Some rave reviews for this pizza place sent us a half-hour down the road to find a middle-of-nowhere joint whose owner grows his basil in the shop, makes his own root beer and ice cream, and puts quite a lot of his proceeds back into the community.
As I mentioned a few chapters ago, living in a smaller city rapidly changed my perception of how much time I am willing to spend on the road for a meal before grumbling. I think that it’s connected with how long my commute to work is. In the twelve years I lived in Marietta, I worked for three different companies. I picked my home for its school district, but worked in Dunwoody, then Alpharetta, then in downtown Atlanta. My morning commutes were about an hour, and longer in the evenings coming home. So driving an hour to get some dinner in Decatur or on Buford Highway came naturally.
Today, my commute is about twenty minutes, maybe a little longer coming back. So when I read Sean Phipps’ story about Bob’s Brick Oven early last month, one takeaway was that a thirty-minute drive for pizza seemed excessive. We must conclude, therefore, that I’m losing perspective.
I’d say that the town of Rock Spring is more part of the Dalton metro area than Chattanooga (and I’m wrong, but see the comments for my reasoning), but either way, it’s very strange to find such a high-quality restaurant so far away from a city center. This honestly would not be out of place in Decatur, where Atlanta’s food hobbyists and writers would rave about the place. They make extremely good pizza here, either as a 14-inch size or a personal 8-inch. For the three of us, this was perfect. Our son could have most of the small pie with each of us grown-ups sampling a slice, and we also got to split a completely delicious Primero Pesto.
I really enjoyed the crust, which was lightly seasoned and chewy with a little bit of char, and all of the vegetables tasted so nice. It was just a wonderful pie, not at all traditional and a million miles from a big New York cheese slice, but still delicious. Worth the drive? You better believe it.
But I mentioned root beer and ice cream, so I should tell you about those. The root beer is amazing. He uses an old recipe that doesn’t include an artificial coloring, so it’s clear and has a strong vanilla flavor. It’s wonderful and in a perfect world, you could take it home in a twelve-pack. His ice cream flavors rotate from batch to batch. We lucked into a weekend with cookies and cream – my favorite – on the menu and of course we loved that as well. The very best part was saving a little ice cream and a little root beer and making myself a mini-float right at the end.
This place is easy to overlook in a small space next to a gas station, but it definitely shouldn’t be missed. This is downtown-quality pizza in a space where you’d expect somebody to be serving reheated Hunt Brothers or something. And if that’s not reason enough, the owner is incredibly generous with his time and charity and is a big supporter of a fabulous, important agency here in town called Chattanooga Room in the Inn. This is definitely worth the drive from the city or from any of the towns in northwest Georgia.
Bob’s Brick Oven Pizza
Rock Spring, GA 30739
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