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Pizzeria Bianco--What's The Drill?

lawyerbriefs Jul 14, 2009 09:01 PM

My wife and I will be in Phoenix next Tuesday and want to do Pizzeria Bianco before we drive back to Tucson. Will some kind person fill me in on the particulars: What time do we get there to get the first seating? Where do we go once we leave our name? Is one pizza enough for two moderate eaters to share? Etc. We've never been, my wife's tolerance for extreme heat is limited and I want to get this right.

Thanks.

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    andyeats RE: lawyerbriefs Jul 14, 2009 09:13 PM

    I would arrive around 3:45pm. You'll need to wait in line until they open, regardless. While you wait in line, your wife may want to wait at Bar Bianco (next door). For two people, I would recommend an antipasto and pizza or two (you can always box up leftovers).

    4 Replies
    1. re: andyeats
      Firenza00 RE: andyeats Jul 14, 2009 09:44 PM

      Given the wait, I'd order as many pizzas as you think you can eat in the next few days. Might as well make the most of the wait. :) Wiseguy and Rosa are our faves.

      1. re: Firenza00
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        crsin RE: Firenza00 Jul 14, 2009 09:54 PM

        Off topic, but have you had Humble Pie's 'sort-of' version of the Rosa? If so, how does it compare? This is ther only thing I've had at HP that I haven't been big on, and it's caused me to shy away from the Rosa, unfortunately.

        1. re: crsin
          Firenza00 RE: crsin Jul 15, 2009 01:39 PM

          I have had their version of the Rosa. PB's Rosa is definitely better. I had HP's version a while ago (but more recent than PB) and it wasn't as refined. I still liked it, but PB's is better. I really enjoy HP's pies, but they are just not quite as good as Bianco's creations.

          1. re: Firenza00
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            crsin RE: Firenza00 Jul 15, 2009 02:52 PM

            Interesting, that's kind of what I suspected. I'll have to give it a try next time.

            As long as we're listing favorites, I'll throw out my vote for the phenomenal biancoverde (have them add prosciutto to it...even better), and I'll add another vote for the wiseguy.

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      crsin RE: lawyerbriefs Jul 14, 2009 09:36 PM

      As andyeats mentioned, bar bianco is in a building adjacent to the pizzeria. Put your name in, and you can both head over there. They will find you and let you know when your table is ready. Many people like to walk around, go to the science center, etc., and I believe as long as you let the host know before going anywhere (they do walk throughs and check who's still waiting), and make it back in time, that's acceptable. Never done this, as the bar is a great place to spend time.

      I'd say one pizza is not enough if either of you has an appetite. If you're doing one pizza, you'll probably want to do at least another course or two. I could easily eat an order of spiedini, followed by an entire pizza myself, but I can pack it away (and after 3 hrs of waiting, I see no other option). Friends I've gone with, though, have been happy with half a pizza and an app. You'll get a feel for quantity once you're there. Enjoy it!

      2 Replies
      1. re: crsin
        azbirdiemaker RE: crsin Jul 17, 2009 10:42 PM

        Unless something has changed recently, they still don't open the doors or even speak to anyone until 5:00 p.m. or just a smidge earlier. Therefore, the OP will not be able to arrive at 3:45, put a name down, and then head to Bar Bianco ( which opens at 4:00 ). OP will need to arrive at 3:45 and stand in line until 4:50 - 5:00 which, if I read it correctly, is where the issue lies.

        This is how I have encountered it in the past and how I understand it to still work. No?

        Then again, I can't say that I've ever made the first seating in the dead of summer. Perhaps there aren't as many lining up in mid-July, negating the need to arrive so early and endure the wrath of the sun for so long?

        1. re: azbirdiemaker
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          crsin RE: azbirdiemaker Jul 20, 2009 09:33 PM

          You're right. My post wasn't intended for first seating strategy. Looking back, I see he asked for that specifcally...my mistake. Personally, I wouldn't bother with attempting to get first seating unless you're really in a rush to get back to Tucson. Waiting for an hour-plus at that time of day seems beyond brutal. Show up anytime after the initial rush of first-seaters gets there, and you can walk right up, get your name in, and immediately run next door for cover.

