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Jun 2, 2010 04:11 PM

Pizzeria Bianco- elusive prey in sight...


I tried on a previous trip to get into PB and failed... we went what I thought was "early" (5:00pm) on a weekend night and thought we'd be able to get a table with maybe a 45 min wait or so. I can't type enough HA's to tell you how wrong THAT was... I thiink the kind but smirking hostess quoted 3.5 hours.

So I'm coming back down and this time I want to wrestle this beast to the ground... I'm going next Tuesday night... I don't mind cooling my heels in Bar Bianco for a small while.. but not 3 hours. If i show up at 3:30pm.. and wait for Bar Bianco to open at 4pm.. will I be able to get on the PB list at that time or do I have to wait for PB to open at 5pm to get waitlisted?

Tuesday the 8th is the only night I can make it (since they are closed on Monday). It just HAS to work this time! I must try this pizza!

Any advice appreciated.

Pizzeria Bianco
623 E Adams St, Phoenix, AZ 85004

Bar Bianco
609 E Adams St, Phoenix, AZ 85004

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  1. I don't live there, but I will be close that same day and I called about 2 weeks ago to get a reservation for next week and the PB phone recording said there were no more reservations available until after June 21. I read here on a different post that they only take 2 reservations per night. Hate to bring bad news, but thought you'd want to know. Personally, I will either have to skip PB or wait... the jury is still out.

    1 Reply
    1. re: isabel13

      ...also Pizzeria Bianco's suggestions for reservations are 1-2 months in advance.

      Pizzeria Bianco
      623 E Adams St, Phoenix, AZ 85004

    2. I'm pretty sure you have to physically wait in line until they open the doors at 5, but I could be wrong...I've only gone at 5-5:30 and just embraced the wait.

      During summer, I'd rather spend 3 hours drinking and eating at the bar than stand in the daytime heat for 1.5

      1. You should be there at least by 3:30 if you want to get in at 5, I would suggest being there at 3 though to be safe. Usually in the summer people don't show up as early since it is so hot. Sit on the closest park bench to the door as you can, of course behind others if there are any. If there are others there, take note of who they are and your place in line. When the bar opens, if you are alone be sure to let the people behind you know you will be right back. You probably shouldn't wait in the bar, not sure how everyone else would feel about that.

        At about 4 they will bring chairs out for the tables, the first two dozen or so people will take those then the rest of the people will take the benches and stand in line. A bit before 5 everyone will start lining up at the door in the order they arrived. At 5 the nice hostess will come out and call for the one reservation for the night, they will get in first. Then the hostess will start letting people in. If you are there by 3 you should be able to get in at this seating, especially if you are alone, you can sit at the bar (not the wine bar). Only when the place is full will the hostess take names. If you are on this list (I told you to get there at 3! : )) you can then go to the wine bar and wait inside, they will find you.

        Good luck! I hope you enjoy it.

        8 Replies
        1. re: skirk

          Nice post. I wish I could be as clear and complete about the reservation policy.

          1. re: johnseberg

            Reservation can be made exactly four weeks prior; 6-10 people, two seatings per night. Call at 4P exactly four weeks out. Correct me if I've misstated anything.

            1. re: scaheld

              That sounds very close to the last time I tried to make a reservation back in the fall of 2008, IIRC. I gave up on it, but, somebody else in my party was willing and able to make a reservation.

          2. re: skirk

            Thanks for the insight.. seems like the "citizens" should start a "what order we arrived" list so we can wait in Bar Bianco and have an apertif while we wait for 5pm.

            I will post results of my strategy and experiences when I am completed with my endeavors on Tuesday. Pray for me!

            Bar Bianco
            609 E Adams St, Phoenix, AZ 85004

              1. re: skirk

                I am late posting this... it was a busy week and subsequent weekend. I'm also posting another topic about some other places I tried during my stay. But the long-and-short of it- I finally got seated at PB!

                ANYWAY... Events once again conspired against me at work and I wasn't able to get to the slightly-hard-to-find location (if you didn't bring directions with you) until they were already opening the doors at 5pm. I waited in a fairly long but pleasant line (considering the pizza-oven type heat!) for about 20 minutes to get my name on the list. I was quoted 2 hours but the hostess told me to stay close as solo diners are a little easier to squeeze in than others. I agreed I'd sit at the bar in the Pizzeria so that helped my chances as well. I went next door to Bar Bianca and had a very refreshing sparkling water and a glass of white wine. I cooled off, responded to some emails and 45 mins later was called to the Pizzeria. Painless!

                I don't envy the folks at PBianco- people walk in with hugely inflated expectations and possibly some issues with the "wait-and-wait-and-wait to get a table" policies. It's hard to impress folks that are living in that mental/emotional space I'm sure. My server at the bar seems to "get that" and was very professional and showed empathy for myself and the folks around me. The "vibe" at the bar was very positive- the fact that we "made it in" to be fed had folks commiserating about how they went about getting into the restaurant and "is this your first time?" questions, etc.. The other thing that struck me at a high level was the simplicity of the menu and what appears to be a ruthless commitment to quality (which is a lot easier to do with a simple menu!). The hallmark of PB in my mind would appear to be this insistence on consistency and remarkably high standards. It's not fancy, its' not overly creative, and didn't appear to be a smug or self-satisfied place (which is what I feared I'd find). The tomatoes are true San Marzano, the olive oil (AMAZINGLY bright and tasty) is sourced with oversight from Chris Bianco himself from somewhere in Arizona (this surprised me), he has his own flour ground to meet fanatical specifications, etc.. He only does 6 pizzas.

                I had an appetizer of fontina cheese wrapped in prosciutto and "grilled" served over baby arugula. Salty and delicious. A touch of rosemary was heavenly against the smoky flavors. The app was served with the fabulous bread and savory olive oil. I could easily make a meal of the bread, olive oil, cheese and wine.

                Then the pizza- so hard to make up my mind! The most famous pie is the "Rosa" which is red onion, reggiano, rosemary and crushed pistachios. I almost went with it but instead chose a margherita so I could have the "basic" for my first visit. My waiter suggested a few additions and I added Sicilian anchovies to my pie. It was an inspired call- the earthiness of the anchovies were nicely balanced by the bright flavors of the tomatoes, basil and olive oil. The crust was as-advertised. Simply delicious. Nice char, soft, sweet, subtle salt. Great advice skirk on keeping my olive oil for the crust! I gobbled up every morsel.

                As I was one delicious slice into my pie my neighbor at the bar said he'd swap a slice of his WiseGuy (fennel sausage, onions, smoked mozz) with me. Such a great idea- it was a nice contrast to my pie but I liked mine better and so did he.

                The winelist is likewise small and pretty reasonably priced. The bartender let me sample a "Rosso" from Arizona (better than I expected) but I settled on a Rodano Chianti and if I had *one* complaint about the restaurant it is that the red wine is served too warm. The back of the bar where the wine sits is warmed by the refrigeration and perhaps the proximity to the pizza oven. I'm not suggesting they need a wine cellar and I'm snobbing out here- but wine that's ~75deg is just too warm.

                I hope I get a chance to go back- it was a GREAT pizza and the adventure was worth the struggle.

                1. re: e_bone

                  Thanks for the great report. I believe the olive oil is from the Queen Creek Olive Co. which is in Queen Creek southeast of Phoenix. They have great products and it is a fun place to visit.

                  1. re: e_bone

                    It sounds like it lived up to your expectations. I'm glad so glad you enjoyed it. Next time, do try the Rosa, it is perfection.

            1. BTW, don't let them take the leftover olive oil that comes with the bread if you get an appetizer. It is great with the crust!