Thursday, December 15, 2011

Best Pizza in East Tennessee!?

Laurie and I have been living here in East Tennessee for over 2 years now and there are a few food items and/or restaurant offerings that we were used to that have been very hard to find in this area. 
In no particular order, the hard to find food items are: a really great grilled cheeseburger (Ruby Tuesday’s Prime Burger is the best so far but it’s not cooked on a flat top grill); gyros; a good hot pastrami (Jason’s Deli is the best to date); a great basic breakfast (bacon or sausage and eggs over easy with hash browns and toast); blade cut lamb chops, (Once in a while, Food Lion offers something resembling what we’re used to), and; good thin crust pizza.  
When friends suggested that we pile into an SUV and head over to Oak Ridge to sample what is reputed to be the best thin crust pizza in East Tennessee, we were more than ready to go!  Maybe we could cross one food ‘need’ off our list…

This is Big Ed’s Pizza in Oak Ridge Tennessee.  This pizza joint was opened by Big Ed Neusel back in 1970 and although Big Ed himself passed on in 1998, the operation carries on under Ed’s son David’s leadership.

I like the front of this place…the 50’s look with the painted picture of “Big Ed” in the front window and the State Farm Insurance Agent’s office that’s stuck in the corner of the building…literally surrounded by Big Ed’s.

This is a glimpse of the pizza assembly line at Big Ed’s.  They were pumping out the pizzas…one after another!  Big Ed’s is a big time food landmark for the locals in and around Oak Ridge.


Here we are...thanks to a member of our little group, for once Laurie is in a photo! 

This photo also gives the reader a view of the inside of Big Ed’s.  We arrived early but everyone we’ve talked to about this pizza joint, has told us that the lines during the evening prime time can be intimidating.


This was our exploratory dining party.  It was Charlie's birthday and you get "a free" Big Ed's T-shirt if you celebrate your birthday there!  From the left we have Karen, Charlie, Holly, Joel (in front) and yours truly. 


So here’s what we came for…what’s really important.  The table ordered 3 different pizzas.  This was the large cheese pizza…


This is the large cheese, sausage and olives pizza.  Pizzas are offered in the 10”, 12” and 14” versions.  Prices seemed reasonable to us… A 14” with cheese and one topping cost $14.03.  A 14” with cheese and two toppings cost $15.76.  A 14” with cheese and three toppings cost $17.49.


Laurie and I ordered our usual…a large pizza with cheese, sausage and pepperoni.  While I would have liked a little more flavor in the sausage, this was indeed the best pizza we’ve had in East Tennessee!  Everyone in our group liked their pizzas…a lot! 
There were only 2 ‘negative’ issues, which we knew about in advance, but which based on some on-line reviews, seem to bother a number of people.  See that tiny cheap flimsy paper plate?  Well it comes with equally cheap and flimsy plastic forks…all the better to eat your pizza with!  Many regular customers consider these little quirks as part of what makes Big Ed’s the special joint that it is!  We planned ahead and packed our own sturdy paper plates and some flatware.  No big deal...
Big Ed’s is open from 11 AM to 11:30 PM, Monday through Saturday.  They do serve beer…$2.20 per mug or $11.00 for a pitcher.  Big Ed’s is located at 101 Broadway Avenue in Oakridge Tennessee.  Phone: 865-482-4885.  While Big Ed’s does not have a website per se, they can be found on the Internet at
If anyone knows of a better pizza place in East Tennessee, just let me know!
Just click on any photo to enlarge it…
Thanks for stopping by for a visit!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

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