SAN ANTONIO - Food changed everything for Julian Solis. His in-laws steered him into their family business. The rest is a culinary tale of a man's rise to the top of the pizza chain.
Solis' in-laws owned Boccone's Italian Restaurant at 17776 Blanco Road. That Italian eatery is no longer open.
Even so, Julian's Pizzeria and Kitchen stands on the shoulders of what Solis learned from his in-laws for 15 years.
"When people look at me they're like this guy? Is he really Italian," Solis joked. "But I'm converted more Italian than my Hispanic heritage."
Solis went from bussing tables to the kitchen to gets his Sicilian cooking cues from his in-laws. In 2006, he opened Julian's in a smaller spot before moving into the current location at 13444 West Avenue.
"We went from 25 seats to almost 110 seats. We went from 1400 sq ft to almost 4,000 sq ft," Solis said.
According to the pizzeria owner, they are open seven days a week that's trying become more celebration oriented.
He opened Julian's with a simple one-page menu serving pizza, subs and Chicago styled hot dogs.Eventually, he started adding Italian classics from Boccone's. They've even added dishes named after their youngest patrons.
"Our pizza put on the map," He said.
The menu at Julian's has plenty of pizza pie to boast. It's also filled with pasta dishes, subs and salads.Customers can even pair wine with their Italian cuisine.
Neighborhood Eats was provided with a seven dish sampler starting with their popular pizza padrone.The crust is thicker than most at the restaurant. It comes covered with two kinds of cheese, Kalamata olives, green and red peppers, onions, spinach, sausage and pepperoni.¡Qué rico!
The pasta pepperoni is an equally good choice. The dish is slightly spicy with ground sausage, tomatoes. Romano cheese, basil, garlic and chives atop of a bowl of spaghetti.
A really spicy pasta dish is their 'angry pasta' or Pasta Arrabiata: Habanero Peppers, Italian olives, Sicilian olives, onions, red peppers, cabbage, basil on a penne pasta with cheese.
The house made lasagna is fantastic. Wonderfully delicious as well is the spaghetti and meatballs. The sauce is just right!
A sizable East Coast inspired a piece of pizza called 'The slice' is a customer favorite. It's like two pieces in one. Solis said it's the biggest slice of pizza in town.
That's this week's edition of Neighborhood Eats. If you have a suggestion for Marvin send an email (Mhurst@kens5.com), tweet (@Mhurstkens5) or post it on our KENS 5 Facebook page. #KENS5EATS