Monday, November 1, 2010

Restaurant Review: Conan's Pizza

Day one of Vegan MoFo! I was going to save this review until a little later in the month, but I couldn't wait, especially after Gerald was so kind as to offer up a donation of delicious, delicious pizza for VRA's Halloween party. I figured I owed it to vegans all over Austin to tell of the wonders that are only a phone call away.

It all started when Gerald from Conan's posted a note over at Vegans Rock Austin! that starting October 26, Conan's Pizza would begin offering Daiya on their pizzas, and that both the wheat and white deep dish crusts were vegan.

Wait, a local chain that is in my neighborhood AND delivers to my house is offering Daiya AND they have vegan deep dish crusts? This is amazing! I knew this deserved further investigation.

We drove by and sure enough, their sign proudly proclaimed that they had vegan options. I got a small Don't Choke Art! which includes artichoke hearts, spinach, garlic, and tomatoes. Conan's put a perfect amount of Daiya and toppings, and I have to say, I think the pizza was even better after it had cooled. I've always been a big fan of cold, leftover pizza, and for me, room temperature Daiya pizza is the way to go. I'm not a huge fan of cold Daiya pizza, since, as Daiya doesn't really firm it when it's chilled, it seems kind of soggy.

My favorite noncheese of choice for pizzas is still FYH Monterrey Jack, but Daiya is definitely gaining ground. And I'm really glad that so many restaurants are offering it. It seems to be opening a lot of doors for vegans and other dairy-free people. As I said on my twitter stream, I feel this is truly the start of a vegan revolution.... If you're not a fan of fake cheese, I think this pizza would be great without any cheese or Daiya.

I've never had deep dish pizza other than Pizza Hut's Pan pizza, which was my family's pizza of choice when I was growing up and this was so good! It was really comforting, because it kind of reminded me of the pan pizza, but at the same time, it was also completely different. The crust was soft and bready just under the toppings but perfectly crisp, with that fried dough texture all along the edges and bottom of the pizza.

Look at how thick this baby was!
Conan's has four veggie "specialty" pizza options and ten vegetable/seasoning options. They also offer barbecue sauce and pesto, but as of this writing, only the tomato sauce is vegan, however, it sounds as if they might be looking into making a vegan pesto.

They do charge a little more for the Daiya, but they offer a 10% discount if you have a Go Local card, and you can print out $2 off coupons. I got the small, which I believe is about 8 inches. My small deep dish was about $11, which is not bad all, since it was fresh, super thick, and mega delicious, plus, it will feed me at least once more. It was perfect and could feed about 2-3 people if you had a salad or vegetables on the side. Of course, you could also be like JD and eat the whole thing in one sitting....

The south location is also really cute, with a Colorado table, a rock'n' roll table, and plants with names like Alabama and Batman. It gets extra points for being right next to my favorite library on the south side and right across from the park, although it's also right across the street from a high school and college, so it's likely to be packed at lunch time on weekdays.

At the VRA Halloween party, I got to try a slice of another pizza, which I think was either the Veggie or the Veggie Supreme (I didn't see any tomato or pineapple slices, but I did catch a few pieces of jalepeno, so maybe it was something else entirely). As my first pizza confirmed, Conan's makes a great pizza, and Austin Vegans are lucky to be able order deep dish pizzas.


Jeni Treehugger said...

WOAH THAT PIZZA! That is a thing of beauty and you are so lucky being able to get one of these delivered to your door whenever you feel like it!
Happy MoFo'ing.

Anonymous said...

Conan's came from the infamous "Leonardo's" across from the University of Florida in Gainesville. I spent a lot of time there drinking beer, playing video games, and eating the incredible slices (one slice a whole meal).

Then, on a trip to Austin, I discovered Conan's. In the early 80s y college buddy and I would literally drive 4 and a half hours from Dallas on a Friday afternoon, order two pies half-cooked, then take 'em back to Dallas. We'd individually wrape and freeze pieces for later use.

Now though, I wouldn't get the pie with the Daiya cheese 'cause of the high fat (added oil) content. But, even without that, I'm sure those pizzas would be outstanding. Something about the crust and sauce... never figured out how they'd do it.

Thanks for the memories!


mollyjade said...

I'm really excited too. We already ordered pizzas, and it felt so *normal*. I love deep dish pizza, and I love that the owner is being to open about everything.

Chris W. said...

Thanks for the great review! I thought I'd let you know that during January, we are giving away our Daiya chesse as a FREE topping, so take some friends to try it for the 1st time. They'll thank you later. (just print the coupon from our website).

Chris W.
Conans Pizza