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Soft opening, crisp crust: Catullo's Italian expands with soft launch of downtown pizzeria

The popular Southside restaurant set up shop in Downtown Jacksonville with a walk-up pizza kitchen at Toon Town, a cartoon street art-covered event venue.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla — Pizza lovers, rejoice: One of Jacksonville's best-acclaimed Italian restaurants is now offering pizza at a Downtown Jacksonville walk-up kitchen.

Catullo's Italian expanded its brand to include Catullo's Pizzeria Thursday with a soft opening, serving from a kitchen window inside the Toon Town event venue off Talleyrand Avenue, located at 1726 East Church St. Customers can choose from several flavors of whole pies, slices or roll-ups.

Catullo's, which started out as a food truck before opening its Southside brick-and-mortar location in February 2019, is owned by brothers Carl and Dave Catullo. The new concept is currently operating Monday through Friday, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., but the hours are subject to change, according to an Instagram post.

"While we get the kinks out, it'll be walk up only, the online ordering system will not be turned on, so bear with us during these times," the pizzeria wrote on the post announcing the soft opening. "Slices, whole pies, and roll ups will be available... See ya then!"

The menu is as colorful as the cartoon street art slathered over every inch of the walls of the event and tailgating venue. I was there for the soft opening and sampled the Woodsman, a giant slice piled high with meats and veggies. 

It had a crispy crust that was thin but not too chewy. The Italian sausage was spicy and perfectly seasoned and the veggies complemented the meats for a perfect balance of flavors and textures.

Credit: First Coast News

I arrived too late to sample one of the more eclectic menu items (which just ensures I'll be back to try it out ASAP): "That Pear Guy." The specialty pie is based off Catullo Italian's pear fiocchi pasta with a parmesan cream sauce base, Gorgonzola, fresh goat cheese, mozzarella, prosciutto, diced pears and finished with arugula and a drizzle of Mike's Hot Honey.

Eventually, the pizza joint has plans to add wine and beer to its menu. You can follow along with their journey on the pizzeria's Instagram page, @catullos_pizzeria.

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