Overview: Americans have had a long-standing love affair with pizza and knows just how you like it. Just as the name suggests, your pizza is prepared in a wood-fired oven, which adds a wonderful smoky flavor. The cuisine is gastropub meets pizza parlor. The menu is loaded with classic and unique combinations for the pizza pie. The customer can choose between a regular crust and foldable New York style thin crust. Although Willow Street is primarily a pizza joint, other menu meals are a delight. The restaurant offers a selection of items that accommodate the gluten-free diner and each day provides an opportunity to sample some special creation. This restaurant is one of three locations and is a great place to go for the value-conscious diner.
Décor: Bright colorful palette of reds, aqua blues and greens give life to the interior. Movie poster art depicting Western films from the golden age of television hang on walls. Diners can enjoy eating in a casual atmosphere and choose between the main dining room’s booths, the bar, or the outdoor patio.
Drinks: The wild cat ($9.00) is the house specialty drink and the answer to the rum drinker's dream. It's made with four kinds of rum, pineapple, orange juice and a dash of grenadine. This beverage will make you roar with pleasure. There is a wide selection of beers ($6.00 and $8.50) with some nice craft brews like the Kona Long Board lager, Lagunitas IPA, Speakeasy Probation Ale and Speakeasy White Lightning Wheat. There are nice offerings of wine on the menu; the varietals include Salmon Creek Chardonnay ($5.50 and $21.00) to Rombauser Merlot ($14.50 and $56.00).
Appetizers: A good mix and match of well-loved favorites includes fresh manila clams ($11.00) with white wine sauce, garlic and tomato; cajun calamari steaks ($11.00) consist of coated calamari sautéed and served with red pepper aioli and mozzarella, and tomato bruschetta ($8.50) created with house-made mozzarella cheese with ripe Roma tomatoes, basil, and garlic served with garlic toast. The honey chipotle willow wings ($7.50) are a buffalo classic coated with the delicious sauce and served with blue cheese dressing. Don’t let the honey in the title fool you, there is some heat behind this bite.
Entrees: Any menu pizza comes in either regular or thin crust. The offerings fit those who enjoy classic combinations of meat and cheese and there are more artsy combinations that tease and tantalize the foodie in everyone. Try the Mediterraneo ($13.50) for a tasty collection of Italian sausage, pepperoni, mozzarella, fontina cheese, garlic mushroom and Caribbean peppers; you’ll never want a regular combination again. The restaurant likes to mix it up and create dishes that capture season vegetables like the eggplant and roasted tomato ($13.00), a pesto-based pizza piled with peppery arugula that adds a fresh zip to the savory concoction of fresh vegetables. For the folks that desire something other than pizza, the pastas are a wonderful option. You can choose to have a full or a half portion. The artichoke heat and chicken fusilli ($10.00 and $14.00) is scrumptious, served with sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, garlic, parmesan, fresh thyme and covered in a white wine sauce.
Sides: Chopped Italian pizza salad ($14.50) consists of chopped romaine lettuce and radicchio layered with salami, kalamata olives, red peppers, artichokes, capers, and feta cheese on a thin-crust pizza with mozzarella and smoked Gouda. Grilled salmon with fresh mango salsa ($14.50) showcases a spinach, mushroom and red pepper salad dressed in lime vinaigrette. There are a number of sides that are usually served with the meal, but some are so tasty that you may want to order them along side your pizza. They include garlic-mashed potatoes ($4.50), oven-roasted red potatoes ($4.50), sautéed almond broccoli ($5.00) and ginger rice ($4.00).
Desserts: The homemade cheesecake ($ 5.50) changes from time to time. On my visit, a margarita cheesecake was offered. Chocolateers will appreciate the molten chocolate cake ($6.50) and the fresh-baked Ghirardelli chocolate brownies ($ 6.00) with walnuts. The menu always has a seasonal dessert. A fresh berry crisp ($6.00) was heavenly.
Service: Warm and friendly. If you ask a million questions you will get a million affable answers. The servers are knowledgeable and are eager to help you have a great dining experience.
Signature Dish: There are a number of items on the menu that are Willow Street originals. They are easily recognizable in red print. One of the originals and a go-to item is the Italian sausage, pancetta and mixed-mushroom pizza ($14.00). This pie is loaded with the goods, and satisfies passionate pizza lovers.
- Willow Street Wood Fried Pizza
- 20 South Santa Cruz Ave.
- Chef Francisco Chavez
- Cost 25 to $50