First Look

Serious Pizza 2.0: A Deep Ellum Staple Gets an Up-Do

The kitchen at Serious Pizza is still open, but no more bar stools.
Lauren Drewes Daniels
The kitchen at Serious Pizza is still open, but no more bar stools.
The last time I’d gone to Serious Pizza, in before times, I recall there was a birthday party spread across the dining room. Two huge silver helium balloons, “1” and “2,” bobbed at the head of the table. There were light pink accents spread around. Any question of whether the balloons had shifted out of order was clarified by a table full of pony-tailed girls. All of this could not have contrasted more with the fast, hard and loud heavy metal music blaring overhead, bent on decimating your ears and thoughts with its fury.

I loved it. In fact, that was one of the reasons I’d taken my own kids there.

But, that Serious Pizza closed in early 2020 for renovations, spearheaded by its new majority owner, Milkshake Concepts’ co-founder Imran Sheikh. Last September, Sheikh told Alex Gonzelez that he was honest when he approached the other co-owners about the redo, telling them, “I said I always found that the place was lacking a little bit of character, and obviously, [it was] a little bit tired and beaten up.”

So, he wanted to spruce up the place, which feels like telling Joey Ramone to go buy new jeans and a shirt at The Gap. The grunge was part of the charm.

click to enlarge New art to mostly cover the old art. - LAUREN DREWES DANIELS
New art to mostly cover the old art.
Lauren Drewes Daniels
Regardless, on Saturday, the newly opened modified giant pizza slinger was packed. The orange paint was on-trend and natural wood lightened the dining room. The former mural-laden wall opposite the kitchen was sedated with black paint, whether it wanted to be or not.

The pizza seemed the same. I think previously I mostly heard the pizza and it always sounded reliably good. To illustrate this transition more succinctly, below is something I penned back in 2012 about Serious Pizza:

“Also, some may say the music is all over the place. It's not. It's genius, my friends. Heavy metal, the Ramones, followed by a musical interlude that could have been on, say, the Bourne Supremacy. You either get it or you don't. If you don't, just try to tune it out (which might be a challenge considering they crank it when a song comes on they're particularly fond of).”

There’s still music floating above the dining room, but it’s not nearly abrasive and it sticks to an ’80s and '90s rap vibe. And, there was actually another small birthday party in the back for a younger kid, which is awesome.

click to enlarge Serious Pizza's pepperoni pizza - LAUREN DREWES DANIELS
Serious Pizza's pepperoni pizza
Lauren Drewes Daniels

The 30-inch seriously large pizza is still on the menu at $28.75 plus $4 for each topping, and a slice is $5.75, plus $1 for toppings.

Sheikh said he’s hoping to replicate the brand and open more spots, including one in Fort Worth this year.

Serious Pizza, 2807 Elm St. Deep Ellum,, 11 a.m. to 12 a.m. Sunday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. Friday and Saturday.