Sometimes, when I am writing my blog posts, I try to think about what distinguishes our city’s food from that of any other small to mid-sized city. You can probably go just about anywhere in the country and, for example, get a great slice of pizza. What I think sets our city apart is the continual emergence of hidden gems that not only create delicious food but make you feel good just by eating there. Reyes Pizza falls squarely in this category.
I continually scour Urbanspoon, Facebook, and the Birmingham Business Journal for new restaurant openings. That’s how I found out about Reyes. The reviews were glowing. I usually avoid brand new restaurants because I have found that they are often trying to work out the kinks, but for a place that sells $7 specialty personal pizzas, I made an exception.
This place is in an unlikely location-at the back of a strip mall in Irondale.
You’ve probably seen this mall-it is the one with the giant gorilla out front, that boasts zipline tours of its parking lot. The outside of the restaurant blends in with the rest of the mall- it is very unassuming, and there is a small sign above the door.
The place is bare bones in terms of decor. The bare white walls, plastic tablecloths, and metal serving plates draw your attention to the focal points of the restaurant-the food and the people. When we entered a very nice young lady greeted us at the register. She told us proudly that they’ve been open for 2 months, and are often really busy-which was great to hear. The smell of pizza hung pleasantly in the air. They also sell subs, calzones, salads, and ice cream. Here’s the menu. As a side note, I love their logo:
We wanted to test the main event. So, I got an 8″ margherita pizza. We debated over Mr Foodie’s order, but our friend told us that her mom really likes the pesto pizza with ham and mushrooms, so that sealed the deal. We completed our order at the counter and sat down to wait for our food.
The place looks like a small family business-the woman’s ?brother makes the pizza, and her ?mother was working in the back. We watched them prepare our pizzas, which according to the signs, are made with homemade crust and sauce.
Our friend brought the food to our table. The pizzas tasted like they were made from incredibly fresh ingredients. They were light, not greasy in the least. The crust was outstanding-very different from other local options. It was like a cross between a thin crust and deep dish pizza crust. Light and flaky, a little bit soft and chewy, but still thin. A great departure from the usual fare.
The margherita pizza had perfectly ripe tomatoes and just enough olive oil:
The ham gave the pesto pizza a little but of a spicy kick-really fantastic:
Toward the end of our meal, the mom came out to check on the register. We got to tell her and the rest of her family how much we had enjoyed our meal-they looked genuinely pleased and proud. That experience-eating high quality, inexpensive food cooked for you by good people, who are proud of what they do-is one of the things I love most about this town.
This place is only 5 minutes from our house, so I promise to report back soon… Next time I’m planning to try a calzone, or maybe a pizza with their homemade red sauce!