During my high school years, my best friend worked at the local pizza joint in our humble town. At the time, we all thought he had one of the greatest gigs in the world. Our city’s residents tipped well, so financially he was much better off than the rest of his slacker cronies. Even better, he was allowed at least one free pizza per shift, unlimited toppings, any size. Additionally, any incorrect orders or slightly marred pies were fair game to the employees. Fortunately, for myself and the rest of our motley crew, these pizza blessings had a fairly regular trickle down effect, and we were treated to just about as much cheap pizza as our young tummies could contain. It was not necessarily the finest quality pizza ever created, but to a young, overflowing sack of hunger and hormones like myself, the greatest pizza in existence is the kind you don’t pay for. Any sort of palate progression I made from those mozzarella covered years is definitely in question, but I did eat a lot of free pizza during those years, and I do feel fairly confident in grading a cheap, neighborhood pizza joint. This week, my Little Rock pizza quest brought me to Grady’s Pizza and Subs, where I was immediately reminded of my teen years camping out in the local pizza establishment.
Feeling rather gluttonous on this particular day, my dining companion and I decided to tackle one of Grady’s large 16-inch pies. As were rather torn as to which of their eight or nine specialty pies to order, were we grateful when Grady’s offered to split the pie halfsies, allowing us to sample two of their more popular combinations on a single pie.
Unfortunately, the second half did not sit so well with me. The “North St. Louis Special” is composed of large chunks of “Italian” sausage, green olives, bell peppers, and red onion. The principle offender on this pie was the pitiful sausage. Clearly this was no artisanal pork product. After its short jaunt in the pizza oven, the sausage came out chewy and dry, more closely resembling bits of dehydrated turkey jerky than anything that should be allowed on a self-respecting pizza pie. The pie was also overwhelmed with the flavor of briny, salted, sliced green olives, freshly fished from the bottom of a jumbo-sized can. Lastly, the rather odd choice of sauce for this pie, a mix of alfredo and marinara, forced me to stop eating this half all-together…not an easy feat for any pizza to accomplish.
I wouldn’t visit Grady’s expecting any sort of authentic Italian experience…its no closer to Rome or Naples than a can of Chef Boyardee beef-a-roni. But it still fills a place in the American food culture that will surely fit the bill for many in the neighborhood. While Grady’s was only partially successful in my experience, a fifty percent success rate is certainly not something to be ashamed of. Heck, if this were baseball, we’d be talking about an all-star batting average here.
Grady’s Pizza and Subs
6801 W 12TH St.
In November, Pizza Cafe opened a Take and Bake outlet at 102 Markham Park Drive. The premise is simple — show up, order your pizza, watch the staff whip it up deli-style in front of you, take it home and stick it in the oven. Eleven to 18 minutes later, bon appetit! This weekend we tried a veggie take on Pizza Cafe's revered Mexican Pizza.
Word of warning: the packaging is a bit weak. The pizza comes on a flimsy one-time bake tray, covered with plastic wrap. We were worried that the pizza would slide around in the car and come unwrapped before we got it home, but there were no mishaps. The less waste the better, so kudos to Take and Bake for forgoing boxes — but drive smoothly, or better yet, bring someone along to hold the pizza.
Our small veggie Mexican came to about $16 after tax. It's 13 inches and fed the two of us adequately, but we're light eaters. The regular Mexican pizza comes with beef, which would have added a substantial punch and probably works well, flavor-wise. A veggie-crumble alternative would be fantastic, but we doubt that's in the cards.
We popped the pizza in the oven per the instructions taped to the top of the plastic. The weird paper-aluminum one-time use tray performed well. Our pizza came out with an evenly cooked, thin, crispy, vaguely sweet crust. This complemented its salty offerings — olives and a three cheese blend. There was a sprinkle of veggies, mostly bell peppers, and salsa rather than sauce, which worked well with the overall flavor. There was nothing exceptional about our veggie Mexican Pizza, but it beats the frozen grocery store variety (for double the price, it should!), it tasted much fresher than your standard corporate delivery option, and it made a comforting quick meal. Next time we find ourselves in the area and too retail-weary to cook, we'll probably stop by again.
Hours are Mon - Sat: 11 a.m. - 7:30 p.m., Sun. 3-6 p.m.
Longtime Pizza D'Action employees Gary Hoschouer and Chuck Beets have purchased the storied dive bar and pizza joint from longtime owner Orville Davis.
Hoschouer, who along with Beets has worked at Pizza D off and on for about 18 years, said to expect small menu changes and some interior updates, but no radical changes. Two specific upgrades coming soon: outlets at tables to allow laptop users to work more easily and a repaired and remodeled front entrance, which has been covered with plywood since mid-December after a driver smashed through the building and then drove away. Once the latter happens, hopefully in time for the Super Bowl Hoschouer said, look for a party to celebrate the ownership change and the "grand reopening."
The restaurant/bar's new Facebook Page is the place for daily meal and drink specials and music listings. Look for concerts at Pizza D once or twice a week, Hoschoeur said.
UPDATE: Still smoking.
Special thanks to Pizza D'Action's Josh Doering for the following photographs of destruction wrought at the Stifft Station watering hole and restaurant by a hit-and-run driver early yesterday morning. He also came up with the title of this blog post, which was too good not to use.
Little Rock Police Department spokesman Terry Hastings said a witness saw a white Toyota Camry slam into the building around 5:20 a.m. Thursday — the driver apparently having missed the curve coming onto Markham off Kavanaugh. After the dust settled, the driver threw it into reverse, backed out of the restaurant, and drove away. An investigation is ongoing, though Hastings said they do have a good description of the car and a partial license plate.
The restaurant boarded up the hole, cleaned up a bit, and reopened the same day.
I had meant to make it in while they were doing breakfast every day, but they stopped offering breakfast except for on the weekends a few weeks ago. And my schedule hasn’t allowed me to be in Conway AND hungry at the same time for a while.
I suppose I can be forgiven this, since I just this weekend tried the particular pie in question. Still, the fact I’d never even heard of Steffey’s Pizza in Lavaca is pretty incredible, considering how dang good the place is.
The restaurant serves beer and wine. For now at least, it opens at 11 a.m. daily. Jamal said his closing time will depend on customers. The phone number is 501-821-0055. The restaurant’s website is www.palioslittlerock.com, but a Facebook page currently has more information.
There's a menu on the Facebook page, but much of it is too small to read. One item that stands out: a $7.99 lunch special, that comes with a salad, drink and either pizza, sandwich, calzone or pasta. It runs from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, Jamal said.
Jamal co-owns the restaurant with his brothers Kawser Jamal and Khalid Jamal and his uncle Hamid Patel.
Old World Pizza has turned their dough green to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. What do you think about this? I can't say it looks all that appetizing although I'm sure it's great. Thanks to Bradley Phillips for the heads up.
No matter. Now there are much better pictures to showcase the still-consistent awesomeness that is Za Za. How can I say that? Well, I just darn well like the place. I mean, the pizzas have a flavor I have found nowhere else in the state. The salads are generous. And the gelato. Egads, the gelato. I have gone so many times JUST for the gelato...
But I digress. Pretty pictures and a halfway decent story about the Little Rock created (and Conway exported) shop over on Tie Dye Travels.
"'you're welcome to keep eating your greens and hoe cake while the rest of us…
Where is my popcorn?
though I have to say I did raise my eyebrows at the sour cream and…
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