ALABAMA EATS: What if I told you the ‘best pizza in the world’ was right here in Alabama?
AJ and the Alabama Eats crew are in Mountain Brook, Ala. today at Davenport’s Pizza Palace, which has been cooking up some of the country’s best pizza for an entire half-century.
The restaurant was founded in 1964 by the late Rex Hollis. It was named after Jim “Peanut” Davenport, a childhood friend of Mr. Hollis’s who had gone on to become a pro baseball place with the San Francisco Giants.
Hollis thought if he named his restaurant after someone famous, locals might be more inclined to give it a shot. And that’s all this pizza needed — a shot. Because once people tried it, they were hooked.
Today, the tradition lives on.
“Dough from scratch daily, sauce daily from scratch, all the sausage balls are made by hand… We spice it up ourselves,” said Davenport’s general manager Nick Nicholson.
Davenport’s is celebrating its 50th year in business in 2014, and there’s no way to have that kind of longevity without cranking out some pretty incredible pizza.
“I honestly think it’s the best pizza in the world and we’re not even from here,” a Texan who’d stopped into Davenport’s told AJ. “We make it a point to do business in Birmingham, Alabama so that we can come to Davenport’s and that is no joke.”
Classic arcade games like Pac Man, Donkey Kong and the Star Wars Trilogy line the walls of the game room, which has become a family favorite.
“It’s very popular with the local football teams, baseball teams, soccer leagues,” Nicholson said.
“Pizza extraordinaire,” Blake, even welcomed AJ into the kitchen to get a look at what it takes to make Davenport’s famous “Jim” pizza.
“People are fanatics about it,” Blake said proudly.
“If you’re looking for a freshly made pizza with fresh ingredients, come out to Davenport’s Pizza Palace,” AJ concluded. “I’m telling you.”
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