      2. JK Grence the Cosmic Jester RE: lawyerbriefs Jul 15, 2009 02:22 PM

        If your wife is intolerant to intense heat, you may be wise to skip the first seating, as it will still well over 100 (and likely over 110) at that point. As others have mentioned, Bar Bianco is a wonderful way to pass the time (I bring a deck of playing cards with), and the nearby Arizona Center is wonderful for strolling.

        The pizzas are about a 10 inch, and serve one somewhat generously. Their antipasto plate is fabulous. Bianco gets me to joyously eat vegetables I normally despise. The spiedini is wonderful, too. The first time I had the spiedini, my friend and I loved it so much that if the waitress hadn't pulled the plate when she did, we would have started gnawing on the skewer.

        This time of year, it would be very worthwhile to get the insalata caprese (homemade mozzarella, fresh tomatoes, and basil drizzled with olive oil). I remember getting it in January once and it was incredible; I can only imagine how incredible it will be when tomatoes are in season. As for favorites, my favorite is the Margherita. It is my platonic ideal for how a classic pizza is supposed to be. The Wiseguy and Sonny Boy are ridiculously good too. But really, you can't go wrong with any of them.

        1. e_bone RE: lawyerbriefs Jul 15, 2009 04:07 PM

          I'll tell you what *not* to do... show up as I did at 4:45pm hoping to sit down within the hour. To quote SNL quoting Brando in "The Wild One": "She looked at me as if I was a bug!"

          Because we couldn't wait I never go to go. Guh. Next trip.

          I was wondering- since they take reservations for large groups- perhaps some visiting (and local) hounds could get together and combine forces to secure a table?

          7 Replies
          1. re: e_bone
            hohokam RE: e_bone Jul 15, 2009 04:21 PM

            Just put out the call for volunteers when you think you will next be in town. Even a few of us locals at times find the wait too onerous to contemplate and would appreciate the opportunity to skip it. :-)

            I believe 6 is still the magic number to qualify for a reservation.

            1. re: e_bone
              Seth Chadwick RE: e_bone Jul 15, 2009 05:05 PM

              Indeed.

              As hohokam said, let us know. I won't got to PB unless I am in a group and can snag a reservation. But I am happy to meet up with new chowhounds and enjoy Bianco's creations.

              1. re: e_bone
                johnseberg RE: e_bone Jul 15, 2009 05:21 PM

                This needs to be carefully planned. I tried this with some visiting chowhounds, about a year ago, and it didn't work out. At that time reservations had to be made exactly one month in advance. They start taking calls at a specific time, and only make so many reservations. I can't remember the exact details, and they may have changed since then.

                1. re: e_bone
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                  srf1 RE: e_bone Jul 15, 2009 05:39 PM

                  I'd be up for it - cant do the wait, but would for sure do a reservation especially if it's planned in advance.

                  1. re: e_bone
                    scaheld RE: e_bone Jul 15, 2009 06:02 PM

                    Last time I did the reservations thing, it's exactly four weeks in advance & call at exactly 4pm or you're likely out of luck. Oh, and 6-10 guests are the possible numbers, although the date I wanted they could only handle up to 8 ppl. Not sure how many reserved parties per night they would allow. Best of luck!

                    1. re: scaheld
                      Rubee RE: scaheld Jul 15, 2009 06:10 PM

                      IIRC, when I asked a couple of months ago, they said they book two seatings a night for reserved parties.

                      1. re: scaheld
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                        Booger RE: scaheld Jul 15, 2009 09:23 PM

                        I concur on calling exactly 4 weeks in advance, and right at 4:00pm.

                        I tried recently, and while the hostess on the phone was nice, she basically laughed me off the phone when I called at 5:30 (exactly one month in advance).

                        It seems reasonably easy to eat there any night, if you understand that you need to get there at least 3 hours in advance of when you would like to actually be seated (although, that particular comment may be the opposite of easy).

                        It is a wonderful place, that we are lucky to have, so I guess it is encouraging to see them continue to have such success.

                        A great alternative (that never seems to pop up in PB discussions) is to go to Pane Bianco for lunch. The Caprese sandwich is absolutely stunning, and allows a person to taste Chris Biancos food without putting a lot of effort into it.

                    2. d
                      duck833 RE: lawyerbriefs Jul 15, 2009 05:59 PM

                      I would love to try PB sometime but DW can not do the wait, blood sugar problems.

