The Pizza Kitchen
By Rachael Mason
Owner: Eve and Steve Henry and Joe and Jan Pennington (Eve’s parents).
Open since: Dec. 26, 2002.
Hours: Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 9 p.m.
Location: The Pizza Kitchen is located just off Interstate 985 on the route to Lake Lanier. The restaurant is in the Friendship Village shopping center behind an auto parts store.
Capacity: The restaurant seats 75.
Atmosphere: The Pizza Kitchen is very casual. Paintings of street scenes and still lifes add an Italian feel to the restaurant, which is sparsely decorated.
The restaurant’s tables can be pushed together to seat large parties.
Crowd: “We have tons and tons of lake traffic,” Eve Henry said. On the weekends, Friendship Road is packed with cars pulling boats on the way to Lake Lanier.
During the week, employees form local businesses come in for lunch.
The restaurant also attracts a lot of local sports teams. Last weekend, they hosted three Little League team end-of-season parties. Two more are scheduled for this weekend.
The food: “Of course, our pizza is huge,” Henry said. The pizza dough is made in the restaurant. The Pizza Kitchen also offers whole wheat dough when available.
Pizza is available by the slice and in 14-inch and 16-inch sizes.
Pepperoni, sausage and mushrooms are well-liked toppings. The mushrooms are fresh, not canned, Henry said. Customers also like the freshness of the vegetable toppings, she said. Other toppings include beef, bacon, meatballs, chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, green peppers, green or black olives, feta cheese, pineapple, fresh garlic, broccoli and artichokes.
The menu includes calzones, made with pizza dough, ricotta cheese and toppings, and stromboli, pizza dough stuffed with mozzarella and toppings. “We sell a lot of calzones,” Henry said.
The restaurant’s sandwiches are popular as well. “The Reuben seems to be one of our biggest sellers,” Henry said.
The Reuben is made with corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing and served on rye bread. All sandwiches come with fries and a pickle.
The most popular menu item is the garlic cheese sticks. “They are the best thing we have,” Henry said. This appetizer is pizza dough covered with cheese and cut into thin slices.
Beverages: The Pizza Kitchen serves Coke products, lemonade, coffee, tea and beer. Adult teams often come in after their games to drink beer and watch the Braves.
Desserts: Sweets at The Pizza Kitchen include cheesecake by the slice, a brownie with ice cream or two scoops of ice cream.
Things you might not know: Eve Henry is one of The Pizza Kitchen’s best customers. During her recent pregnancy, she ate spaghetti and garlic cheese sticks for lunch and dinner almost every day. Regulars joked that the baby would come out with noodles for hair, but so far 3-month-old Skye’s hair is normal. Skye’s older brother Austin is 8.
The television at The Pizza Kitchen is usually tuned to TBS. At 12:30 p.m., “Saved by the Bell” comes on. Recently, a big group of construction workers came in for lunch. Henry thought they would prefer to watch ESPN, but they asked her to turn the set back to “Saved By the Bell.”