Making pizza is a technical business at Pie Tap

Pie Tap Pizza Workshop + Bar takes pizza so seriously that executive chef John Hrinkevich underwent boot camp to perfect the dough-making process.

Hrinkevich trained with Giovanni Mauro, a Las Vegas-based chef who studied pizza techniques at a culinary school in central Italy. Mauro formulated the pizza crust recipe used by the Henderson Avenue restaurant, and Hrinkevich travelled to Nevada to ensure he had the steps right.

The process is a bit like a science project, because the crust’s quality isn’t guaranteed until it hits the oven. The four-ingredient mixture is added to starter dough and aged for 96 hours before it’s baked.

“It’s much more of an organic approach to things,” Hrinkevich says. “The dough has a personality of its own.”

The pie’s toppings often are as quirky as the manner in which they’re made. Hrinkevich says the menu was revised a dozen times before they settled on popular staples and a few more adventurous options, like the creamy Eggs Florentine, a brunch pizza topped with sunny side-up eggs and homemade hollandaise sauce.

Hrinkevich, Mauro and owner Rich Hicks’ made-from-scratch mentality carries into the rest of Pie Tap’s menu. The sauces, pasta and mozzarella cheese are made in-house. Restaurant-goers can sit at a counter adjacent to the kitchen and watch the chefs spin salads and pizza doughs alike.

“It’s a very up-front, transparent kitchen,” Hrinkevich says.

The freedom to be creative and longtime relationship with Mauro and Hicks is why Hrinkevich left his longtime career with P.F. Chang’s to join the venture, which opened last year. The three worked together at Romano’s Macaroni Grill in the 1990s.

“The relationship has been there for a long, long time,” he says.

Did you know: Pie Tap’s starter dough has been nicknamed Romo after the Dallas Cowboys quarterback.

Pie Tap Pizza Workshop + Bar

Ambiance: Relaxed pizzeria
Price Range: $12-$20
Hours: 11 a.m.-midnight Monday-Wednesday, 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Thursday-Friday, 10 a.m.-2 a.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-midnight Sunday
2708 N. Henderson Ave.

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