Here’s the thing about institutions: there’s no arguing with the regulars who love, love, love the joint, and the non-regulars more often than not don’t get the appeal. Campisi’s is just that kind of institution. It may have outlets all over town, but the original on Mockingbird—nicknamed the Egyptian thanks to a leftover sign from a former tenant—with its cheesy red-and-green painted brick “foyer” and red vinyl doors, has been drawing loyalists for 50-plus years.

The pizza rules (though crab claws are a close second), and it’s best enjoyed on-site, when that cracker-thin crust is still hot and crunches at first bite. Delivery is risky: too often during transport the crust takes on a cardboard-like texture. Build the pie any way you want; it’s the oval shape and crust that make it a Dallas favorite.

The menu is loaded with a million other red-sauce Italian dishes, from
manicotti to lasagna to ravioli to spaghetti served myriad ways. Sausage and peppers filled an oval platter with juicy but firm Italian sausage flecked with caraway and some rather droopy-looking green peppers. (Some red peppers would have been lovely, for a punch of color and sweetness.) A chopped salad of crisp iceberg, olives, tomatoes, and Parmesan, drizzled with Italian vinaigrette, was family-size, though it’s not billed as such, so it came in handy for the two of us who love to share. And share we did—and still had some left over. None of what we ate was great, but it was all as good as expected. And sometimes you can’t ask for more than that.

Get contact information for Campisi’s.