National Pizza Day is Sunday, and here in the Ozarks, there is no shortage of pizzerias and restaurants in both Stone and Taney counties.
For more than a decade, the Reeds Spring Pizza Company has become a favorite among locals, as well as tourists.
Owners Flavie and Paul Lear opened the restaurant in 2007, and outside Flavie’s family owning and operating a restaurant in Paris, her hometown, the Lears had no major restaurant experience. The small restaurant began gaining popularity with a unique menu and commitment to fresh ingredients.
In 2010, the Reeds Spring Pizza Co. was named the best pizza in the state of Missouri by USA Today. The Pizza Co. was also selected as a “Great Pizza Parlor Worth a Detour in Missouri” in the April and May 2013 edition of USA Today magazine.
“Our most popular pizza is going to be the Galaxy, which is like a supreme, and second is probably the Galline, which has cashews on it,” Lear said. “People always come in here and look at the menu and say ‘Cashews, on pizza?’ I always ask them if they like chicken, and if they like cashews. When they try it, they’re really surprised they like it. It’s different, but it’s very good.”
In addition to the two most popular pies, Reeds Spring Pizza Co. also features several other specialties.
“We wanted to be a little different,” Lear said. “We have a pizza, the Nutty Bleu Pig, which I love, that’s pretty much from a salad. When I make a salad for myself, I use the romaine, bleu cheese, pecans, mushrooms, onions and all that, then I use a rosemary lemon dressing which we make here. I was like, ‘Wait a minute, that would be good on a pizza.’
“So we substituted spinach for the romaine, added a few things, then let the customers name it, and the Nutty Bleu Pig was born.”
Another unique menu item is the Long Creek Herbs pizza.
“I decided I wanted to do a pizza with fresh flowers, so I called Jim Long (at Long Creek Herbs) and told him I wanted him to be involved in it,” Lear said. “They came down and we tried all kinds of combinations, a little of this, a little of that, and we found something we liked. It’s a really good pizza, and the flowers change all the time, depending on the season.”
The Reeds Spring Pizza Co. menu also features grinders, salads and an all-you-can eat noodle bar on Wednesdays.
“It’s a team effort, and we have a great staff here,” Lear said. “I want things done a certain way, and I will not change. It doesn’t matter the price, it doesn’t matter how long it takes, we will make our own bread, we will make our own croûtons and sauces.
“But, it is all a team effort. The staff has the recipes, they know how I want it done, so they’re the ones that make it happen.”
Since National Pizza Day is Sunday and the Reeds Spring Pizza Co. is closed every Sunday, Lear said she’ll be running specials Monday. Reeds Spring Pizza Co. is located at 22065 Main Street in Reeds Spring.
Other unique area pizzerias
Pizza By The Chef - Nestled in Claybough Plaza in Branson West is a true Stone County area favorite, Pizza By The Chef. While the restaurant opened in 1992, Gary and Sally Morris became the owners in 2005.
Pizza By The Chef is known for daily specials and live music offered on select dates, as well as Gary and Sally taking pride in their fresh ingredients and house-made items like the dough and sauce.
Everything is made to order at this family owned, old-fashioned pizzeria. The spices in the sauce are a secret mixture known only by the owners and their St. Louis spice house.
The points of pride include homemade hand-tossed dough, scratch-made sauce, fresh-cut vegetables and 100 percent whole milk mozzarella cheese – all baked in an authentic brick oven.
The most popular pie is the Chef’s Supreme. A newer addition is a St. Louis-style pizza with a thin, cracker-like crust. Other specialty offerings include a fabulous (ask the locals who eat it!) gluten-free cauliflower crust and a regular gluten-free crust.
“Winter Warm Up” specials include a unique Bacon, Beef & Beer Cheese Pizza. Salads, appetizers, subs, pastas, calzones and desserts are among the offerings, plus beer and wine.
Open lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday.
Outlaw Run Pizza - Tucked away inside Silver Dollar City, an award-winning 1880s theme park, lies the “world’s most daring wood coaster,” and the only wood coaster to turn upside down three times, Outlaw Run.
Just a stones throw away from Outlaw Run is Crossroads Pizza, specializing in “Stone Hearth/ Stone Fired” Pizza, with traditional wheat flour, thin crust and made fresh daily throughout the season.
