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Frisco STYLE Magazine

A Testa-ment to Tradition

Dec 01, 2022 ● By Lisa Sciortino
by Lisa Sciortino

After calling Collin County home for more than eight years, I was fairly confident that I’d already dined at a good many of what I’d heard described as the area’s best restaurants. 

Somehow, I had overlooked Pizzeria Testa — that is, until my teenage son and I ventured in on a recent weeknight for dinner.  I quickly determined that I’d made a huge mistake by not visiting sooner.  

 We were promptly seated by a friendly hostess who led us to a high-top table adjacent to the place’s bar. Our server, Johny, soon approached and, after explaining that we were first-timers, he launched into an extremely detailed (and much-appreciated) explanation of the menu, making sure to share information about precisely how Pizzeria Testa’s delicious pies are prepared in true Neapolitan style and with ingredients imported from Italy. 

 I ordered a glass of Prosecco to sip while perusing the menu that includes selections of Antipasti (appetizers) and Rosette (pinwheel-shaped pizza rollups), Insalate (salads), Panuozzi (wood-fired sandwiches), Calzoni (think pizza turnovers) and, the stars of the show, Pizze Rosse (red pizzas), Pizze Bianche (sans tomato sauce) and a trio of Pizze Metro (pies that are a meter in length). 

Intrigued by the Rosette, we selected the Salami version, which did not disappoint. A half-dozen of the plump pinwheels arrived quite literally bursting with smooth Fior Di Latte cheese (similar in flavor and texture to mozzarella) and thin slices of meat, wrapped and baked in a deliciously light dough and served with marinara for dipping.

 In the mood for a salad, per Johny’s recommendation we ordered the Pinoli & Prosciutto Insalate. A pile of fresh, verdant mixed greens arrived topped with four thin slices of slightly sweet-and-salty prosciutto ham. That flavor profile carried throughout the dish courtesy of the thinly sliced strawberries and generous sprinklings of toasted pine nuts and Parmigiano cheese that co-starred on the plate. 

 We decided to split the Parma Panuozzi sandwich. Served on soft, chewy bread, it features a perfect combination of prosciutto crudo, Fior di Latte, Parmigiano, crispy arugula leaves and juicy tomatoes. This is a standout sandwich. 

On to the main event: After learning the place produces from scratch the sausage that tops the Salsiccia & Funghi pizza, we had to give it a try. This sizeable pie is built on a thin, delightfully chewy crust topped with a light red sauce. The flavorful sausage is complemented well by fresh mushroom slices and basil leaves. It is not an understatement to say this was one of the best slices of pizza I’ve ever had. 

Torn between a pair of dessert options, we splurged and ordered both. I’d heard great things about the Nutella Panuozzi, the base of which is Testa’s pizza dough. It is schmeared with a thick layer of classic Nutella that melts decadently atop the warm crust and is topped with sliced strawberries and a dusting of powdered sugar. As desserts go, it is pure perfection. 

Just when I thought things couldn’t get any better, I plunged a spoon into a not-so-small serving of tiramisu, an Italian classic that boasts espresso-soaked ladyfingers enveloped in a creamy blend of whipped cream and mascarpone cheese. It’s been a feat to find a worthy version of this dessert outside of my Italian grandmother’s kitchen, but I’m pleased to report that Testa’s rendition, with its pronounced coffee profile, is outstanding. 

Following this stellar meal, Frisco STYLE caught up with Pizzeria Testa founder Rod Schaefer, who reminded us that the original Frisco location (there is also one in Dallas, which opened in 2018) celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. 

Schaefer, who did not have a restaurant-industry background when he opened Frisco’s Pizzeria Testa in 2012, credits much of its success to his “incredible, rock-star team.” 
“Many of these people have been with us practically since we opened. … We wouldn’t be where we are without the team that we have.” Over the years, the team has also included his wife, Joey; daughters Samantha, Stephanie and Sophia; and his nephew, Barry.

The restaurant — which bears the maiden name of Schaefer’s now-92-year-old mother, Flora, who also calls Frisco home — was built from the ground up in Frisco Square as a “tribute” to his mother and grandparents. 

“I grew up in a traditional Italian family that gathered often around the kitchen table. My grandparents’ home especially was always a house that was bustling and buzzing with life and incredible food and people, and so it’s really just a tribute to that,” he recalls. “We have a saying at Testa: `Gather around our kitchen table and make yourself at home.’ … That spirit is really a big part of how we developed Testa and what the heart of it is.” 

 Schaefer shies away from describing any of the items on Testa’s menu as “authentic” Italian fare (“It’s an overused term”). Rather, he says, “What we’re about is … a taste of true Italian tradition, which is reflected in everything that we do.” 

In fact, prior to opening the restaurant, he spent time in Italy embedding himself in the culture and “going to the farms, going to where they make the Parmigiano, where they make the mozzarella di Bufala (cheese), watching how they handpick San Marzano tomatoes, going to the flour mill. It started with being educated.” 

 Over the past decade, Schaefer says, he and his team have developed “incredible relationships with our suppliers in Italy” including the company that produces the flour used to make its pizza dough, as well as product distributors on the East Coast and in North Texas. 

If you’re going to pay tribute to tradition, it’s really … about purity, it’s about history and it’s about selecting the finest ingredients that are selected, prepared and served fresh. That’s basically the heart behind it. - Rod Schaefer, Owner, Pizzeria Testa

Much of the preparation at Pizzeria Testa happens in a pair of 7,000-pound ovens that were imported from Naples, Italy, where pizza was invented. 

 Each day, the ovens cook hundreds of pies and calzones at approximately 1,000 degrees in roughly 60-90 seconds courtesy of their 5-inch volcanic stone floors. When the ovens finally cool down (to a toasty 350-400 degrees), the Pizzeria Testa team uses them to roast vegetables and bake house-made breads and mild and spicy sausages.

“The teams call the ovens the heartbeat of the restaurant,” Schaefer says.

 Attention to detail is at the center of every item on Pizzeria Testa’s menu — from the imported Calabrian chili peppers that are ground into its spicy sausage blend to the combination of minerals it adds to the filtered water used to make the pizza dough. 

 “Our mission is simplicity with excellence for the glory of God,” Schaefer says. “To be able to deliver the purity of what we do, you have to look at every single aspect of what you do to deliver the end result of what you want. That comes from the water, selecting the finest ingredients, preparing them properly and having the right recipes to serving (food) pure and fresh every single day.” 

Frisco STYLE Magazine dining reviews are not scheduled with or paid for by the featured restaurant. All reviews are completed for the purpose of helping readers learn about and enjoy local dining options. Is there an area restaurant that you’d like us to review? Email us at  [email protected]

Lisa Sciortino is managing editor of Frisco STYLE.