With spring now fully underway, and “Redbud Winter’s” whoopee cushion exhale of cold weather now just a memory, my dining partner and I have been working on making the green outdoors grow even greener.

Naturally, this involves trips to the garden center for mulch and sand by the skid-full, followed by a jaunt to the county Co-op in Jonesborough for some new fence posts to replace the winter-worn ones on the South Meadow’s perimeter. All this lugging and toting is hard on a body, especially one whose exposure to the outdoors has been through a plate glass window for the last nine months. Fortunately, exercise is not only good for you, it makes you hungry, and the best way to handle your hunger can be found over at Rocky’s Pizza in Jonesborough.

First impressions

Rocky’s Pizza is a well-known fixture in “Tennessee’s Oldest Town,” located in the rear-most storefront just across U.S. Highway 11E from Jonesborough Middle School. The inside walls are festooned with Rocky’s support for city and county school athletics. Though the restaurant has seating for 20 patrons, at present Rocky’s is only doing curbside carry-out and home delivery. If you decide to stop in for your carry-out, you won’t have a long wait. We didn’t.

Sausage and Mushroom Pizza

When ordering pizza from Rocky’s, my dining partner always gets first choice. Invariably, her choice is their sausage and mushroom pizza, 12 inches in width and costing $13. Rocky’s makes their own pizza dough, (what first-rate pizza purveyor does not?) and their own tomato-based red sauce, or ragu, making Rocky’s ragu thicker than most commercial creations. Since Rocky’s doesn’t over-spice, the fresh tomato is able to become part of the pizza’s overall taste bouquet. It also enhances what can only be described as proper “mouth-feel,” the way the pizza’s texture is sensed by all the nerve endings found in your mouth. More mouth-feel enhances your enjoyment of what you are eating. Rocky’s sausage and mushroom pizza does that quite well for my dining partner; they even cut the pizza into thinner, yet easier-to-handle strips rather than the usual pie slices. My partner also believes consumption of pizza portioned into strips also takes longer to consume which creates, happily, leftovers — “for later.” This makes my dining partner even happier.

Ham and Cheese Sub Sandwich

Not as hungry as my dining partner, I chose one of Rocky’s half-size submarine sandwiches containing layers of deli-sliced ham and Swiss cheese, together with lettuce and mayonnaise (lightly does it, and no tomato, please) plus a nice-sized dill pickle spear, all for just $4, too. Even with my dining partner’s obligatory tasting bite I was very pleased with my sandwich’s flavor. I could taste the spices in the ham underlying its slight saltiness, and the nutty, somewhat rancid taste of well-made Swiss cheese. I could even taste the subtle nuance provided by the lettuce without the usual mayonnaise overtone. If I’d ordered a whole sub sandwich, I’d miss the way the smaller size causes me to pace my eating, to enjoy every bite.

The bottom line

Whatever item you order from the menu at Rocky’s Pizza, you can be sure that it will be made from the highest quality ingredients, blended and prepared with consummate skill and extra care. Considering that one of the biggest national pizza purveyors is just a block away from their front door, it makes one proud to know that, despite that proximity, this particular home town pizza parlor has lost none of its pizzazz, popularity or product loyalty.

Good job, Rocky’s. We will be back to see you. As always.