The most popular item on the menu, of course, is the Outlaw Run Pizza, which is a blend of flavor and spice with mozzarella and pepper jack cheeses, a special chipotle oil, grilled chicken, peppers and onions, with a hearty balance of vine-ripened tomatoes and basil.
The Pizza carries a spicy bite. Outlaw Run, the ride, is about heading west when the west was young. Daring travelers often had to outrun the outlaws. When at a “crossroads” a traveler needed to prepare for a path ahead - hence Crossroads Pizza.
The restaurant delivers on the back story set in the late 1880s, as part of the internationally-award-winning Silver Dollar City theme. A draw is the fact that pizza is made to order and in front of the hungry eyes of soon-to-be diners. The massive stone oven is front and center in the restaurant so guests can see their pizza coming out hot and fresh. Another interesting item is the Outlaw Run Calzone with ham, Capicola, Genoa salami, provolone cheese with lettuce, tomato, red onion and a vinegar oil dressing.
Outlaw Run Pizza proves the challenge of coming up with a unique pizza that has a wild west allure has been successful, informally voted best pizza at Silver Dollar City.
Parmesan’s Pizzeria - Located at 14608 St. Hwy. 13 in Kimberling City is Parmesan’s Pizza. This restaurant is “wildly popular in mid-to-southern Stone County for their homemade offerings and reliable delivery service.”
Parmesan’s Pizzeria is a family-owned pizzeria operated by a second-generation pizza specialist, Jacob Moschner, along with his wife Jessie. Located just north of Kimberling City on the old Highway 13 swoop, Parmesan’s makes their bread, pizza crust, sauces, along with special House and Caesar salad dressings. Appetizers include homemade, fresh-baked garlic cheese bread, toasted ravioli and hot wings.
Menu items include Parmesan’s Deluxe Pizza, Parmesan’s Calzone, pastas and subs. An informal local survey was hard-pressed to rank only one pie as most unique as the selection ranges the Mediterranean to the Polynesian.
Dessert pizza flavors are blueberry, apple or chocolate chip, plus cinnamon sticks. Parmesan’s offers beers, on tap and bottled, and wine.
The family atmosphere is very “lake-like with a lake/mountain” view from the deck. Inside the two-level dining room, an area offers a game-watching big screen TV.
Parmesan’s is open seven days a week with frequent specials. Delivery extends from the Kimberling Bridge area, north to Reeds Spring High School.
Pick-up is available for unbaked pizzas that can be cooked at home.
Mr. Gilberti’s Place Authentic Chicago Style Pizza & More - Located in Acacia Club Road in Hollister’s lakeside community, Mister Gilberti’s Place is known by locals and tourists alike as a family favorite. With 64 years of making genuine Chicago style pizza, Wayne “Mr. Gilberti,” along with his wife Susan, have the restaurant made one of the most popular local spots for unique, Chicago Style pizza.
Beginning his career at a young age at his family’s pizzeria in northern Chicago, Mr. Gilberti grew to know the secrets of making authentic pizza. After moving to Branson nearly two decades ago, Wayne and Susan Gilberti decided the community of Branson and Hollister were in need of something original.
The menu features what they call “some of the best Italian food in the Ozarks,” from authentic Chicago Style Pizza to Eggplant Parmesan and Baked Mostaccioli. All their dishes are prepared fresh in their kitchen, and this family-owned restaurant is “proud to invite you to our table to enjoy our recipes that have been handed down through the generations.” According to their website, homemade items include marinara sauce, Italian sausage and fresh pizza dough.
Mr. Gilberti’s Specialty pizza features Italian sausage, pepperoni, Canadian bacon, black olives, mushrooms, marinated green peppers and red onions. Mama Gilberti’s Specialty features black olives, mushrooms, marinated green peppers, red onions, tomatoes, spinach and jalapeños on request.
Pizzas are available in Chicago pan or thin crust.
Mr. G’s Pizza & Pub - Located right around the corner from “Old Downtown Branson,” Mr. G’s Pizza & Pub has been a Branson favorite for more than 20 years.
After the business changed ownership several times over the years, first-time business owner Ryan Holmes, who said he grew up going to Mr. G’s, bought the business in 2015. Holmes opted to pay tribute to the classic Mr. G‘s taste he grew up on, so he decided on keeping the deep dish, Chicago-style pizza as the backbone. In fact, Holmes said he didn’t alter much of the menu, just condensed it.