                      I bought a BGE and have figured out how to do my own pies on a high temp ceramic cooker. With fresh local ingrediants it is pretty darn good.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: duck833
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                        crsin RE: duck833 Jul 15, 2009 10:59 PM

                        duck-not sure if this changes anything for you, but bar bianco has a small, but high quality menu of small plates/bar eats (cheese plate, etc.), which may help sustain you and DW while you wait if you so choose...just a thought.

                      2. m
                        meleyna RE: lawyerbriefs Jul 15, 2009 09:54 PM

                        I wish I had friends willing to make dinner plans a month in advance. I've yet to do PB simply because my 20-something friends refuse to wait 3+ hours to eat pizza, when Domino's delivers in 30 min. After all, pizza's just drunk/hangover food...

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: meleyna
                          Firenza00 RE: meleyna Jul 15, 2009 10:57 PM

                          Find better friends. :)
                          Our visit took a lot of planning around various schedules, but we managed to get 8 or so of us. Within a few minutes past our reservation time, they called us in and we were in business. You could always make reservations ahead and as the date gets closer, line up people to go with you. :)

                          1. re: meleyna
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                            crsin RE: meleyna Jul 16, 2009 01:38 PM

                            Indeed, you just don't know the right 20-somethings. Everyone needs at least one friend/SO with enough enthusiasm for food to drop everything and head out with you when there's the prospect of a good meal. You might have more luck selling the idea from the angle that you're going to the bar for drinks and, Hey! might as well put a name on the list since you're there...

                            1. re: crsin
                              Firenza00 RE: crsin Jul 16, 2009 02:10 PM

                              Ah, subterfuge! Excellent.

                              1. re: Firenza00
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                                meleyna RE: Firenza00 Jul 17, 2009 08:40 PM

                                Haha, excellent idea! If only life continued to function for them outside of Old Town... Lol, fortunately, I am slowly but surely getting my SO to understand "my whole deal" with food. I'm betting that by the time the weather cools down, I'll be able to get him to wait with me.

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                            nearlywild RE: lawyerbriefs Jul 16, 2009 01:16 PM

                            You're basically getting there early to get in line to put your name on the waiting list. The lady will tell you approximately what time she thinks you'll be seated. She can also give you their phone number and you can call and check in. That's what we did while we geocached around the area.

                            1. ipsedixit RE: lawyerbriefs Jul 16, 2009 10:48 PM

                              Get their around 5-5:30 ish.

                              Put your name down.

                              Tell them you're going for a stroll around downtown.

                              Head over to the Arizona Center and catch a movie at the AMC theaters.

                              Movie over ... table ready.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: ipsedixit
                                JK Grence the Cosmic Jester RE: ipsedixit Jul 17, 2009 04:40 AM

                                Smashing idea.

                                Something I would do if I wasn't always stuck working Fridays... the Arizona Science Center right next to PB is open for free for adults on First Fridays from 5:30 to 9, and they ask you to please leave your kids at home that night. They also have a special guest presentation at 7. The wait may be longer for PB on that night, but after acting like kids at heart at the Science Center, are you really going to notice any extra wait?

                                1. re: ipsedixit
                                  azbirdiemaker RE: ipsedixit Jul 17, 2009 10:42 PM

                                  Exactly ... you have to have a plan surrounding it.

                                  Personally, I go there after every Dbacks game I attend. I head over in the middle of the seventh or eighth inning and put my name down. They always tell me that I have to be back there by 10:00. No problem. Head back over to the game, catch the rest of the Dbacks loss, and then head back over to PB after the game is over. I'm usually only gone for 1/2 an inning and don't miss much. I've only had to leave an extra-inning game once to be there on time and have never missed the rest of a regular length game.

                                  1. re: azbirdiemaker
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                                    Booger RE: azbirdiemaker Jul 20, 2009 08:47 AM

                                    Great idea. The only time I went to PB, the organizer did the same thing. We are planning on going to a baseball game in the next few weekends, I think this inspires me to make a PB meal part of the evening plans.

                                    Bottom line, it sounds like the best thing to do, is plan something else to do downtown while you are waiting (DBacks Game, Museum, Movie, etc).

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