HOUSTON - Barstool Sports ‘El Presidente’ Dave Portnoy was in Houston last week inking some deals and chowing down on two local pizza joints. It was all part of Dave’s famous "One Bite Review Series" of businesses across the country.
The rules are simple: one bite of pizza and Barstool Dave ranks it on a scale of 1 to 10. Anything above a 7 is considered remarkable because he is a pretty tough pizza critic. Unfortunately, only one of the two places he visited in Houston, made the slice.
Frank’s Pizza at 417 Travis St. in downtown is one of Houston’s all-time favorite pizza places, with customers often lined out the door.
"It’s one of the places when you’re walking like hey, I’m hungry, let’s come to Frank's," said Ruben Valles.
However, pop-culture icon, Barstool Sports 'El Presidente' Dave Portnoy, wasn't sold.
"This is drunk pizza. I don’t know what to say. Like, I don’t know what else to say. I love Houston, the people have been great. I cannot lie. Love me, hate me, I cannot lie; it’s a 5.4, that’s our review," said Portnoy during his review posted to Instagram and Twitter.
Frank's customers were quick to defend the joint.
"I love pizza overall, but this has to be some of the best pizza in Houston," said Gregorio Morales. "That guy must be drunk himself if he’s saying that."
Portnoy also tasted a slice from The Gypsy Poet on 2404 Austin St. in Midtown and this time, he was very impressed.
"This is 10 minutes after it came out of the oven. I’m going to go 7.8, and I think this would’ve had a legit chance to be in the 8's if I had it fresh," Portnoy said.
The owners of The Gypsy Poet, Vanessa Fernandez and Cesar Monticelli are from Venezuela.
The couple opened the pizza parlor in September 2019 and unlike most restaurants, their family-owned business actually found a majority of their success during the pandemic. They say the gypsy’s secret lies in their dough.
"We don’t want to follow any rules, we create our own formula. It’s something between different styles of pizza. We make the dough every day, and we wait 48 hours to use it, so it’s long fermented. In that way, it’s really easy to digest," Fernandez said.
Before opening, Fernandez and Monticelli said they didn't have any professional culinary experience, as their backgrounds were in civil engineering and journalism.
Monticelli said the business only has one oven and operates with a small team of nine people who work every day of the week. They're currently working on plans to open a second location in Houston.
"This (Jose Altuve bobblehead) is our totem. He brings us luck and people love him too, but we love people from Philadelphia, so if they want to come here and eat our pizza, come on," Monticelli adds.
The two owners hope Portnoy will return to Houston soon to try their pizza again, this time fresh out of the oven.
Portnoy and Barstool Sports have become pop-culture icons with millions of followers on social media. The Gypsy Poet says they've been flooded with orders since the review came out, and they're grateful for the special shout-out right before the World Series.