This week, Monica and I ventured to Bob's Brick Oven in Rock Spring, Georgia (about a 25-minute drive from downtown). Located at 8009 U.S. Highway 27 North, Bob's humble establishment is located next to a gas station, and if you blink you'll miss it. We did. Several times.
Pizza is subjective—many people prefer different crusts, styles, toppings—but I'm about to make a blanket statement here based on my own preferences after dining here: Bob's Brick Oven's fired pizzas are among the best pizzas I've had in the region. Don't tell me I'm wrong until you've tried it. Read on.
Monica's aunt had been telling her to take "that boyfriend" to Bob's Brick Oven. When another of Monica's co-workers suggested a visit—and to "definitely get the ice cream"—we were obligated to make the trip. Readers of Date Night Dining columns often comment about "better places" when I write about pizza. Bob's was specifically mentioned in the comments section of my 2016 article about Fiamma Pizza Co. I'm so glad we made the trip on Tuesday night.
Bob's is attached to a convenience store. The exterior is simple and offers plenty of outside seating (reminiscent of the porch behind Mojo Burrito's Red Bank location). Two items immediately catch the eye when entering Bob's restaurant. The first is the enormous wood-fired brick oven. The second is a large shelf to the left with lettuce, basil and other greenery underneath heat lights. Several tables are scattered, making up a small dining area; a counter separates the back of the house from the front. The open concept design allows guests to observe the entire pizza creation process.
A team of four employees (no Bob, unfortunately) was working on what was a slow evening. Matt, our pizza guide for the evening, was one of the most passionate and friendly people I've met in weeks. He was obviously knowledgeable about pizza (this week's "chili pie" pizza is his creation) and struggled to make recommendations because "everything is so good." Pizzas are served as 14-inch large pies or 8-inch individual pizzas. Prices range from $12–$16 per large pie, but we opted—at Matt's encouragement—to try several smaller pies at the $8 price tag. Similar restaurants should take note of this model.
Matt and the staff kept checking on us throughout the night. The vibe at Bob's reminded me of a combination of the quirkiness of Lupi's Pizza Pies with the quality of my favorite pizza restaurant, Nashville's DeSano Pizza Bakery. It's really the best of both worlds.
Monica and I ordered three $8 pizzas to sample. We went with a traditional pepperoni pie, an award-winning creation called "primero pesto" and, finally, the chili pie pizza of the week. Each week, a new specialty pie is available. You never know what you might get. As is expected with wood-fired ovens, our pizzas were assembled and at the table in less than 10 minutes.
We tried the primero pesto first. The pie features whole milk mozzarella, housemade pesto (using the basil on the shelf), rough-chopped smoked bacon, red onion and bell pepper. Monica said this was her favorite of the night. She described it as "flavorful, but not overwhelmingly heavy, which made it easy to almost eat the whole thing." Matt suggested we dip this pie in some marinara sauce—that it "does something with the palate"—and he was correct. Matt is a genius.
The pepperoni pizza was simple but elevated, thanks to the quality ingredients. I also appreciate how the pepperoni was buried underneath the cheese. Frequently, pepperoni pizza can become greasy and unpleasant, but Bob's version had zero indication of greasiness. Monica wondered if they might be practicing some sort of voodoo, although I saw no outward evidence inside (dolls, chicken bones, etc.).
My favorite of the night was the chili pie pizza, which contained homemade beef chili, tomatoes, onions and homemade crème fraîche. I've never had chili on pizza—never imagined it would work—but Matt is a pizza genius, and the salty chili worked perfectly. He also brought me a side of jalapeños to toss on top. The pie was savory, but not heavy like a bowl of chili can be. This is most definitely a seasonal pie, and I hope I get to eat it again someday.
I cannot stress enough how good this pizza is. These pies are as good, if not better, than Community Pie's. And I work in essentially the same building as Community Pie. I'm not kidding around, and those who have been to Bob's would most likely agree. Make the drive. Adventure is what date nights are all about.
The ice cream
Pizza and ice cream? Mr. T's in St. Elmo has been offering the combination for years—although that comparison isn't even worth mentioning because Bob's is far superior in every possible way. On any given day, Bob's offers three or four homemade ice cream varieties. Matt encouraged me to try the lemon ginger cookie flavor, and Monica had cookies and cream. The latter had almost an entire Oreo in a one-and-a-half-scoop serving. My ice cream contained lemon ginger cookie bits and was light and delicious. The ice cream is as much of a draw to Bob's as the pizza.
Would we go back?
I will travel outside of my bubble for few things. Pizza is one of those things (in addition to live music). Monica and I already have plans to take her father (a pizza fiend) to Bob's Saturday. Nooga.com writer Joshua Pickard lives in Lafayette and visits often. Rock Spring residents are lucky to have Bob's in their backyard. I hope we can convince Bob to venture into Chattanooga soon. Pizza and beer, anybody? Yes. The answer is yes.
The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.