A shark attack is a valid reason to stay on the boardwalk – but make that Boardwalk Pizza, located in Ellisville, and where the only sharks are attacked by hungry customers.
“The Great White and the Shark Attack are two of our best-selling pizzas,” said Boardwalk Pizza Owner Virgil Azanzado, who created his unique style of East Coast pizza based on the early memories of the pizza he enjoyed along the Jersey Shore boardwalk.
“The pizza I had along the boardwalk back in New Jersey inspired me to open Boardwalk. It also helped inspire the names of some of our most popular gourmet pizza combinations.”The Boardwalk, the company’s namesake pie, is built on fresh rolled dough and loaded with Mozzarella, pepperoni, sausage, red onions, mushrooms and black olives. It claims bragging rights as the menu’s No. 1 customer pick. But stalking No. 1 is the Shark Attack, a meat-lovers’ delight, sporting seven different meats, including both Canadian and American bacon.
“People also really like the Great White,” Azanzado said, which is his twist on the ultimate cheese pizza, made with Mozzarella, provolone, ricotta and parmesan cheeses. “The Boardwalk, Shark Attack and Great White are our three top-selling pizzas, but we offer a lot more. On the pizza side of the menu, we have the classics people always like – pepperoni and cheese pizzas. You can create your own pizza on your choice of crust – our regular crust or the St. Louis style thin crust. We also have a blended cheese similar to Provel we can use.”
Azanazdo operated a successful Pizza World franchise for 10 years before selling the business and opening Boardwalk about five years ago. He said he’s always been drawn to the food world. His career has included a stint at the old Lotus Room, selling hot dogs downtown from a pushcart, and finally studying foodservice hospitality at St. Louis Community College at Forest Park. All excellent learning opportunities, which helped him discover his love of pizza and entrepreneurship.
“I always wanted to do something on my own – without another franchise,” he said.
Azanazdo does things the old school way, using time-honored techniques and featuring house-made dough and fresh ingredients. Each pizza is custom-made by hand and generously topped. It’s a formula that also is used in creating Boardwalk’s Calzones and Stromboli, two hearty alternatives to traditional pizza.
Named for city destinations, each calzone is stuffed with a variety of delicious fillings. The Gateway is stuffed with pepperoni, sausage and a three-cheese mix that includes Provel, of course. Civic pride aside, the Chi Town – stuffed with bacon and ham – and the South Beach calzone – Boardwalk’s answer to the Cuban – are menu must-trys.
Its Stromboli, finished with a brush of garlic butter sauce, has customers lining up for more.
While its pizza, calzones and Stromboli are hard to pass up, Boardwalk encourages hungry customers to consider the rest of its menu. Baked subs and a create-your-own baked pasta are tempting, especially when paired with one of the menu’s six salads, making a perfect duo to share.
And, of course, Azanazdo carries his passion for quality right through to his appetizers – classics such as Wings and Toasted Ravioli as well as the unusual Land Shark Pork Bites and savory Garlic Knots.
Dine in or carry out, Boardwalk Pizza’s take on the East Coast, made right here in West County, is a treat not to be missed.