At the end of last quarter, the pizza restaurant Southpaw stepped into the ring with the other venues of 12th Avenue, joining other student favorites like Rheinhaus and The Chieftan. It still has a long way to go before reaching the status of its more famous neighbors, but what Southpaw is already doing is providing a different niche to those looking for food close to campus.
Two pizza options offered at Southpaw.
Located right across the street from Xavier hall, the trip to Southpaw was very short and convenient, and could very likely be done between classes. Walking in, you are treated to a warm and relaxed environment with booths and long tables meant for small and large groups alike.
The name Southpaw describes an uncommon left-handed style used in boxing and is a very fitting description for the restaurant’s approach towards pizza. They describe their pies as being something of a hybrid, not quite the traditional fork and knife Neapolitan style but also not the topping-heavy New York style that is popular in the states. Southpaw’s thematic menu with pizzas like the “The Contender” and “The Left Hook” certainly carry this principle of being something in between two established categories. Not only are their pies in the middle of two different styles pizza, but also somewhere between the familiar and the highly experimental.
On one hand, Southpaw’s ingredients include classic toppings like mozzarella cheese, basil and mushroom, but also feature much less common ones such as pumpkin seed, maple and pancetta. For an added price, there is a wide range of extra options such salami, fried egg and pecorino cheese which can add even more flare to these unique pizzas.
Though there are certainly different options for people of different tastes, Southpaw’s model won’t necessarily appeal to everyone. If you are the type of person that swears by pepperoni and pepperoni alone, then Southpaw is probably not the place for you. The restaurant does offer more traditional options like cheese and margherita if you or a friend are not feeling adventurous, but this is arguably not where the restaurant shines.
I tried the daily special, which was topped with chorizo, bacon, potato and padrone peppers, which all worked well in terms of flavor and texture. Though the combination sounds like it would be all over the place, the starchiness of the potato helped balance out the saltier flavors of the meat, while also allowing peppers to be a part of the mix but not making it a spicy pizza. The pie’s Neapolitan inspiration was visible in the fact that even though there was a wide variety of ingredients, the slices were not absolutely packed with them, allowing you to take in everything individually.
Though Southpaw is a pizza parlor first and foremost, not mentioning their other items would leave out a significant part of the picture and a big reason to consider them over similar restaurants. They offer salads in the same creative vein as their pizza, but what stood out more were their interesting options for drinks and desserts. Southpaw offers a handful of beers, wines and cocktails to accompany one’s pizza, while those that are not yet 21 can enjoy things like homemade soda and iced coffee, the latter of which I tried and enjoyed.
Southpaw’s dessert menu includes Italian zeppole donuts, along with soft serve ice cream which appeared to be a popular item among the other patrons. Instead of your typical choice between chocolate and vanilla, the restaurant offers chocolate and Thai iced tea-flavored ice cream, which to me is a unique enough opportunity to justify its own visit.
Whether or not you should give Southpaw a try really depends on what your preferences are when it comes to pizza. You probably already know if you are the type of person that will or will not like Southpaw’s unconventional combinations based on what your lean has been in the past. The quality of its ingredients is certainly on par if not higher than that of other local pizza like Big Mario’s and Hot Mamma’s, but that will not really stand out if you do not like how these ingredients come together.
Even if you do not see it becoming one of your regular spots for eating out, I certainly recommend visiting Southpaw at least once to venture outside of your pizza comfort zone. You might have a new favorite topping just waiting to be discovered.
Carlos may be reached at