Pizza’s one of those foods. I tend to like the cracker crust style pizza of Iriana’s, Main Street Pizza in El Dorado and U.S. Pizza Company. I have a friend who leans the other way, preferring a Chicago-thick crust and lots of heft, like you find at Damgoode Pies and Old Chicago. Another friend is definitely on the OW Pizza side.
Hot Springs has its own classic pizza joint, Rod’s Pizza Cellar. It’d been years since I’d been, I think maybe I wasn’t legal to drive yet. Or if I was, I wasn’t legal to drink. I know the place by reputation and have been sending folks there for some time. But even I know it’s foolhardy to expect consistency over a long period of time. I simply had to make the trip myself..
My dining companions and I dropped by on a Saturday, just after the buffet was closed. We had gone in expecting to order completely different pizzas -- this being my Chicago-crust loving friend -- but instead we decided to give the Lil Heifer a try. It just looked so… tasty. We also decided to split the difference and not decide on any specific appetizer, going for the Taste Teaser instead.
We did notice a few things that Rod’s gets right about the pizza. The sauce on there is different from the marinara served up with the sampler platter. The cheese is not your average Sysco blend too many of our local joints order up and use. We like both of those things. The crust, though… okay, it was good. It was filling and we took half of the pizza home with us. But it doesn’t seem to be your traditional yeast crust. It seems to be more like a biscuit type dough in action. I’m not saying that’s wrong. I’m saying it’s different, and it was delicious.
Of course, we didn’t get into the pasta or the salads or any of the other great things you find at Rod’s, because what we did get was pretty darn filling. But now when I recommend it to my Oaklawn-bound friends, I don’t have to just say “hey, it’s been around 35 years, that says a whole lot.” I can look them in the eye and say “you gotta try that all-beef smoked pepperoni, seriously.”
You’ll find Rod’s Pizza Cellar at 3350 Central Avenue, about half the distance between Oaklawn and the Bypass on the west side of the road. They’re open every day except Monday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. You can give them a call at (501) 321-2313 or check out their website.