Being the Mystery Diner, a restaurant that is locally owned and trying hard always gets my attention, much like Rocky’s Pizza did last week.
My dining partner and I had stopped in on the way back from a shopping trip into Jonesborough. A morning of testing fencepost drivers at the Co-op and loading sacks of on-sale mulch at Lowe’s had awakened a powerful need for sustenance from all four of my favorite food groups, those being pizza dough, cheese, toppings and tomato sauce.
Located across from Jonesborough Middle School, Rocky’s has been a friendly stopping place on Highway 11E for quite a while. The restaurant’s dining area has seating for just 16 patrons, the walls feature a lot of Jonesborough-area school athletics memorabilia and there is an old-timey video arcade game just inside the door.
The very capable Ms. Taylor was taking orders from customers as we walked in, and handed us a menu to help us decide what we wanted. Though Rocky’s does a very good meatball spaghetti ($8) and has a line of “jumbo” sandwiches that do justice to that adjective, our need for pizza shortened the list considerably.
My dining partner likes sausage on her pizza, but no green peppers. I like mine with pepperoni and as much of the garden as can be easily perched on thin-crust dough topped with red sauce. We decided to get a 14-inch Rocky’s Special ($13.50) and a garden salad ($4.59) to help ease my veggie craving.
While waiting, my dining partner commented on the steady stream of take-away orders that Taylor was handling at the front counter.
“Looks like business is good,” I remarked to Taylor.
“Not as busy as we were yesterday,” she replied. “We had one of those motorcycle touring groups stop in. They filled up the parking lot.”
“I’ll just bet,” was my reply.
“They tipped real well, too.” Taylor quipped, “Oh, and here’s your order, all ready to go,” as she handed me our pizza and salad.
Doing my best imitation of an Italian waiter, pizza platter perched on fingertips and salad plate tucked against bicep, I scooted back to our table. While we waited for the pizza to cool, my dining partner prepped our salad with dressing and we both started in.
Though using a commissary-prepared salad mixture of iceberg lettuce, julienned carrot and purple cabbage, Rocky’s garden salad included fresh-sliced onion and green pepper along with diced red tomato and a tasty ranch dressing, making it a perfect accompaniment to our pizza.
The crust on our Rocky’s Special was properly thin, and slathered with a slightly sweet tomato sauce. Toppings included chopped Texas white onion, fresh mushrooms, a savory Italian sausage and pepperoni sliced extra thin, just the way we like it. The whole of it was covered with melted mozzarella cheese that showed some properly baked-in scorch marks, indicating that Rocky’s knew exactly how long to leave our pizza in the oven. Some tentative still-hot bites were cooled with a swallow of MeMe Jean’s iced tea.
The pizza’s crunchy cracker crust means you can leave knife and fork on the table and handle each piece without it folding up and dumping a load of toppings in your lap. I enjoyed the mix of flavors provided by the onion, pepperoni and mushroom, while my partner favored the pungency of the Italian sausage with the red sauce’s tang and the nutty flavor of the mozzarella cheese.
As we were finishing up, Taylor delivered a half-order ($4) of Rocky’s meatball spaghetti to another table. This is two cups of cooked thin spaghetti noodles topped with the house spicy red meat sauce, a baseball-sized meatball perched on top. Rocky’s makes their meatballs to order, and from their own recipe. Rocky’s sees to it that the portions are generous, so a half-order of this dish is more than enough for a typical lunch, no matter how hungry you are.
With our pizza and salad, my dining partner and I had enough for a take-away box of our own, along with a gallon of Meme Jean’s tea ($5.50). Rocky’s Pizza is a locally run business, is easy to get to, serves quality food at competitive prices, and has a capable staff that give friendly service to their customers. Not only is a trip to Rocky’s Pizza worth the drive; it is “Worth the Dough” as well, as their menu proudly states.
1003 E. Jackson Blvd
Mon. - Thurs., 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m.
Fri. - Sat., 11 a.m.-11:30 p.m.
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