Worthy Conversations: Evandro Caregnato on Fort Worth, Pizza, and “Y’all”
Delucca Gaucho Pizza & Wine is taking North Texas by storm! With locations in South Lake, Dallas, and Plano, Delucca will begin serving Fort Worth pizza lovers on Wednesday, Feb. 24. We caught up with the Brazilian native and co-owner (and one of the minds behind the celebrated Texas de Brazil), Evandro Caregnato, after the winter apocalypse and right before the pizzeria’s opening.
Welcome to Fort Worth! What was your reason for expanding west?
Actually, Fort Worth was supposed to be home of the very first Delucca back in 2018. We had a [letter of intent] on a nice property, but things didn’t work out, and we had to change our plans. So, I don’t see it as a planned move; we are just fulfilling a wish we had long ago.
Explain the concept of gaucho pizza.
Gauchos have a very unique approach when it comes to restaurants: they don’t like to order from a menu, they like to try everything the restaurant has to offer, and the best example of this is the Churrascaria, or Brazilian Steakhouse. But this style of service is not exclusive to steakhouses; pizzerias also operate the same way in Brazil. Delucca serves their pizzas the “Gaucho Way” which means a fixed price, no menu, continuous dining with unlimited pizzas from the wood fired oven to your table.
Is there a record for the most slices of pizza consumed in one sitting at any of your locations?
A foodie writer wrote a very nice review about Delucca sometime ago with the title, “How I Ate 25 Pieces of Pizza and Lived to Tell the Tale,” but I have seen people eating much more than that. But the true is that although our concept allows our guest to “pig out,” we rarely see it happen. When you come to Delucca, you will see that our guests are really loving the pizzas, but they are not there just to eat as much as they can. You will notice that you are in an “adult pizzeria” with bottles of wine and cocktails and everyone having a great time enjoying each other’s company.
Texas is a long way from Brazil. How did you find yourself here?
Back in 1998 I met a businessman in Brazil. He wanted to open a Brazilian steakhouse in Texas [Texas de Brazil] but didn’t know much about the concept, so he invited me to come to the USA and help him. The agreement was to stay here for a couple of months and open one single restaurant, but I ended up staying with them for over 20 years and opening over 55 restaurants in the country and over the world.
Do you use the word y’all…even on accident?
The honest answer is no, and I would not be able to fake it, but you will have to look very hard to find a prouder Texan than me. I have been everywhere in this world, and I see myself praising all the time how great this state and its people [are] to everyone.
How would you describe Fort Worth’s personality?
To answer this, I would need much more than a few paragraphs, but if I have to say one thing about Fort Worth it’s that people here have very strong personality and character, and I really love it. I enjoy being among interesting people with strong opinions and great stories to tell, and here I can find them everywhere. They are immensely friendly, too. I lost the count of how many people wanted to take me shopping for a hat and a pair of cowboy boots.
Favorite pizza on the menu?
Turkish Lamb with Sumac Onion Salad. There are about 15 savory pizzas served every night… but the favorites between our guests are Sopressata with Honey, Mexican Elote, and Garlic Steak Picanha.
Favorite dessert pizza on the menu?
I cannot name only one. The Dulce de Leche with Toasted Coconut and the Nutella Pizza with Whipped Mascarpone are incredible! A few slices of our Nutella and Dulce de Leche pizza served with a cup of strong espresso would be worth driving hours to get to Delucca.
3010 S. Hulen Street
Fort Worth, Texas 76109
Although she prefers burnt orange to purple, Hannah Bush is happy to call Fort Worth her new home. She began freelance writing a few years ago to break up the monotony of her 9 to 5, and to prove to her parents that she’s making good use of her journalism degree. When she’s not hanging out with her cat, Hannah can likely be found on a patio with her fiancé, talking about her cat.