I’m always looking for a good pizza. In my opinion, pizza’s like all good foods are hard to rate on taste alone…there are things like crust types, cheese types, even toppings and how the pizza is cooked. So it’s hard to say that a particular pizza is THE BEST I have ever eaten because of these variables.
The first US Pizza Co experience I ever had was actually about 22 years ago. Yes, I said 22 years ago when I became the Laboratory Manager at Newport Hospital in 1995. Even at that far back I thought it was one of the best pizza’s I had ever eaten. In fact, I find it hard to believe I have not ever reviewed it or wrote about it before…so here I am now giving a 22 year UPDATE on my US Pizza experience recently (today actually).
Let me say right off the bat, I am a huge Shotgun Dan’s Pizza fan. They have wonderful pizza’s at their Sherwood location, but it is a much different pizza type than the US Pizza in Newport. Shotgun Dan’s is heavier pizza (MUCH HEAVIER). They have lots of cheese, and a thicker crust than a thin pizza, but still not a THICK CRUST. Anyway, I wanted to make that distinction before I dove into my experience at US Pizza Co.
OK…so this place US Pizza Co in Newport is part of a group of US Pizza’s around Central Arkansas…I think there are 2 more in Little Rock and one in Conway (I have eaten at all of them – more on that later), and then this one in Newport. It is owned by Jack Austin, and while they are all related “somehow”, but also managed and apparently independent of one another, while still they share the name…in other words, I don’t have a clue about the business part of this establishment.
The building is a nondescript older building with a large old US PIZZA Co sign out front. It has plenty of seating with both booths and tables. The atmosphere is nothing special, basically just a mom and pop type old style restaurant. Most of the staff have been there for quite awhile…maybe that says something about the owners and how they treat their help. The cook I spoke today had been there for over 10 years and one of the waitresses had been there over 25 years if that tells you anything.
I was accompanied by my wife and my brother. We sat at a table (more room for our pizza’s) and within less than a minute (during a fairly busy time) our waitress came over and took our drink orders. My wife and brother ordered sweet tea, but I have always liked a nice cold beer with my pizza. She returned within just a couple of minutes with our drinks, and my Bud Light was a can (no pitchers of beer), but the beer was COLD and the MUG was definitely frosted so when I poured my beer, it resulted in just a little bit of “beer sludge” in the top of the beer (NOTE: beer sludge is a GOOOOD thang).
My wife ordered a small veggie pizza, my brother ordered a small pepperoni pizza with jalapeno’s, and I have always ordered the same thing every time…a large pepperoni pizza with jalapeno’s. (Remember, although I had about a10 year hiatus from these pizza’s, I had eaten at US pizza plenty of times, so I knew how good their pepperoni pizza’s were).
After about a 20 minute wait, the waitress brought our pizza’s out to us…piping HOT!!! The smell was incredible, you could actually smell the meshing of flavors of the pepperoni and jalapeno’s.
My wife said her veggie pizza was perfect. Great crust and just the right amount of vegetables on the pizza. My brother and I dug in on our pizza’s foregoing the plates and eating right off the serving platter. The first bite is like a drug fix.
The pepperoni they serve has more flavor than ANY pepperoni for ANY pizza I have ever eaten. It is unbeatable and has NEVER let me down in all the years I have eaten their pizza’s at US Pizza. The crust was perfect, thin and crunchy without being burnt and the pepperoni’s had just the right amount of “pepperoni grease” sitting on the pizza (LOTS of flavor in this grease…it’s vital to a good pizza).
All jalapeno’s are alike right. NOPE. NOT SO. The jalapeno’s here are different in two ways from any other jalapeno I have eaten at any other place. They have a better taste, but more than that…they are HOT. I have asked friends blindly if they had eaten a pizza there with jalapeno’s and without fail, they all said, YES, they were great and they were HOT!!! So if you add great jalapeno’s with great pepperoni’s and then serve it hot….well, let’s just say that is a marriage made in heaven. By FAR, US Pizza is absolutely the BEST PEPPERONI pizza I have ever eaten. BEST EVER. PERIOD.
Just some random notes: The price of the meal is reasonable (great if you like a quality tasting pizza), and inline with other pizza establishments. The beer is cold, but they do not offer pitchers of beer, only draft, bottles and cans…but their mugs are cold, very cold. They are also well known for their salads, but it’s a pizza place for me. And finally one additional, but important thing about the Newport US Pizza vs any of the others…they are NOT the same. At best, the US Pizza Co stores in Little Rock and Conway buy their food, ingredients and ESPECIALLY their PEPPERONI from a vendor DIFFERENT than the Newport US Pizza Co store…and there is a HUGE difference. Don’t waste your time by going to Little Rock or Conway thinking that my recommendation is for them, it is not. Take the quick drive north on Highway 67 and do yourself a favor and order one of these truly tasty pizzas (and grab a beer too).