A few months back I wrote my first post about a Signal Mountain restaurant (Nino’s Pastaria) and really had to roll my eyes at myself that somehow I had managed to grossly neglect an entire area of town. There are several restaurants on Signal Mountain that need to be written about, and for some reason I never even think about them. I guess it’s because, being on the mountain and all, they feel like they’re on an island or in a foreign country or something, even though they really aren’t any farther away from me than downtown or East Brainerd. Anyway, as Philip and I were contemplating where to go on Saturday, he asked what restaurants we needed to try on Signal…so we ended up at The Pizza Place, which one of my friends had recently recommended.
We almost didn’t go there. As I was looking them up online I saw that they were a “cash only” establishment, and we didn’t have any cash on us (we rarely do). We walked in to clarify, figuring that we would just walk down the sidewalk to 517 Subs if “cash only” was the case. We found out that they actually take checks, and for once I actually had the checkbook in my bag (honestly, I can’t remember the last time I’ve written a check at a store, restaurant, etc.!) so we decided to stay. The server/cashier (whose name I meant to get but completely forgot) told us to find a table and she came out with menus and took our drink order.
We decided to order some breadsticks. The server suggested side salads, which come with bread (I think she called it rosa bread and said it was similar to breadsticks) but we decided to just get the breadsticks. They came out pretty quickly, with two little cups of marinara. We asked her if the dough is made in house…she said that it is, in large batches every day with the gigantic mixer (which took us right back to our Chuck E. Cheese’s days). The breadsticks were pretty tasty, but we did think they would have been even better with a little more seasoning on them. The sauce (also house made) was good, a tiny bit spicy and seasoned just right.
The Pizza Place has entrées (like lasagna and stuffed shells) and specialty salads on their menu, but it’s called “The PIZZA Place” so we knew that was what we had to get. You can top your own pizza or order a specialty pizza; either way they come in small (8″), medium (12″), large (14″), and extra large (16″). They have twenty-two specialty pizzas, ranging from “Classic” (pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, onions, and green peppers) to teriyaki chicken (teriyaki sauce, chicken, broccoli, pineapple, almonds, and double cheese) and Reuben (1000 Island sauce, corned beef, sauerkraut, caraway seeds, and double cheese). Ordering was not an easy task, but it was made easier by the fact that you can order even the smalls in half & half. I decided to order a small half chicken cordon bleu (bleu cheese sauce, Canadian bacon, chicken, tomatoes, bacon, and double cheese) and half alfredo chicken (alfredo sauce, chicken, broccoli, bacon, and double cheese). Philip ordered half bacon double cheeseburger (bacon, onions, tomatoes, double beef, and double cheese) and half buffalo chicken (garlic ranch sauce, grilled chicken breast, buffalo sauce, and double cheese).
Each pizza was sliced into six small slices, so we each had one slice of each (then Philip went ahead and polished off the buffalo chicken). The chicken cordon bleu was the first one that I tasted. I didn’t think that the bleu cheese sauce had a very strong flavor, so I think that even someone who was not a fan of bleu cheese would like it if they liked all of the other toppings. I thought that the Canadian bacon had an especially good flavor, and the chicken didn’t have the “old” taste that chicken used on pizzas or in restaurant dishes often have. The alfredo pizza was actually fairly similar to the cordon bleu. I wouldn’t have minded a little more broccoli but thought that everything was super tasty and very fresh tasting. We especially liked that the crust was not a thin crust but still managed to have the crispiness that usually only comes along with a thin crust pizza.
Philip tasted the buffalo chicken first and loved it immediately (although he did say it wasn’t quite as good as the first buffalo chicken pizza he’d ever eaten, at Portland Pie Company in Maine, which an experience that I am fairly certain he would describe as sublime). The buffalo sauce was just slightly spicy but not overpowering, and there was a good balance of ranch sauce and buffalo sauce). He told me that he thought that the bacon double cheeseburger tasted like, well, a bacon double cheeseburger. I would have liked it a little bit more if the onions had been cooked a little bit more (maybe sautéed before being put on the pizza?) and the meat a little more seasoned. It was good but I’d say the bacon double cheeseburger was my least favorite of the four. Surprisingly, I think Philip and I would agree that the buffalo chicken was our favorite. It was so good! Really, though, it all was. By the way, our total before tip was $19.50.
I was very, very surprised to see that The Pizza Place only has a 75% “like it” rating on Urbanspoon. Of course, most of the people that have voted didn’t actually leave reviews, so I have no idea why most of the naysayers said they didn’t like it. There were a couple of negative reviews, though, and the main thing that stuck out to me was that both reviews mentioned the atmosphere. One of them referred to the restaurant as “filthy and run down”. I’ll be honest…the decor is not stellar and the place has not been updated in quite some time. I didn’t find it to be filthy, though, and (as you well know if you are a regular reader) when I go to a restaurant I am far more concerned about the quality of the food that they are serving than the decor. People have put a lot of thought into crafting the pizzas on the menu, and restaurants don’t often last more than twenty years with filth and ordinary food. The only issue I had was the “cash/check only” issue…but when you are located in such a small community and there’s an ATM at the bank that’s basically next door, that isn’t too much of an issue. I’d encourage you to give this place a try…it may become one of your new favorites.
The Pizza Place is located at 1210 Taft Highway, Signal Mountain, TN 37377 (in the strip mall/complex next door to Pruett’s). You can call them at 423-886-3761. They do not have a website or Facebook page.