Back in 2013 when I was visiting Durham from Alabama, a friend and I somehow snagged two barstools at the packed Pizzeria Toro. I devoured half a red onion and pistachio pie and, realizing I forgot my leftovers, kicked myself the whole flight home. Not long after, a devastating fire last fall closed the popular pizzeria’s doors for nine months. Now that I’m an N.C. resident, count me among the wood-fired fanatics that were thrilled to hear that owners Gray Brooks, Jay Owens and Cara Stacy worked tirelessly to reopen in July. Just a few days after they fired up their ovens again, the same friend and I grabbed seats at a shared table. Up first was the creamy burrata cheese served with caponata (a sweet and sour eggplant relish), pine nuts and crostini. The pizza we split – topped with ricotta, roasted garlic and more eggplant – was as perfectly crispy as I remembered. Everyone around us seemed just as content to be chowing down on prosciutto and pizza again. And the feeling is mutual. “I never thought I would be so happy to be tired again at the end of every day,” Gray told me.
Pizzeria Toro | 105 E. Chapel Hill St. | 919.908.6936 | pizzeriatoro.com