Selling 1,000 pizzas in its first week of business, a new restaurant in Forsyth is taking the area by storm.
On May 31, Mountain William Pizza opened its doors for the first time and quickly discovered that Forsyth and eastern Taney County really loves its pizza.
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.
“I did 25 years in the Air Force and then for 10 years I worked for the Oregon Department of Corrections as a business manager,” said Ross. “Then I retired from that and then moved down here for retirement.
“Donna’s been living down here for two or three years. She’s got 30-plus years in culinary arts, food services and she’s always had the desire to have her own business. Really, I’ve always thought about having my own business, too. We thought, I’ve got the business expertise and she’s got the cooking expertise, so let’s put the two together.”
Around a year and a half ago the siblings began their search for a home for their restaurant, when they found what they were looking for in Forsyth.
“We really like the town of Forsyth. It’s very similar to a town we grew up in, in size ... good businesses and homegrown people in the area. It looks like it could be a success for us.”
When it came time to choose a name for the restaurant, Ross said the name “Mountain William” was a name that 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.”
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. Looper said she will soon be adding a new specialty to the menu, called the Roadkill Pizza.
“It’s basically pepperoni, Canadian bacon, pork, hamburger, Italian sausage, onions, bacon and BBQ sauce as the base. So it’s going to be a BBQ meat pizza. I just call it the Roadkill Pizza,” said Looper. “We have others. We have our regular meat lovers pizza that we’ve named The Panther after the Forsyth High School Mascot.”
Customers looking for something more than pizza, the restaurant also offers pasta, salads, chicken wings, toasted ravioli and more.
Looper said they’ve also added a special crust to the menu for people looking for a gluten-free option.
“We also carry gluten-free crust for our people that have celiac disease or on the keto diet. So we carry a seasoned cauliflower crust, which is basically cauliflower and rice flour,” said Looper. “It’s 10 inches.
“That’s the only size we carry it in.”
All the other pizzas will be offered in three sizes: 10, 12 and 16 inches. The menu also features three dessert pizzas: Bavarian cream, cherry and chocolate chip.
Since they opened last month, Ross said, the community response has been great.
“They are loving the food and they’re loving that they have a place they can come sit down to eat pizza. A lot of pizza in the area is to go,” Ross said. “They like it, and it’s a family atmosphere. We don’t serve alcohol here. That was one of our business decisions early on is that we wanted to keep it very family-oriented. We’ve had people come in every single day.”
From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. this summer, customers can come in and order pizza by the slice for $2.49 or get a meal deal of two pizza slices and a 24 ounce drink for $5.99. While they are not offering delivery at this time, customers are able to order pizza to go.
Mountain William Pizza is open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. They are at 15709 U.S. 160 in Forsyth.