“Pretty much what I’ve done here is kept the food and completely changed the atmosphere,” Holmes told the Branson Tri-Lakes News in 2015.
As far as the menu goes, Mr. G’s Pizza & Pub features several signature items, including Mr. G’s Crab Rolls, the “Tony Orlando Salad,” several subs and Italian dishes, as well as the pizza. In addition to having many “standard” pizza options, the restaurant also features “Mr. G’s Favorite,” which features pepperoni, Italian sausage, onions, mushroom, black olives and their sweet green peppers, topped with two kinds of cheese.
Mr. G’s Chicago Pizza & Pub is located at 202 1/2 N Commercial St. For more information, call 417-335-8156.
Mountain William Pizza - On May 31, 2019 Forsyth welcomed a new pizza restaurant to town.
Mountain William Pizza, conveniently located in the center of Forsyth at 15709 U.S. Highway 160, is owned and operated by the brother-sister team of Randy Ross, business manager, and Donna Looper, general manger.
Mountain William Pizza can be found in the former home of the Chinese Mexican Burrito in Forsyth, a building that has housed other restaurants, a grocery store and even a coin-operated laundry over the years.
At Mountain William Pizza, customers can create their own pizza or choose from a number of specialty pizzas, which vary from the classic Supreme Pizza, to the unique Death by Pepperoni Pizza, which features three different types of pepperoni.
In a June 2019 interview, Ross explained how the name “Mountain William Pizza” came from their father.
“My father was a bit of a jokester at times and played that he was from Missouri, so he must be a hillbilly. He would say ‘I was a hillbilly until I went to school and got educated, and then I found out that I’m not a Hill-Billy, I’m a Mountain William,’” said Ross. “So the name just always kind of stuck with me, and I thought, what a great name down here in the Ozarks. It would be perfect for a restaurant.”
Customers looking for something more than pizza, the restaurant also offers pasta, salads, chicken wings, toasted ravioli and more.
The menu also includes a special cauliflower and rice flour crust option for people looking for a gluten-free option and specialty dessert pizza’s.
Mountain William Pizza is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday’s, Wednesday’s and Thursday’s and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday’s and Saturday’s.
Visit their page on Facebook or call 417-546-2012.
Hook & Ladder Pizza Co. - Putting out fires is their specialty - unless the fire is cooking their hand-tossed pies, that is.
The Hook & Ladder Pizza Co. firehouse themed pizza restaurant, located at 26 Downing St. in Hollister, has been a Hollister go-to for hand-tossed, tasty pizza and fun, hands-on learning since 2012.
With an ownership change last February, Wes Hunt keeps Hook & Ladder Pizza Co. a Hollister favorite. Their hand-tossed pizza is created with made fresh each morning crusts and sauces, using only the highest-quality ingredients and their own special recipes. On top of being able to stop in for a quick slice, you can also bring the kids by to try on some authentic firefighter gear and learn about the job.
One of their most popular pizzas is their specialty Super pizza. According to their website it’s a combination of all the toppings a pizza should have: mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, beef, pork sausage, Italian sausage, green peppers, black olives, red onion and mushrooms.
Their menu includes daily specials, specialty pizzas like Buffalo Joe and 3 Alarm, calzones, sub sandwiches, pastas and salads.
At their firehouse-themed eatery, you’ll enjoy a “delicious, hand-tossed pizza” and learn a thing or two about the hook-and-ladder lifestyle.
Visit hookandladderpizza.com or their facebook page.
La Pizza Cellar - La Pizza Cellar has a been a staple in the Tri-Lakes area for decades near beautiful Lake Taneycomo.
In business since 1979, La Pizza Cellar offers Italian cuisine, sandwiches and, of course, pizza. They offer a Supreme Pizza, or customers can select from wide variety of toppings.
Among their sandwich offerings, locals will attest they have one the best Reubens money can buy!
As the name suggests, when customers arrive at the restaurant, they descend a set of stairs down into a cellar where diners can choose a smoking or non-smoking section. The restaurant also includes a full bar and a game room.
The eatery is at 3015 Missouri 176 in Rockaway Beach.
For information, call 417-561-4709.