marinara sauce. $8.50.
- Buffalo chicken pizza: Covered with barbecue sauce and topped with chicken, bacon, red onions and fresh cilantro. Can be made with smoked sausage. $11.50–$17.50
- Brenda's special: Served without cheese and topped with black olives, green olives, mushrooms, onions, green peppers, tomato, pineapple and Romano seasoning. $11.25–$17.25.
- Chinese chicken salad: Romaine lettuce with broccoli, sunflower seeds, fried noodles, chicken and Chinese dressing. $4.75.
Paul's Pizza Shop
16702 Stuebner Airline Road
Hours: Mon.–Thu. 10:30 a.m.–9 p.m., Fri.–Sat. 10:30 a.m.–10 p.m.,