Austin restaurant all-stars grind out New England-inspired pizza and sandwich shop

Austin restaurant all-stars grind out New England-inspired pizza shop

Shortie's pizza grinders
Grinders come hot or cold, and are served on French bread. Photo by Hayden Walker
Shortie's pizza
The pizza is baked in a greased pan, creating crunchy, crispy edges. Photo by Hayden Walker
Shortie's pizza mural
Shortie's was named after a beloved pup who is immortalized on the restaurant's wall. Photo by Hayden Walker
Shortie's pizza grinders
Shortie's pizza
Shortie's pizza mural

Austinites thinking our weird city is in short supply of marvelously weird fusion restaurants have reason to relish the newest pizzeria and sandwich shop from the owners of District Kitchen + Cocktails and Oasthouse Kitchen + Bar.

Restaurateur brothers Amir and Ali Hajimaleki, known for their contemporary takes on pub food, brunch, and craft cocktails, are taking their latest concept in a new direction. Shortie’s, a New England Greek-style pizza and grinders joint, opens in the Shoal Creek neighborhood on December 16.

Launching at 7858 Shoal Creek Blvd., in the space formerly occupied by Be More Pacific, Shortie’s aims to merge Northeast-inspired recipes with Texas ingredients to create Austin-centric pizzas and sub sandwiches.

Though it may sound like a pie-in-the-sky idea, patrons can expect the same attention to detail and local-ingredient emphasis the Hajimaleki brothers bring to their other restaurant concepts. Striving to make the menu approachable to Austin palates, the brothers are translating traditional New England Greek-style pizza — characterized by lots of oregano and a thick crust cooked in a greased pan — into Shortie’s signature  pizzas made with locally sourced ingredients like Barton Springs Mill heirloom wheat and Texas olive oil, and cooked in a cast-iron skillet to create irresistibly crispy edges.

Pizza specialties include the Twig & Branch (Texas olive oil, arugula, Texas goat cheese, prosciutto, sour-cherry preserves, and umami chili oil), the Punisher (red sauce, house-made spicy Italian sausage, pickled cherry peppers, and balsamic roasted onions), and the vegan Little Chef (red sauce, onions, eggplant, balsamic roasted onions, fennel, and garlic olive oil). Build-your-own pizzas will also be available.

Another highlight of the menu: 10 hot and cold grinders on French bread, including the Shortie’s Club sandwich (turkey breast, Black Forest ham, bacon, and provolone cheese) and the appropriately named Big Sexy (braised bone-in beef rib, tomato red-wine ragout, green bell pepper, and provolone cheese).

Rounding out the menu are the Umami Meatball starters, an Antonelli’s cheese-and-charcuterie board, roasted veggies from Johnson’s Backyard Garden, and Italian-inspired desserts (Hello, Oreo tiramisu!) created by executive pastry chef Dennis Van. Craft beers will be available on tap, alongside Italian, Greek, and Texas wine faves, and low-proof cocktails. To-go bottles of wine and cocktails will also be available. 

No strangers to the idea that food and family make the best pairings, the Hajimaleki brothers drew inspiration for Shortie’s from a couple of their cherished loved ones. The restaurant’s name pays homage to Ali Hajimaleki’s beloved late pup (who is featured in an onsite mural and looking very dapper), and the menu concept was influenced by Amir Hajimaleki’s fiancée, who hails from Connecticut and has a lifelong fondness for New England-style grinders and pizza. 

Shortie’s is the latest restaurant from the Hajimaleki brothers, who also had several other concepts in the works prior to the pandemic hitting. Those openings will likely have to wait until 2021.  

Shortie’s will be open for dinner and takeout service Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday from 4 to 9 pm, and Friday and Saturday from 4 to 10 pm. Dine-in tables are spaced 6 feet apart, masks are required for guests when they’re not seated, and the restaurant is adhering to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.