EVERETT — Rachid Ayouni makes pizza like its wine.
Owner of Eight Ball Cafe, Ayouni will tell you his brick-fired pizzas are unique.
“We treat every ingredient before we add things,” he said. “We let them rest in that flavor and let them marinate. It’s almost like making wine. You can’t accelerate that.”
My twin brother, Shane, tried one of Eight Ball’s unique pizzas with me at the restaurant, which opened Sept. 17 in Everett.
We ordered a chicken Gorgonzola pizza, is made with roasted chicken, Gorgonzola cheese and roasted garlic. The 10-inch is $14.49. If the pie looks strange at first, take a closer look. It isn’t topped with a layer of Mozzarella cheese.
I didn’t miss the cheese. Without it, I could really taste Ayouni’s housemade tomato sauce.
“(We) make the ingredients flavorful before they hit the sandwich, the pizza or salad,” Ayouni said. “The sauce you add should not be overkill. We marinate the sauce for at least two days and make sure that by the time we add it, the flavor is diffused.”
My brother is a bread lover, first and foremost so, of course, he loved the crust.
“The bread and crust were amazing,” Shane said. “Overall the flavors were almost gourmet. Not having a layer of cheese was actually a refreshing way to eat pizza.”
Other pies on the menu are ricotta anchovy, veggie pesto, quattro fromagio, beef meatballs and chicken artichoke. Don’t worry, Eight Ball also has the tried-and-true pizza staples — pepperoni, Hawaiian and cheese.
In addition to pizza, Eight Ball Cafe also makes more than a dozen different kinds of sandwiches such as roasted eggplant and pesto caprese, and salads like organic quinoa and Ceasar.
Eight Ball Cafe has a warm, cozy, family-friendly vibe. There’s a bar with several TVs flipped to the sports channel.
Next time, I’d like to try the pizzalad — or a pizza salad — made with arugula, semi-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, marinated artichokes, avocado, topped with Asiago, Romano and Parmesan cheeses, and served on a pizza crust ($12.49).
A Marine Corps veteran who served overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan, Ayouni likes to give discounts to his fellow service men and women. On Oct. 7, active military and veterans will get 50 percent off of food orders.
The Lake Stevens man said opening his own restaurant was on his bucket list.
When Ayouni, now 43, was working at a restaurant in San Francisco in 1997, his mentor gave him this note of advice: You can’t fool people in the food business.
In other words, if the ingredients aren’t housemade, what’s the point?
“When I do something, I like it to be different,” Ayouni said. “It needs to have your identity.”
Evan Thompson: 360-544-2999, firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @evanthompson_1.
If you go
Eight Ball Cafe , 2727 Colby Ave., Everett
11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday