Like college students around the country, Stanford students love pizza. Options abound for the hungry student in Palo Alto, ranging from the quick-and-dirty chain cardboard pie to the multiple-hour dinner experience. Considering this panoply of pizza possibilities, Howie’s Artisan Pizza in Town & Country Shopping Center stands out as a unique environment to enjoy the ‘za in a casual, yet elegant environment.
Proprietor & Chef Howard Bulka has created a pizza place that hums with sophistication. For the Stanford student, Bulka’s eatery presents two questions – is it worth the wait, and is it worth the money?
When I went to Howie’s, I had a thirty-five minute wait. Of course, Town & Country Shopping Center has a lot to see, but thirty-five minutes to wait while you’re already in town could be problematic – though it did add to the ambiance. Wine bottle containers for customer’s water compound the cosmopolitan dining experience. The bar, wine list and waiter service also adds to the upper-crust feel of the pizza place. That said, the splat-blot menu theme and family-friendly space attempts to decrease the pretentiousness sometimes associated with the “artisan” label.
Eschewing the traditional size choices and delivery services of a typical pizza joint, Howie’s prides itself on taking the time to cook each pizza from scratch using organic and local ingredients when possible. Pizzas only come in one size, which was enough for two people at my table. My dining companion loved his Chicken Chipotle Melt, especially the blend of sweet peppers and chipotle mayo.
In sum, Howie’s works as a restaurant, but may cater to a different crowd. The place is family friendly, with prices and portions reasonable for a family’s night out. To the college student looking for a pizza fix, Howie’s is worth a try but is unlikely to become a regular haunt for Stanford students, especially considering the convenience of delivery or the availability of cheaper options in similar proximity to campus.