By Rick Hynum
Folks live large in Brazil, and they make their pizzas the same way. Life’s a little more laidback in Bradenton, Florida, a small city on the Gulf Coast, but at My Slice Pizza, owner/chef Wesley Cavalavante still believes bigger is always better.
After just one year in business, My Slice Pizza’s Brazilian-style pies have proven a hit in the Sunshine State. Nearly 130,000 Brazilians live in Florida, and Cavalavante and his wife, Glaucia Franco, created the pizza concept with their fellow expats in mind. “Florida today is one of the American states with a big community of Brazilians who appreciate a good Brazilian pizza,” Cavalavante told PMQ. “The best pizzerias in Brazil are located in São Paulo, and the best pizzas come from there, so we brought the concept here because we are from São Paulo.”
He noted that Brazilian pizza “is not considered fast food and is sold in large sizes to share, especially on weekends….Brazilian pizzas are known for their large amount of toppings. Our pizzas are premium and need to be eaten with a knife and fork!”
Brazil even has its own National Pizza Day, celebrated each year on July 10.
Cavalavante imports many of his ingredients—including San Marzano tomato sauce—from Italy and Brazil and has crafted his own signature dough for My Slice Pizza. “I took what I like best in Italian and Brazilian pizza dough and created my own style of dough,” he said. “The taste is so good, and it is very light due to the fermentation process.”
My Slice does serve American-style fare, including Pepperoni, Pepperoni Xtreme and Hot Pepperoni pizzas. But the vast Brazilian-style menu is where the action’s at. Cavalavante fires up more than 40 specialty pies in his native country’s style, selling them for between $28.99 and $45.99.
Catupiry cheese, a popular soft cheese from Brazil, figures prominently on the menu. Pizzas include the Calabresa With Catupiry (red sauce, mozzarella, sliced kielbasa sausage and catupiry); the Brasileirissima (red sauce, mozz, corn, chicken, ham, heart of palm and catupiry); and the Quattro Formaggio (red sauce, catupiry, mozz, smoked Gouda and gorgonzola).
The pie that sells for $45.99, the Carne Seca Com Catupiry, features a red sauce, mozz, jerky beef and Brazilian soft cheese. There’s also the Portuguesa Speciale, made with red sauce, ham, eggs, heart of palm, green peas, onions and mozzarella, priced at $35.99.
Cavalavante offers a wide range of thin-crust dessert pizzas, too, including the Nutella With Strawberry and Banana (mozzarella, Nutella and sliced strawberries and bananas) and the Chocolate M&Ms (mozz, milk chocolate and M&Ms).
Two of Brazil’s most popular pizzas can also be found at My Slice: the Calabresa (red sauce, mozz, sliced kielbasa sausage and sliced onions) and the Frango Com Catupiry (red sauce, mozz, seasoned shredded chicken, corn and catupiry).
The restaurant has a five-star rating on Google with 367 reviews. One reviewer recently described it as an “exquisite dining experience.”
“My slice of pizza was a masterful blend of culinary delights,” that reviewer wrote. “The half Argentina, half chicken with catupiry, a captivating Brazilian cheese known for its rich, creamy texture, was a symphony of flavors that danced upon my palate. The Argentinean side offered a delightful mix of traditional ingredients, while the chicken brought a succulent, savory twist to the ensemble. The marriage of these diverse elements showcased the pizzaiolo’s deft expertise in creating harmonious fusions. As a seasoned foodie accustomed to reviewing establishments, I must say this slice left a lasting impression, making it an absolute must-try for discerning gastronomes seeking a transcendent pizza encounter. Bravo!”
Google reviewers also lavished praise on the My Slice Pizza owners and staff. “The owners are so friendly and kind,” one wrote. “They really do make you feel like family.” Another added, “The people working there were very kind and caring.”
Cavalavante is proud of the glowing reviews and the food and service his team provides. “The combination of hard work, high-quality ingredients and loving what we do every day make us special,” he said. “We have brought the attention of not only Brazilians but also a diversity of people due to the quality and exclusive taste that we are able to offer to everyone who comes to taste our pizzas.”
Rick Hynum is PMQ’s editor in chief.