Editor’s Note: PS35’s final day of service was Nov. 4, 2017.
I spent a few years in New York City, and some days I find myself craving an NYC-style slice of pizza. The kind that has a perfectly hand-tossed crust so thin that you have no choice but to fold it in half before taking that first bite. If you live north, you now have a solid option that’s a bit closer than Brooklyn: Ps35 in Round Rock.
PS35 is the brainchild of Clint Elmore, who used to run the popular food trailer, 40 North, in South Austin. Elmore is a former lawyer with a love of food. He spent time studying in Naples and Brooklyn in order to perfect his pizza. These pies are at once familiar, and a little bit different. Elmore perfected the basics, but he experiments with fresh takes on old flavor combinations.
Elmore is partnered by SMGB Hospitality Co. which opened Chinese restaurant Old Thousand last fall.
PS35 is named following the conventions of the public school system in New York. The number comes from the oh-so-beloved highway where the restaurant is located, I-35.
The exterior really does resemble the no-nonsense brick exterior of a New York public school. I half expected to walk through the door to see lockers, industrial floor tiling, and those sound-absorbing ceilings ubiquitous in classrooms. Luckily, the interior resembles nothing of a public school, although it does maintain a fun New York vibe.
There’s graffiti on the walls completed by local artists. There are also photos, like those of the subway system lining the walls. The ceilings are high with windows to let in plenty of light. Owing to the school theme, the bar menu is designed like a school chalk board. Everything feels curated to add to the experience, but not overdone.
A great idea and a slick design only get you so far. The most important thing about any restaurant is the food. PS35 offers a number of classic and speciality pizzas, fresh salads, sandwiches, pastas, and sides. When I was there, I started with the garlic knots and truffled parmesan tots. Of those, I highly recommend the tots. I didn’t get a strong truffle flavor, but it’s hard to beat good tater tots.
I also tried the arugula salad, which had peaches, shaved fennel, and toasted pistachios in a white balsamic vinaigrette. I ordered the dinner portion instead of the family size because I was trying so many different things, but I can assure you the dinner portion is plenty of food for two or three people (provided you’re eating it alongside pizza). The produce was fresh and the salad wasn’t overdressed. Definitely a win in my book, although I’m also biased in favor of any salad with peaches in it.
Pizzas are 18 inches, but slices will be available soon. The pies seem huge when brought to the table, but with thin crust, you can pack away a few slices without feeling too bad about it. The crust is good, but it’s really just a vehicle for bringing the toppings to your mouth.
PS35 offers a number of classics like Margherita, meatball, or sausage and peppers. I tried a couple of the slightly different options. One was the hot honey, which has pepperoni, sausage, ricotta, and Mike’s Hot Honey on it. It’s not very spicy, but the honey does add a nice balance. I also, somewhat skeptically, tried a pizza called The Dr. J, which has ribeye steak, provolone, caramelized onion, mushrooms, sweet cherry peppers, and just a touch of Cheez Whiz. I hadn’t consumed Cheez Whiz in years (possibly decades?), but I was surprised at how well the pairing worked. Definitely worth a taste!
Ready to Try It?
PS35 is currently open Monday to Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. On Sunday, guests can dine from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Happy hour is all day Monday, and 3-6 p.m. from Tuesday to Friday. Currently, the restaurants is dine-in only, but they hope to expand with takeout soon.
As a South Austinite, I don’t know when I’ll make it up to PS35 next. I imagine it will make an excellent reward next time I brave IKEA on a weekend. But if you’re already up north and looking for a great pizza option, you’ll definitely want to check out PS35.
1500 N. Interstate Hwy 35, Round Rock, TX – Website
@theAustinot wants to know:
What’s your favorite pizza place in Austin?
Disclosure: I was invited to a complimentary media tasting for the purposes of this review. All opinions are my own.