Taste of the Town - Sal's Pizza - Murfreesboro
This week Tim Dutton takes Taste of the Town to Sal's Pizza, located on Church St. in Murfreesboro. This new pizzeria does new york style and sicilian pizza better than anyone around. Originally "Picnic Pizza" in the Hickory Hollow Mall, the Sal's franchise was the first to sell pizza by the slice in Tennessee. Sal's Pizza is one of Murfreesboro's best kept secrets and as you'll see in this episode of Taste of the Town, Sal's daughter Rosa takes great pride in keeping the family business alive and as her father intended, simple, tasty and true to their Brooklyn and Sicilian roots.
This week's Taste of the Town Special? 10% off your total bill at Sal's Pizza in Murfreesboro just for mentioning Taste of the Town!
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TIM: Tim Dutton here with another edition of Taste of the Town. And folks, today, we’re at Sal’s Pizza, which is located on Church Street, and I’m sitting here with Rosa who is Sal’s daughter. Now Rosa, tell the truth. Your dad’s name isn’t Sal is it?
ROSA: Yes, sir. It is.
TIM: That just sounds so Italian, New Yorkish. Tell me about the background of your family and the pizza business.
ROSA: Okay, first of all, his name is Sal. It’s Salvatore, and both of my parents were born in Sicily, Italy. And I was born in Brooklyn New York. My parents came down here in 1976 and started pizzerias, the first pizza by the slice. And we have been doing so since then.
TIM: So we are talking about authentic Sicilian…?
ROSA: Yes, sir. Everything is made from scratch from the dough to our sauces to our cheese we shred ourselves. Everything is prepared fresh daily. There’s no preservatives, no artificial flavorings. Everything’s made by Italians. They’re both from Sicily.
TIM: By authentic Italians.
ROSA: Yes, sir. Yes, sir.
TIM: This is not just a name on a menu?
ROSA: No, sir. My father’s name is Salvatore, and we are Italian like I said, and we’ve been serving pizza to the people of Nashville since 1976. It started in Hickory Hollow Mall.
TIM: And you guys, y’all do a buffet here.
ROSA: Yes, sir. Seven days a week from 11 to 2.
TIM: And it’s all you can eat.
ROSA: For $6.99.
TIM: You’ve got spaghetti. I saw some pasta.
ROSA: Yes, sir. We have three or four different types of pasta. Every day it changes. Same with three or four different kinds of pizza. Fresh garlic bread. Then we also make a pasta salad and then a house salad, cucumber tomato salad. And then we also have several desserts. And it is all you can eat, seven days a week from 11 to 2.
TIM: Now what hours are you guys open because you do other things other than the buffet?
ROSA: Of course, we have a full dine-in and takeout menu with all different kinds of pasta dishes, almost every type of pasta dish imaginable, along with a very full menu of different variations of pizza. And we’re open from 10 to 10 during the week and 10 till later on the weekends. We are a mom and pop restaurant, so depending on business, we stay open later if needed.
TIM: If need be?
ROSA: Yes, sir.
TIM: Now Rosa, we took three different samples of what you guys put out on the buffet.
ROSA: Yes, sir.
TIM: And you’re going to have to help me a little bit.
TIM: And I’ve been eating regular pizza all my life—
ROSA: All your life.
TIM: —and love it. But it’s just been regular pizza. I think the first time I came here was a couple of weeks ago and I said we have got to do a show on this restaurant.
ROSA: Well, thank you, sir.
TIM: Tell me a little bit about what we have here.
ROSA: Okay, that’s our double crust, which is two layers of hand-tossed dough. And in the center, we load it with Italian meats, which would be like our Genoa salami, ham, Italian sausage, pepperoni, and beef, and it’s got two layers of cheese. And then of course it’s baked in the oven, and it’s called the Sal’s Double Crust.
TIM: Sal’s Double Crust, eh?
ROSA: Yep, because it’s got two crusts and the meat inside and then there’s also cheese and sauce inside and then cheese on the top.
TIM: And the person overseeing my diet wouldn’t have a problem at all with me eating this, would they?
ROSA: It’s delicious.
TIM: This is right up my alley. Guys, if you’ve never eaten true Italian pizza, you have got to come here and try this out. That is magnificent. I don’t know the words to describe what you and Sal have put….
ROSA: Thank you, sir. Everything is fresh. Everything was made today, and like I said, we’re blessed because my father is getting older and we’ve brought Alex in as my father’s partner and he’s done a stupendous job in upholding his reputation and quality of food.
TIM: That’s as good as it gets.
ROSA: We’ve been very fortunate and blessed. The people of Nashville as well. Thank you so much.
TIM: Because that’s kind of where you guys got started in Nashville was it?
ROSA: Well, my father started originally in Brooklyn, New York, but Nashville has really brought us to another step of success.
TIM: Right. And you’ve been in Murfreesboro for how long?
ROSA: About a year now, sir.
TIM: About a year?
ROSA: But 30-something years, since 1976 in Nashville.
TIM: Yeah. Now tell me about this one.
ROSA: This is the typical, hand-tossed, New York-style pizza, which is just straight up New York style, a nice big slice of New York pizza.
TIM: Thin crust. Now how do New Yorkers eat this? Do they fold it over?
ROSA: We fold it in half, sir. Just like that.
TIM: Like this right here?
ROSA: Uh-huh, and it should stand straight up and you should be able to eat it perfectly like that when you know it’s a good slice of pizza. Just like that.
TIM: And it is a good slice of pizza.
ROSA: Thank you, sir.
TIM: The taste is…
ROSA: Well, because our pizza sauce is homemade. It’s out own special blend of cheeses. No fillers. My father uses only real mozzarella. It’s all real products. You’re getting the real deal.
TIM: And you know what? It tastes that way. No need for me to go to New York or Italy?
ROSA: No, sir. No, sir.
TIM: Either one. I’ve got it right here in Murfreesboro.
ROSA: You’ve got it right here.
TIM: Finally, what do we have right here, Rosa?
ROSA: This is our typical stromboli, and you can get it in any way you’d like with any toppings. This one was made with pepperoni and cheese, and of course, we sprinkle it with parmesan, oregano, and dress it with a little bit of our garlic olive oil. And we also make calzones, but the stromboli is very popular.
TIM: Now do people just pick it up and make a mess out of themselves with it?
ROSA: Yes, sir. And a lot of people like to dunk it in some marinara sauce. But it’s loaded with cheeses. You’re making me laugh.
TIM: Oh, my goodness. I could not work here. I’ve got issues anyway.
ROSA: No, it’s really healthy for you. Hey, pizza’s got all four food groups all in one slice.
TIM: I love it. You know what? It may not be how long you live; it’s how you live.
ROSA: It’s how you live. Exactly. Hey, and Italians, we eat good; we live good; and we work hard.
TIM: This is terrific. Hey, one of the things that I wanted to mention. Sal’s is located on Church Street and it’s kind of across from the Waffle House as you’re getting ready to go over the interstate on the left. It’s in the old Burger King building on the left-hand side before you get to I-24. Rosa, do you have a special for people that came in and say they saw you guys on Taste of the Town and want to try it out?
ROSA: I’ll give them 10% off their check.
TIM: Ten percent off their purchase?
ROSA: Yes, their purchase.
TIM: I guarantee you, you will not regret this. Well, that’s about it for this edition of Taste of the Town. And remember, if you’re thinking real estate, think Tim Dutton.