A reader contacted me to tell me there is a pizza restaurant in East Nashville that serves vegan cheese. I don’t know how this escaped my notice, but you better believe I was excited to check it out for myself. Italia serves Teese, a vegan cheese substitute. Up until this particular pizza, I had never tried Teese before as the local stores don’t carry it. I personally like vegan cheese substitutes for the most part, although I didn’t like them much when I first went vegan. I like nutritional yeast-based faux cheese sauces, and I like a nice tofu ricotta, which is super easy to make. Cheeses like Teese, or Follow Your Heart, are actually my least favorite of the fake cheese forms, but they have their place. And pizzas are one of those places.
This pizza was GOOD. Seriously. It was almost like having a pizza with real cheese. The crust was just the right thickness. The vegetable toppings were awesome: I had the “Drag it Through the Garden” which comes topped with mushrooms, green peppers, onions, artichokes, broccoli, tomatoes, and basil. It also came with a garlic dipping sauce (not pictured) that was vegan, just like the kind you get from Papa John’s. It was awesome and you should go eat some immediately.
Italia did not look the way I expected on the inside. I was kind of picturing a place where you would get a server, and that’s not the vibe here at all. You order at the counter and seat yourself among the red-and-white-checkered tables. While we were waiting on our pizza, a lot of people came in to pick up takeout orders. They don’t serve any alcohol at Italia, but while I was eating a fellow came in and sat down with his own six-pack, so I guess it’s BYOB–don’t hold me to that, though. It reminded me of pizza places I used to frequent in my hometown, but with a more veg-friendly atmosphere. In addition to pizza, Italia also serves up standard Mediterranean fare like hummus, falafel, and grape leaves. Still, if you’re going to Italia, it seems like you should get the pizza.
I will definitely be heading back here for more awesome vegan pizza. A small is perfect for two people, or for one if you want leftovers. You should know that the Teese doesn’t really reheat that well in the microwave (I learned this), and you might want to heat up your leftover pizza in the oven. I’m just so excited that there’s a place in town serving faux cheese. I can’t believe I didn’t know about it until now.
Italia Pizza & Pasta
1600 Woodland St.
Nashville, TN 37206