In this episode of Taste of the Town Tim Dutton visits with Randy Ahart, owner of Ahart's Pizza Garden on Old Fort Parkway (behind O'Charley's) in Murfreesboro. They discuss Ahart's unique style of pizza and cheese bread, as well as the pizzeria's fantastic chicken wings and the pub garden style patio for dining outside on those warm spring and summer evenings.

This week's Taste of the Town Special? Buy any Ahart's pizza and get your second one of equal or lesser value for half price just for mentioning Taste of the Town!

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Transcript

TIM:  Tim Dutton here with another edition of Taste of the Town.  Today, I’m on the patio of Ahart’s Pizza Garden, and I’m sitting here with the owner, Randy Ahart.  Randy, we want to thank you for having us.

RANDY:  You’re welcome, Tim.  Glad to have you.

TIM:  Now Randy, I guess to start this thing out, help me explain to folks where you guys are located. 

RANDY:  Well, we’re a little bit hidden back here, Tim.  But we’re near Sam’s, next to O’Charley’s, and across the street from Kroger, behind the bank and the Oil Express place there.  We’re in an L-shaped strip center, right in the middle.

TIM:  On Old Fort Parkway, kind of behind Sam’s.

RANDY:  Right.

TIM:  Right behind O’Charley’s.

RANDY:  Right next to it.  And over here in a little L-shaped strip center.

TIM:  Now Randy, you can always get your pizza, cheese sticks, or cheese bread.  Tell me a little bit about what you guys do that’s different than the other places that are in business.

RANDY:  Well, most people, unless you come from New York or Chicago or some place that’s famous for real mom and pop pizzerias, have never really had a mom and pop pizzeria—pizza made fresh and from scratch.  First of all, we make our own dough right from scratch here.  We cook our own sauce.  We shred up all of our own cheeses and vegetables.  Everything comes in fresh.  No preservatives and things like that.  It doesn’t come in frozen or in a can.  And it’s all done right here.  And if you know what you’re doing when you use those type of ingredients, you come out with a great product.

TIM:  Randy, tell me what we’ve got right here.  This is a cheese bread, but tell me a little bit about what you guys do to make it so good.

RANDY:  Well, that is our pesto cheese bread.  We have three or four different kinds of cheese bread here, but the homemade pesto is one of my favorites and it’s a great appetizer.  Most people have had pesto at some time or another.  But there again, you have to know how to make it.  And it’s made with fresh virgin olive oil and fresh basil and things like that and various spices.  Ours is a walnut pesto, as opposed to some people use pine nuts.

But it’s very, very delicious.  It’s got the fresh garlic taste to it.  And then we top it with our pizza cheese, our mozzarella/provolone cheese, run it through the oven and cut it into the fingers there and that’s our marinara that we use on our pizzas right there in the sauce bowl you’re using with them.

TIM:  And it’s not canned marinara.  It’s marinara made from fresh tomatoes.

RANDY:  It’s cooked right here.

TIM:  And I’m going to tell you, man, that’s a perfect combination of flavors.

RANDY:  Thank you.

TIM:  We’re going to go on to the pizza, and tell me which pizza we decided to put out here, Randy?

RANDY:  We’ve got a number of signature pizzas here, 21 or something like that now I believe.  And that is the Chopatoulis, and it’s kind of a Cajun-style pizza.  It’s number 6 on our menu, and it’s made with andouille sausage.  And it’s got Cajun spicy shrimp on top, along with red onions, green peppers, roasted red peppers, and fresh garlic.  And of course topped with our blend of mozzarella/ provolone cheese on our famous thin-crust pizza.  How do you like it?

TIM:  Guys, you need to try this right here.  Randy, none of this has come in frozen?

RANDY:  Absolutely not.

TIM:  And I heard you say you cut the shrimp up before you put it on the pizza?

RANDY:  Absolutely.  Yeah.  We put the Cajun spice, which is our blend of spices that we put together right on the shrimp and blanch it off in the oven.  You know, chop it up a little bit so you can get more than just one bite of shrimp on your pizza there.  And that’s one of my favorites as well.

TIM:  It is good.  Now one of the things that some folks don’t know that you guys do here at Ahart’s is the hot wings.

RANDY:  Yeah.  Our wings are actually pretty well known among our regulars, the people who come here and eat.  Probably 90% or better of them eat here every week.  And those that know about them really like them a lot.  But people hearing about us for the first time might not know that we do things like that.  And those are our hot wings.  And we cook them right here.  They come in raw; we cook them; and then we deep fry them when they’re ordered and put whatever sauce you’d like.  That’s the regular hot, but we have mild, and we also have Ahart’s Afire, and you can do them barbecue.

TIM:  And once again, this is your own sauce?

RANDY:  Yeah, that’s our sauces there.  A little messy though, huh?

TIM:  Hey, Randy, you know what you’re doing here.  This is great.  They may be the best wings I’ve ever put in my mouth.  And I’ll tell you something else.  The patio here, you guys are handy as far as your location, but you’ve got a patio out here to sit and enjoy whether it’s beer or tea, your pizza, or whatever.

RANDY:  You bet.  It’s kind of hidden back here, the patio.  People don’t know that we have a patio when they walk in our front door.  But because we’re in an L-shape center and the back opens up, it’s kind of like a big pizza slice area back here that’s open and kind of secluded and you don’t have a lot of cars or noise back here.  It’s pretty nice.

TIM:  It is.  Randy, do you have a special for the people who say they saw you guys on Taste of the Town?

RANDY:  You buy one pizza, say a large pizza, and you get your second pizza for half price.  So if you get a signature pizza like the one you’re getting there, you can get a second signature pizza for half price or if you want one that’s a little bit different as long as it’s equal value or less.

TIM:  The same value.  If you come in and say you saw it on Taste of the Town, your first pizza is full price; your second one is half prices as long as it’s the same value or less.  Well, let’s wrap it up for this edition of Taste of the Town.  And remember, if you’re thinking real estate, think Tim Dutton.