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Via 313 to open a restaurant in South Austin

Matthew Odam

Popular pizza trailers Via 313 will open a brick-and-mortar restaurant early next year, owners Brandon and Zane Hunt confirmed last night. The restaurant will be located at 6705 U.S. 290 near the Y in Oak Hill in the space currently occupied by Flores Mexican Restaurant. The restaurant will serve lunch and dinner, with an expanded menu that will include options such as salads and appetizers. They also plan to serve craft beer, wine and liquor.

The two trailers, located at Violet Crown Social Club on East Sixth Street and Craft Pride on Rainey Street, will not be affected.

Here’s what I wrote about Via 313 from a Trailer Trio last month:

Most people in Austin hadn’t heard the term “Detroit-style pizza” when brothers Zane and Brandon Hunt opened their Via 313 food truck outside East Austin’s Violet Crown Social Club in December 2011.

The truth is, most people in Detroit probably didn’t know the moniker, either. In Detroit, the kind of thick, square slices Via 313 serves are just called pizza. (Don’t worry about this mysterious place called Detroit, they also eat round pizzas like the rest of the world.)

When the Hunts realized their creations were a novelty down here, they slapped the “Detroit-style” tag on the pizza. The move was a blend of marketing savvy and a way to rep their allegiance for their hometown. So is the name – 313 is Detroit’s area code.

In the tradition of the pies in the Motor City, the Hunts bake their pizzas in metal tins modeled after auto-part pans. The squares have bronzed, crispy edges that encompass fluffy, buttery dough. Their secret ingredient to help get that blend of crunch and pillowy suppleness? Likely those jars of Crisco I’ve seen through the trailer window.

The signature Detroiter ($13) buries savory smoked pepperoni under a protective layer of cheese with small cups of natural-cased pepperoni on top. Sauce is added like a rivulet of lava after the pizzas leave the oven, giving a bright, acidic burst to the bite. The pizzas are divided into four squares — meaning each slice is a coveted corner piece — and can feed one very hungry person or two people with tamer appetites. The Violet Crown Social Club location also sells slices of cheese ($3) and pepperoni ($3.50).

Via 313 serves more than a dozen specialty pies. One of my favorites, the decadent Cadillac ($16), blends the salt, sweet and funk of prosciutto, Parmesan, balsamic glaze, fig preserves and gorgonzola. The vegetarian options are highlighted by the Herbivore ($12), which melds earthy crimini mushrooms with the snap of green peppers and briny flavor of black olives. You can create your own pie from a roster of about two dozen quality ingredients you won’t find at industrial pizza places. Gluten-free and dairy-free options are available for an extra $2. Wash it down with a grape-flavored Faygo soda pop from (where else?) Detroit.

The brothers, who worked various pizza jobs as teenagers, moved here about five years ago lured in part by Austin’s “live and let live attitude,” Brandon Hunt said. Despite their brawny, tatted exteriors, their motivation to go into business for themselves came in part from a tender place. Their mother’s death at 55 inspired the brothers to actively follow their passion instead of just talking about it.

They opened a second trailer in late 2012 at the Red Shed Tavern, which they moved to beer bar Craft Pride on Rainey Street last summer. They are also very close to announcing plans for a brick-and-mortar restaurant. Don’t worry, hungry bar hoppers — the trucks aren’t going anywhere.