Local Dining By BLAKE AUSTYN
LOCAL OWNERS: Mike Bausch, co-owner of Andolini’s Pizzeria, stands in the restaurant’s midtown Tulsa Cherry Street location, 1552 E. 15th St. Mike opened the first Andolini’s with his brother, Jim, in 2005 in Owasso.
BLAKE AUSTYN for GTR Newspapers
When Mike Bausch moved to the greater Tulsa area to join his brother, Jim, and open a pizza restaurant, the plan was always to go big, says Mike Bausch.
The brothers opened Andolini’s Pizzeria in Owasso in 2005, but they took their time before expanding, learning from past mistakes and finding what worked best, Mike continues.
Mike and Jim next expanded Andolini’s Pizzeria into midtown Tulsa onto Cherry Street in 2011. That was followed by Gelateria in The Farm shopping center and Pizzeria and Gelateria in the Blue Dome District in downtown Tulsa, both in 2014. stands for Specialty and Tradition Guaranteed, or Specialita Tradizionale Garantita in Italian.
After Mike’s trip to Italy in 2009 to compete in a pizza-making competition, “I came back wanting to do something very authentic, exactly as it is in Italy,” he says. That inspiration was behind the creation of and its gelato and authentic Italian Napoletana pizza.
In 2015, Andolini’s opened in downtown Broken Arrow’s Rose District, at 222 S. Main St., with a fourth Andolini’s planned to open in April, this location at Jenks’ RiverWalk Crossing.
Regarding the decision to bring Andolini’s to Jenks, “we want to go into communities where our brand matches a walkable environment and where people enjoy our pizza choices,” says Mike.
The Jenks location will be the company’s largest location to date, including with a private room with audio-visual capabilities. The restaurant will offer the same signature Andolini’s pizzas found at its other locations as well as gelato.
Regarding the restaurant’s exterior, “we like the look of the natural brick at our Cherry Street location. You’ll know from both inside and the parking lot that it’s Andolini’s,” he says.
Another notable element to all of the Bausches’ restaurants is what is not there: televisions. “We want people to enjoy each other without distractions,” Mike says.
My party visited Andolini’s in Broken Arrow for an early weeknight dinner. That is when we found out about Andolini’s happy hour: half-price appetizers 2-5 p.m, Monday-Friday. The happy hour special is available at all Andolini’s locations.
We decided to take advantage of that and chose three appetizers from its list: Appian Way Meatballs with Fresh Mozzarella, Marzano Rolls and Eggplant Parmigian.
The Appian Way Meatballs with Fresh Mozzarella had three hearty, large meatballs with a good flavor. The Marzano Rolls, stuffed with pesto, san marzano tomatoes and fresh basil, had a nice basil flavor, and I enjoyed the doughiness of the bread. The Eggplant Parmigian was tasty and is a nice vegetarian choice; there is also a gluten-free option.
For our pizza, we choice The Athenian, with olives, feta cheese, red onions and sausage. The pizza was cheesy with a strong onion flavor, but with the mild sausage flavor, the ingredients combined to create a unique, overall flavor that got better as I ate it.
Pizzas come in 14, 16 and 20-inch sizes, and the options for toppings and styles can make your head spin. There are make-your-own options, classic, and specialty pizzas, and Napoletana pizzas that require a special oven to cook the pizzas to 900 degrees.
The Broken Arrow restaurant is currently the only Andolini’s location where Napoletana pizzas are available.
Other Andolini’s specials include a weekly Pint Night every Tuesday, featuring a $5 beer (you can keep the glass) and $5 slices of a featured pizza. This special is available at all Andolini’s locations.
Its Cherry Street location offers Late Night Slices Thursday-Saturday, 10 p.m.-close.