Friday, December 26, 2008

Ode to a Pepperoni - Pizza on Beech Mountain, NC

After a non-stop day of dashing through the snow on your sled, snowboard, skis, inner tube . . . or rear end, there is nothing like sinking one's teeth into a cheesy, saucy, piping hot slice of the wonderfulness that is Pizza!

Fortunately, while on Beech, you have your choice of two fine pizza pie establishments on the Mountain, each run by folks who pride themselves on high-quality ingredients and friendly service.

Famous Brick Oven Pizzeria (Located on Beech Mountain Parkway, across from the Beech Mountain Visitors Center)

This is a great place to come with a large group. The food is really great, and the atmosphere is a pleasantly casual, with ample seating for large, happily noisy groups. You order up at the counter for your group, then grab yourselves some paper plates and plastic cutlery, and there's a large roll of paper towels at every table and booth. The menu is extensive, so you might want to work on your choices before you go up because there is something for everyone (hot sandwiches, several fresh upscale salads and homemade soup each day, in addition to their luscious braided crust pizzas). And if that weren't enough, there's a wide selection of deli-style desserts to chose from, a cappuccino bar, an ice cream & fruit smoothies bar (Summers only), and at the other end of the restaurant, grown-up bar.

In addition to food, Brick Oven also provides plenty of entertainment. After your group has finished feasting, you can send the kids with a pocketful of quarters to the arcade room while you help yourself to another cold one from the impressive "Wall of Beer" - or sit back with a fragrant espresso and a tall slice of carrot cake or fudge, perhaps? Maybe catch up on your online reading, if you bring along a laptop to take advantage of the free Wi-fi? Or you can just relax and admire the tons of paper plates decorated by previous customers over the years covering the walls. (It seems they never throw these out, but store the overflow and rotate them for display from time to time. If you contributed some artwork during a previous visit years ago, you might just find your masterpiece displayed when you next visit!)

At present Brick Oven only offers the options of take-out or dining in - but I am told that they may soon offer Delivery, this winter, if there is a demand for it.

That Pizza Place (formerly known as Smokey's Pizza) (Located just past the Entrance to Ski Beech, on the way back to our condo - 2 minutes' leisurely drive)

Another little pizza place my family often frequents is further up the Mountain, only a few hundred feet from the entrance to Ski Beech. The atmosphere here is a little quieter, with an intimate collection of smaller tables and a cozy sports bar ambiance. Here too, you will find an attractive bar serving wine and beer, a more basic pizza restaurant menu, also offering wings and a nice side salad - but also, some cheesecake is available for your sweet tooth, as well as a selection of specialty coffees. Really, what more do you need?

At present, That Pizza Place offers take-out and dining in. There used to be a delivery car, but it is no more. However, since it is only a minute down the road from our place, we find it to be no problem to pop down and pick it up ourselves (or on the way back to the condo after skiing), as a nice conversation with either of the owners while we're there is a treat. Thanks to this wonderful couple, I have a nice anecdote to chuckle over about the exact circumstances surrounding the demise of their former pizza delivery car (Thanks, Sherry Garris), AND I know a great deal more than I did about the local small airports near Beech Mountain where Dave Garris tries out the experimental aircraft he builds.

Hmmm . . . perhaps I'll be writing about that next . . .
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