I love that Tucson's food truck scene has become so robust in the last few years—now you can find everything from organic burgers to pizza to poutine to Indian fusion. Serial Grillers has been a food truck serving burgers, cheesesteaks and other sandwiches since fall 2012. And now the two brothers behind the operation, Travis and William Miller, have opened a brick-and-mortar location that features the food truck menu as well as an extensive selection of pizza.
The place currently offers delivery (to a limited area) and take-out only, but the Miller brothers are renovating the small space to offer a dine-in area for enjoying their horror-themed menu. Since I live far, far outside their delivery area, I stopped in to pick up food to go on both of my visits—pizzas for lunch and a few items from their sandwich and burger menu for dinner.
The pizza menu features about 10 pre-topped options—named after Hollywood horror movies—or you can build your own pie with a generous variety of toppings (prices vary with number of toppings). For the pre-topped pies, slices are $5.50, a 12-inch pie is $11, a 14-inch is $13, a 16-inch is $15 and the 20-inch pie is $20. I decided on a medium Mr. Brooks and a medium Bone Collector, along with some cheesy bread ($5).
Both pizzas were fantastic. Serial Grillers' crust is a hand-tossed sorta-thin crust, similar to a New York-style pizza, with plenty of chewiness and a lot of flavor. The Mr. Brooks was topped with garlic olive oil, mozzarella, provolone, salami, Canadian bacon, pepperoni, red onions, cherry peppers, tomatoes and a drizzle of Italian dressing. It sounds like a lot of toppings, but they were well distributed and none were particularly overwhelming. The cherry peppers added a nice spike of heat and the Italian dressing and garlic olive oil lent an element of garlicky goodness.
I'm generally not a fan of chicken on pizza. Most of the time it's dry, flavorless unseasoned breast meat that tastes like it was cooked hours ago. However, the Bone Collector pie, which has olive oil; mozzarella, provolone and cheddar cheeses; chopped-up deep-fried breaded boneless chicken wings; scallions; ranch dressing; and buffalo sauce, was delicious. The chopped-up chicken strips were simultaneously crispy and moist, and even with the three-cheese combo and the deep-fried chicken, the pie managed not to be greasy or oily. The buffalo sauce-to-ranch dressing ratio was just right and had the perfect amount of heat. My only complaint: The scallions were a bit sparse.
Sandwiches and burgers at Serial Grillers are straight off the food truck menu, and are well priced for a reasonable (but not overly huge) portion. For dinner, I called ahead and ordered a Leatherface burger ($5 for the quarter-pounder, $7 for the half-pound, double-patty version), a Taking Lives panini ($7), the Hannibal ribeye cheesesteak ($7) and a Taxi Driver calzone ($8). The calzones and paninis are not available on the food truck.
The calzone and the cheesesteak were definitely the favorites at home, but the burger and panini were also tasty. The calzone was stuffed with marinara, ricotta, mozzarella, provolone, pepperoni, a whole lot of onions and one perfectly cooked over-easy egg. The ribeye cheesesteak featured grilled onions, cherry and sweet peppers, tomatoes, pickles and "white" American cheese. Though not a traditional cheesesteak, the sliced meat was tender and the pickles were an interesting nontraditional touch.
The burger was topped with grilled onions, lettuce, tomatoes and cheddar, but wasn't particularly exciting. The panini was delightfully dense and packed with thick slices of chipotle-spiced chicken breast, crispy bacon, honey mustard sauce and gooey chipotle gouda cheese. It was just a touch on the salty side, and with all that chipotle I was expecting more heat, but otherwise it was yummy (as evidenced by the lack of leftovers).
If the pies at the Miller brothers' pizza venture are as consistently delicious as the sandwiches on their food truck, they should make a lasting—and locally owned—dent in the highly competitive pizza market.