The one challenge (exciting opportunity?) that I find when I'm out there is being away from my go-to lunch spots. Sure, there's plenty of places out there to eat, but many of them are decidedly unexciting when compared to the options inside the loop.
One day last week, we ventured right around the corner from our training facility and wandered upon Ciao Baby! It's a new pizza place just off Poplar, near Byhalia. I really didn't know what to expect, but I figured it would be just another take on your basic American-style pizza. I was wrong. When we first entered the front door, we were greeted by the owner. He explained the concept to us. First, he asked me if I'd ever had "real Neapolitan pizza." I let him know that I had, in fact, had authentic Neapolitan pizza. In fact, I had the opportunity to try it while I was in Naples visiting my wife's family a few years ago.
This immediately got his attention, and he wanted to make sure I was pleased with the experience. He explained the ingredients that were imported from the region, and the pizza oven that he had specially built. The process of ordering is a little strange at first, but it's not too difficult once you've been there. Imagine you built your own pizza instead of burritos at Swanky's. Except, here, you don't order until you've passed all the ingredients. It's not as strange as it sounds, and if you'd like, you can just order one of their specialties and skip the "topping picking."
I'd have to go back to remember all the options, but I just went with the simple prosciutto pizza. It was out in around 5 minutes and was fantastic. Sure, it wasn't as good as the pizza that I had in Naples, but it was still better than most I've had in the States. The crust had a really good flavor and texture and the ingredients were all incredibility fresh and high-quality.
I hope this place can make it long enough to get a following. I think it can be successful as long as their quality and service remains high. If you're out in the 'burbs and in the mood for, as Sheldon would say, a "real Italian treat," stop by and give it a chance. They also had pretty tasty looking desserts and coffee drinks, though I didn't have any, and I think they serve beer and wine.
890 Poplar Avenue
Collierville, Tennessee 38017