Thursday, October 9, 2008

A Taste of Brooklyn in Sevierville

For the Schrader’s, Friday was pizza night. When working at the bank, I would seldom be home before 8:00 p.m. and—this should be no surprise—I was in no mood to cook. So I would call Chuck as I was leaving work and he would leave to get pizza. Since leaving Wycombe, we have been pizza deprived. Yes, we’ve had a few o.k. pizzas, but no real winners.

Then we saw this simple, plain sign for Smoky Mountain Pizza Company in Sevierville. Not wanting to take a chance, I came home and Googled some reviews and learned that this was a New York thin crust style pizza and, for those posting a review, was deemed to be very good pizza.

So in a bow to tradition, last Friday we went to Smoky Mountain Pizza for one of the best pizzas ever—a large (18”) sausage. The crust is perfect—-thin, crisp, with a faint taste of yeast. The sauce is rich with sweet tomato, garlic, and herbs. As I was eating, I said to Chuck that I thought this was an uncooked sauce and a later question to one of the waitstaff proved me right. And the pizza was topped with just the right amount of cheese.

After demolishing all 18” in what must be record time (you’ll see from the accompanying photo that we couldn’t wait to start eating), we told our waitress that this was one of the best pizzas we had ever eaten and that—-coming from Philadelphia—-we knew good pizza. (Specifically, DiLorenzo's in Trenton.)

Well, she trumped us when she announced that the owner/pizza maker is from Brooklyn/Queens!

This again is a small restaurant with autographed jerseys of local high school athletic teams hanging on the walls. In addition to pizza, the menu includes a variety of pastas, salads, and hot and cold subs. Everyone is given a complimentary plate of garlic knots topped with olive oil, garlic, cheese, and salt and served with a small dish of the homemade marinara sauce.

The staff is young and friendly, and no one person seems to be responsible for any particular table. Any one of them walking past the table would ask if we wanted more tea, inquired if the food was alright, and removed dirty dishes. Customers ranged in age from the very young to senior citizens (Chuck and I are not senior citizens).

This pizza is so good that we went back to Smoky Mountain Pizza three times in five days. On our last stop we got to talk with the owner, Willie LaBoy, and I asked him how he made it from Brooklyn to Sevierville. The journey ran through Orlando where he met the woman who eventually became his wife. She loves this area so they would vacation near the Smokies, ultimately bought a vacation cabin in the mountains, and fifteen months ago purchased the restaurant.

When I raved about the sauce, Willie told me that he uses a special low acid tomato from California to make a sauce that is so smooth his older customers could drink it like tomato juice. Willie makes his dough daily, makes his own meatballs, and even makes the Italian sausage that tops the pizzas, is served with pasta, and is the basis for the sausage and peppers hot sub. What I especially liked about the sausage was the light hand with fennel--nothing worse than a pizza that tastes like licorice.

When we asked if we could take his photograph, Willie quickly and proudly picked up a large pie--half sliced meatball and half mushroom.

While we didn’t eat anything other than pizza and the addictive garlic knots, this is a 5.0 Addie restaurant and sets a pizza standard for our future travels.

I (Chuck) would like to add that we also eat well at home. Recently, Kate served the two dishes shown below. The pasta with fresh tomatoes, basil, garlic, and red pepper flakes was superb. This is one of my favorite pasta dishes.

The second dish prepared in the past week was grilled chicken with a chipolte marinade served with rice with pico de gallo. This dish also rates very highly on my list of favorites. The chicken is brined first, so it is really juicy, even after grilling.

These would both rate 5.0 Addies. Kate has not lost her touch in a smaller, movable kitchen.

1 comment:

leah said...

Thank you so much for the great review, this is Willie's wife Leah, he is on his way home now from the pizza shop and I can't wait to show him!!, you have made not only his night but his month! He truly loves cooking and making people happy while enjoying good food. Thank you again.. God Bless you..