The wood-fired pizzas. Prosciutto with a haystack of arugula and a spritz of lemon combines the just the right flavors, including the wood-fire flavor from two custom-made Italian ovens.
Seventy-five percent to 80 percent of dishes are “impacted” in some way by the ovens, said manager Ryan Libert. The pizzas, including the basic Margherita with fresh mozzarella and basil and the spicy sausage and black pepper honey with aged provolone and fresh mozzarella are 100 percent baked in the high-heat oven.
This menu overall is influenced by southern Italy and Baja California cuisine, and it is seasonal and depends on as much local farm produce as possible. City Roots, Congaree Mills and Wil-Moore Farms are among local providers.
According to Libert, customers rave about the brick oven crab cakes with chili slaw, micro greens, and lemon dressing, as well as the brick oven Brussels sprouts with bacon jam, smoky tomato puree, pickled mustard seeds and a subtle spice.
Patrons can start with items such as the cast iron goat cheese with marinara, parsley and brick oven bread, enjoy a kale and chilis salad with toasted pine nuts, lemon vinaigrette, chili pequin (a pepper) and grana padana (a slow-ripened Italian cheese), and then choose from pizzas, tacos, and main dishes. Desserts, wine and beer also follow the seasons.
Currently, there is a warm apple crumble with toasted hazelnuts, thyme, citrus, rye whiskey and poppy seed semifreddo (a type of frozen mousse) for dessert.
Those interested in trying new wines or beers can ask for a tasting. “Since we bring in boutique wines and craft beers, we want to ensure that they will be liked and appreciated,” Libert said.
How did Tazza get its start?
The concept was established in North Carolina and Virginia, but the Tazza in Trenholm Plaza is the only one of its kind in South Carolina.
An executive chef makes the major menu decisions; however, Columbia’s chef is “very creative,” Libert said, “and some of our dishes are specific to this region.”
What does the place look like?
The giant bar is a focal point and seats about 20 people all the way around.
Various seating arrangements – from bar tables to upholstered wall seating to long tables – provide a range of intimate spaces for small and large parties.
Textures and architectural elements marry throughout. Wood is stacked near the oven for use. Contemporary drop lights hang from the ceiling.
Outside patio seating – with heaters and a large fire pit – actually seats more than inside: 93 to 73.
Who eats here?
Because the food is fresh and unique yet affordable, Libert points out that varied demographics are attracted to the casual space in the heart of Forest Acres.
WHERE: 4840 Forest Drive, in Trenholm Plaza
WHEN: 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, lunch; 4:30-10 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 4:30-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday, and 4:30-9 p.m. Sunday, dinner; 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday, brunch. Closed Monday.
COST: Highest-priced menu items are the steak and potatoes or the crab cakes at $18.50; most items are in the $7-$12 range.
WORTH NOTING: Reservations are accepted, but most tables are available for walk-in traffic; parties of four or more are encouraged to call ahead.
INFO: (803) 782-0760; www.tazzakitchen.com/locations/trenholmplaza; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram