Wednesday, September 10, 2014

In Hot Springs, pizza means Deluca's

Posted By on Wed, Sep 10, 2014 at 8:31 AM

click to enlarge Anthony Valinoti prepares a pie at Deluca's - LOUIS WILLIAMS
  • Louis Williams
  • Anthony Valinoti prepares a pie at Deluca's
There was a time that pizza meant frozen and baked in the oven, or one of the many national chains that all seem to share the same recipe: pile on as much meat as you can and cover it with cheese. Lots and lots of cheese. Thawed-out toppings all came together to form one flavor — mediocre. 

In Hot Springs, Deluca's Pizzeria is changing all that with an assortment of delicious Italian meats and vegetables right from the farm.

My first visit to Deluca's was at the urging of a friend. So taking this advice I stroll in and have a seat. After making my selection from the menu, and a very short wait, my server placed the pie on my table. This thing was like a work of art. A rainbow of colors, red, orange, white, and green. Pepperoni, onions, cherry tomatoes, shiitake mushrooms and fresh basil. I wasn't sure if I should eat it or frame it.

The first bite made me realize this is what real pizza is. For those old enough to remember Pop Rocks candy, the candy that would pop and crack in your mouth, the sensation was the same. Only this time, instead of sweet candy flavor, what "popped" was the basil, the sauce, the fresh tomatoes and mushrooms, and the spicy pepperoni. The thin crust had a crisp texture to it, but a little chewy at the same time, very enjoyable. Everything has a flavor all its own, but it all comes together to make a flavor unlike any pizza I've had. Now, you might say that this reaction was due to it being my first visit, but I assure you, the reaction is the same on every visit, and there have been many, with many more still to come.

There are times that food is merely good, and there are times that the love put into it comes through and you can taste it. Anthony Valinoti loves what he does and loves his customers. A visit to Deluca's is not complete until you meet Tony. Sit down and order from the signature pies, or create your own. Choose from pepperoni, cappicola, soppressata, shiitake mushrooms, or farm fresh onions and tomatoes, just to name a few. The aroma teases your nose, and the fresh flavors touch every area of the palate. The love is in each and every pie that comes from the oven.

Free your mind of the mediocrity of the national chain, and head on up Park Avenue in Hot Springs to Deluca's Pizzeria. Take a bite, and see the difference fresh makes. Your taste buds will thank you. 

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