Sometimes a magical confluence of location, timing, and taste collide to form a perfect restaurant experience. Such is the case with A Dopo Pizza which opened last week in the blossoming area just north of Downtown Knoxville on Williams Street. We’ve had a number of highly-anticipated restaurant openings this year and there’s been a buzz about A Dopo for several months. With renovations complete, Brian Strutz formerly of Blackberry Farm (aren’t they all these days?!) and his team boast a restaurant featuring a sparse interior straight out of a hipster New York neighborhood. You’re greeted with a bright interior and the unmistakable smell of charred bread upon entering this small eatery.
Billed as sourdough, wood-fired pizza in a Neapolitan style, these are thin-ish crust pizzas that bubble up and get just the right level of char. They are then topped with fresh, light ingredients. These are not the pizzas of double-stuffed crust that you have delivered by a shady character late at night. Oh no… you almost feel like you’re being healthy with these pies. Although we did see a very robust carry-out business happening with the pizzas during our visit.
We saw a lot of familiar server faces at A Dopo from other Knoxville restaurants which made us happy. Letting the chef pick your meal when you trust the chef is always a great idea and that’s what we did. We decided to split a VEG (strangely, this was at the bottom of the menu and confused Mr. Knoxfoodie a little) and then order a pizza each. They recommend a pizza per person or 2 per three people. To be honest, splitting a salad or such and one pizza would have been enough… but who are we to argue? Brian sent us the Mushroom Pate for our VEG and it arrived with pickled vegetables and of course their focaccia bread that was warm, just spongy enough and crisp on the outside. We noticed a table next to us with some of the other salads so, on our next visit, we are definitely giving those a try.
Next out, our pizzas. The Pizzicletta was topped, not too heavily (and we liked that) with mascarpone, pecorino, prosciutto, and a healthy covering of spicy arugula. All drizzled with the most delicious lemon olive oil.
The second pizza was the unusual, but tasty Prezzemolo topped with mascarpone, gorgonzola, potatoes (yep!) and parsley.
We finished the dinner with a small taste of Pistachio Gelato which might be mistaken for some of the best Italy has to offer. A Dopo has daily specials including the gelatos, a selection of beer and wine, and a staff full of friendly faced employees. We couldn’t be happier for Brian and encourage everyone to step just outside downtown and visit A Dopo or get a pie to go… just don’t expect pizza, pizza… this is all about authenticity!