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Chicken Tikka Masala pizza at Pizza Twist is topped with a tikka masala sauce, mushrooms, onion, bell pepper garlic, ginger, chicken and cilantro.
When he was living and working in Seattle, Lovejit Dhillon quickly became a fan of a nearby place that offered an unusual variation to one of the world’s most beloved dishes.
“It was the first time I had come across someone who was putting the flavors of Indian cuisine on pizza,” Dhillon said. “I ended up going there several times a week.”
Nima Patel had a similar experience when she discovered a similar place in California. “I really fell in love with the food,” she said.
When the couple later married and moved to Tulsa, Dhillon — who has a culinary degree — and Patel decided, rather than take the risk of trying to create a restaurant from the ground up, to bring this concept they both had grown to love to town.
About two months ago, Dhillon and Patel opened Pizza Twist, the first Oklahoma location for a chain that currently has locations in 17 states, as well as Canada and Indonesia.
Curried chicken and black olives highlight the Chicken Curry pie at Pizza Twist.
The California-based chain was founded in 2014 by Harpreet Dahyia, under the name Chicago’s Pizza with a Twist. The name was changed simply to Pizza Twist in 2020.
The Tulsa location occupies a former Quizno’s in the Lighthouse Shopping Center at the corner of 71st Street and Yale Avenue. While it has a Yale address, the store front faces 71st Street.
Pizza Twist has an extensive menu, with about two dozen specialty pizza combinations that are divided between the “traditional” and the “twist,” as well as pasta dishes, salads, wings and breadsticks, as well as appetizers that include samosas (a pastry stuffed with potato, onion and spices) and paneer pakora (an Indian variation on fried cheese).
There is also a “Create Your Own Pizza” option that allows one to cobble together a unique pie from five crust choices, eight sauces, 14 vegetable options and 14 proteins. Vegetarian, vegan, halal and gluten-free options are available, as well as a preferred spice level.
Clockwise from bottom, lamb kebob pizza, chicken curry pizza, chicken tikka pizza and pepperoni pizza at Pizza Twist.
“We make everything to order, so we’re able to customize just about anything to what a customer wants,” Patel said. 
“We make our dough fresh each day,” Dhillon said. “We have to start early, because it takes about six hours to proof. And we try to source as much of our ingredients locally as we can. That’s primarily the vegetables, which we also prep daily.”
The traditional pizza menu includes such familiar combinations as all meat, supreme, Hawaiian, cheeseburger and barbecue chicken, along with a few unique creations, such as the “Three Idiots,” which includes three types of chicken (barbecue, spicy and garlic) with onion and a white sauce.
“It’s one of our more popular items,” Dhillon said.
Those wanting to try a “Twist” can choose from such items as the Lamb Kebob, Tandoori, Tikka Masala and Bombay Garlic pies, among others. All pies start at $11.99 for a small up to the family size, at $23.99. Additional proteins range from $2 to $4 extra.
We started out with a small Achari pizza topped with gobi, which are small cubes of seasoned cauliflower. The achari sauce is akin to a barbecue sauce, blending fruity sweetness with mild, yet assertive heat. A sprinkling of freshly chopped cilantro added a pleasantly grassy note, and the rings of jalapeño pepper were also surprisingly mild.
Lovejit Dhillon and Nima Patel are co-owners of Tulsa’s Pizza Twist. “We both loved the food,” Dhillon said, “and we thought it was a concept that would work well in Tulsa.”
All this sat atop a crust that had a crisp underside and bread-like top, providing crunch and chew in every bite.
We also sampled the samosas ($3.99 for two). These were a bit smaller than baseballs in size, the pastry shells baked crisp. The potato-and-spice filling was perfectly cooked, and the mango-habañero dipping sauce proved to be tasty on leftover bits of pizza crust as well as on the samosas.
On a second trip we were able to sample the restaurant’s wings ($6.99 for six) doused in a traditional Buffalo sauce as well as the achari, which we greatly preferred. Patel said that the wings, like all other hot dishes served at Pizza Twist, are baked.
“We don’t even have a deep fryer in the kitchen,” she said.
Traditional pies such as pepperoni are available at Pizza Twist.
We also tried the lamb kebob pizza and the paneer tikka masala pizza. Strips of what looked like meat for a gyro sandwich, chunks of pineapple, jalapeños and cilantro adorned the lamb kebob pizza. The meat had a similar texture as gyro, but with less seasoning. The yogurt-based sauce gave the pie an unusual sweetness that almost tamed the heat of the jalapeños.
The tiny cubes of paneer were tough little nuggets with not a lot of flavor, but the seasonings of tikka masala came through strongly.
Dhillon and Patel said the majority of the clientele they’ve had in their first couple of months of business has largely been non-Indian.
Pepperoni pizza at Pizza Twist.
“That is I think one of the things that make this concept so appealing,” Patel said. “Some people may want to try Indian food, and everyone loves pizza, so this is a good way to discover something new that maybe they would not have tried otherwise.”
And then, Dhillon added, there are people who, like him, are quite content with what’s offered at Pizza Twist.
“We already are noticing some regular customers,” he said. “They came here once just to see what we offer, and now they come back two, three times a week.”
Buffalo and Achari wings are offerings at Pizza Twist.
Pizza Twist co-owner Lovejit Dhillon serves up a slice of Lamb Kebab pizza, which is topped with chunks of pineapple and hot pepper slices.
The chicken wings at Pizza Twist — whether tossed with Buffalo (left) or Achari sauce — are baked, rather than deep-fried.
Lamb Kebab and Pepperoni pizzas represent two sides of the menu at Pizza Twist — the “Traditional” and the “Pizza with a Twist.”
Buffalo and Achari wings at Pizza Twist.
james.watts@tulsaworld.com
7125 S. Yale Ave., in the Lighthouse Shopping Center
918-714-1444
pizzatwist.com
Food: 3½ stars
Service: Order at counter
Atmosphere: 3 stars
(on a scale of 0 to 5 stars)
Vegetarian/Vegan options: Yes
11 a.m.-9 p.m. Wednesday-Monday. All major credit cards accepted.
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Scene Writer
I write primarily about the visual, performing and literary arts. Phone: 918-581-8478
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Chicken Tikka Masala pizza at Pizza Twist is topped with a tikka masala sauce, mushrooms, onion, bell pepper garlic, ginger, chicken and cilantro.
Curried chicken and black olives highlight the Chicken Curry pie at Pizza Twist.
Clockwise from bottom, lamb kebob pizza, chicken curry pizza, chicken tikka pizza and pepperoni pizza at Pizza Twist.
Lovejit Dhillon and Nima Patel are co-owners of Tulsa’s Pizza Twist. “We both loved the food,” Dhillon said, “and we thought it was a concept that would work well in Tulsa.”
Traditional pies such as pepperoni are available at Pizza Twist.
Pepperoni pizza at Pizza Twist.
Buffalo and Achari wings are offerings at Pizza Twist.
Pizza Twist co-owner Lovejit Dhillon serves up a slice of Lamb Kebab pizza, which is topped with chunks of pineapple and hot pepper slices.
The chicken wings at Pizza Twist — whether tossed with Buffalo (left) or Achari sauce — are baked, rather than deep-fried.
Lamb Kebab and Pepperoni pizzas represent two sides of the menu at Pizza Twist — the “Traditional” and the “Pizza with a Twist.”
Buffalo and Achari wings at Pizza Twist.
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