Yep, the “caliente,” meaning hot, in the name of Caliente Pizza and Draft house is Spanish, not Italian, as you might expect of a pizza place. But never mind. The taste is 100 percent American at Caliente, set to open this month, at 329 Castle Shannon Boulevard, in the former home of Pub & Pizza.
This is the third Caliente location for Owners Nick and Angie Bogacz of the North Hills , who started in 2012 with their pizza place in Bloomfield and then expanded to Hampton. Now they think the time is right for a foray into the South Hills.
“Our goal is to be able to serve everyone in western Pennsylvania,” says Nick Bogacz, who has been in the pizza industry for 20 years. One of the things he looks for in a location is a spot that used to be hopping, and this location hits the criteria. Suppliers Jimmy and Nino Sunseri told Nick stories of how popular Pub & Pizza used to be years ago.
The heart and soul of the Caliente menu are fresh pizzas, with daily-made dough and sauce. It’s rounded out with award-winning chicken wings, burgers, salads and subs. To wash it down, they feature dozens of fresh craft brews—14 on tap to start, with that expanding to at least 24, and 150 different kinds of bottled beer. Caliente will have a full bar.
Craft beer is dear to Nick’s heart; he is on the board of Pittsburgh’s Craft Beer Week and knows that the South Hills has become a great place to find delicious small-batch breweries.
The Bogaczes will be giving the place a makeover, including a hearty scrubbing. It will have seating for about 120, including the upstairs. The staff will include 25 to 35 people.
Caliente will be open every day from lunch to late night, with beer, food and drink specials each day. Happy Hour is from 4 to 6:30 Monday through Friday, when drafts are half off and one-topping personal pizzas are $5. The restaurant will have private parties, and all food is available for pick up, delivery or dine-in.
“We’re pizza people,” Nick says, noting he and Angie want to “Get in there, do our passion and create some jobs.”