After half a day of work today, I had to make a trip downtown to pick up some equipment for work. Philip went with me so we could eat lunch out somewhere. Of course, being the middle of the day on a Friday, anywhere downtown was pretty much out. Traffic and parking were a nightmare, and it was raining, so parking and walking were not really in the cards. We debated for a few minutes and decided to eat at Crust on Signal Mountain Road (there’s also a Crust off South Broad Street).
Crust is located in a former Long John Silver’s building. You might expect it to have that weird repurposed restaurant vibe….usually, when one restaurant takes over another, you never quite get rid of the vibe of the original. That’s definitely not the case with Crust. The outside and the inside are decorated in funky orange and green, down to the booth seats. Vintage pictures cover the tabletops, and vintage posters hang on the wall. Honestly, if you didn’t know that it used to be Long John Silver’s, I don’t know that you’d ever guess. I was also very impressed with the “landscaping” out front, which I’d never really noticed before. They grow their own herbs right out front-well-groomed rosemary and basil, which our server told us they use in their pizzas.
It had been a while since the last time that we went to Crust, but we’d only been on Sundays after church and for some reason were under the impression that their lunch buffet was only on Sundays. Actually, it may be an all-day buffet. I meant to ask our server, and I forgot. Someone help me out here! The buffet includes an amazing salad (which is listed on the menu as Saladmander)-lettuce, cucumber, Roma tomato, garbanzo beans, onion (which I gave to Philip), sunflower seeds, sliced mushrooms, and mozzarella cheese. Their homemade dressings include kalamata feta, cracked pepper ranch, honey rosemary French, roasted tomato vinaigrette, and creamy bleu. Philip loves the kalamata feta, so of course he ordered that, and I chose the roasted tomato vinaigrette. Delicious! I don’t like olives, so I can’t really comment on Philip’s dressing, but the roasted tomato vinaigrette is so basil-y. It reminds me of the super-yummy tomato soup I make, and that’s a very good thing. The salad makes you feel a little bit better about the pizza buffet…..and I love that they serve it in metal bowls. Don’t ask me why. I just do.
Apparently we came in right after a lunch rush, so the buffet was a little bare when we first came in. I started with a slice of cheese and a slice that had green peppers, applewood bacon, and just a tiny bit of ground beef (this particular pizza also had Italian sausage, but I’m not a fan so I chose a piece that didn’t have any). Philip had a slice of this as well (with sausage), a slice with pepperoni and sausage, and a slice with kalamata olives, green peppers, and mushrooms. We each had a 2nd slice of the beef/bacon/green pepper/sausage pizza, then they put out a pepperoni and we had a slice of that as well. Then we were stuffed, so we decided to forego the cupcake that we had discussed getting before we ate….but anyway…….
Crust’s motto (if you can call it that) is “Home of the Cracker-Thin Crust”. I was reading some of the reviews on Urbanspoon, and several people had less than kind things to say about the crust. So, let me say this: if you are not a fan of thin-crust pizza, you will not like their pizza. Order from their pasta, sandwich, or salad menu. If, like me, you are a fool for thin-crust pizza, you are likely to love this place as much as I do. This crust is one of the best that I’ve had. I love their sauce as well; it’s slightly sweet and slightly spicy and clearly homemade (and it does not taste like Chef Boyardee, as one Urbanspoon reviewer perpetuated). The curst really is as thin as a cracker, and they cut it into pseudo-squares, similar to the way that Domino’s cuts their thin-crust pizza…but this pizza is so much better than any national chain restaurant could possibly turn out. I am going to have to order pizza off of the menu sometime, because I really want to try their pesto sauce.
As I mentioned above, there is a selection of pastas, salads, and sandwiches that you can order if you don’t like thin-crust pizza or you just aren’t in the mood for pizza. Everything on the menu has an interesting name, like the Dick Dastardly sandwich (house-roasted Italian sausage slathered with red sauce and loaded with mozzarella), Pasta LaVista (angel hair tossed with seasoned oil, parmesan, mozzarella, Italian sausage, and ricotta), and the Greenzilla salad. You can order a choose-your-topping pizza or order one of their specialty pizzas, like the Sleestak (pepperoni, mushrooms, Italian sausage, and ricotta). Finally, as I mentioned before, they sell housemade dark chocolate cupcakes with buttercream frosting. At $1.99, they are a bargain over the $3- $4 cupcakes you find in all the trendy cupcake shops right now, and the icing wasn’t 3 feet high, which is always a plus….but we were stuffed so we refrained. I definitely want to try them at some point, though.
So, to sum it up….if you are in the mood for a great salad and the best thin-crust pizza you’ve ever had, make a trip to Crust. I think you’ll find that it’s worth your while!
Crust is located at 100 Signal Mountain Road, Chattanooga, TN 37405 and 3211 South Broad Street, Chattanooga, TN 37408. You can call the Red Bank location at 423-710-3780 and the Broad Street location at 423-756-4040. Check out their website or find them on Facebook.