Our inability to find really good pizza here in East Tennessee has been one of our few frustrations about living here in ‘paradise’, with its beautiful mountains, lakes, rivers, rocks and trees that define this area.
Recently, a chain of pizza parlors opened a location in the Knoxville area and despite its distance from our home we went out of our way to give it a try!
If you’re from the Chicago market, you are well aware of Rosati’s and their pizzas. The Rosati family has been in the restaurant business and specifically the pizza business for many years…5 generations in fact!
The family has franchised their restaurants and they are expanding across the country. Currently there are 58 Rosati’s locations in 11 states, with 28 of them being in Illinois. In addition to Illinois and Tennessee, Rosati’s restaurants can be found in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Nevada, North Carolina, Texas and Wisconsin.
Note: If you look closely at the cars that are lined up for delivery service, you may spot the only BMW pizza delivery car that I’ve ever seen! (Back left)
Much to our disappointment, Rosati’s is really a take-out and delivery operation. There are 4 or 5 small tables inside with an equal number outside if the weather allows. Other than the sauce for sale, it’s pretty much a bare bones operation…
We ordered separately as we wanted to try a couple of different items on the menu… Laurie went for the 14” thin crust pizza with Italian Sausage and Pepperoni. ($19.00) She knew that it would be big enough for me to try a piece or two and that she’d still be able to take some home for lunch the following day.
The pizza was very, very good! The crust was crisp but not burnt, the tomato sauce wasn’t too sweet and there wasn’t too much of it. The cheese, sausage and pepperoni were all top notch and distinctive, i.e. you could taste them separately. Another plus was that Laurie grew up with square cut pizza…easier to eat…and this pizza fit her image of what a pizza should look like.
Now for the downside… Even though we were ‘dining in’, the pizza was delivered to us in a closed pizza box. On the tiny table, just opening the box and trying to remove pieces of pizza to eat was a major challenge! Without some type of serving tool, we struggled to serve ourselves with plastic ‘silverware’ and flimsy paper plates.
Sorry for the mess! I’d started working over my Crosstown Classic Combo ($8.00) before I remembered to take a photo. This Chicago standard offering comes with an Italian sausage link and Italian beef on French bread. I should have ordered hot peppers (50 cents) to go with it but it didn’t occur to me until after I started eating.
To say that this was messy to eat is an understatement…but I expected that as it is standard with this sandwich. The sausage was very good but the Italian beef lacked any real flavor and it was a bit drier than I was used to in Chicago. It was huge sandwich!
The menu at Rosati’s also includes appetizers, wings, salads, calzone, and a number of pasta dishes, several other sandwiches and dessert. In addition to thin crust pizza, they also offer Double Dough, Gluten Free Crust, Stuffed and Chicago Deep Dish Pizzas. Despite the difficulty of ‘eating in’ at Rosati’s, their thin crust pizza is now our mutually agreed on “best pizza” in the Knoxville metropolitan area! Of course, everyone has their own opinion about pizza...
Rosati’s in Knoxville Tennessee is located at 234 Brookview Centre Way, #109. Phone: 865-602-2211. Now if they just had a location in Farragut we’d be close enough to take one to go so we could eat in the comfort of our home. Website: http://www.rosatispizza.com/.
Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…
Thanks for stopping by and participating in our continuing search for great pizza!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave