Florida’s 30-A – Pizza on the Panhandle

The Snob can never take a total vacation, so when he and Mrs. Pie headed south to the Florida Panhandle for a week’s stay, he naturally saw it as an opportunity to explore the local pizza joints.

After 15 years of vacating to this beautiful place, we are convinced that there are no finer beaches in the world.  Since the children flew the coop, we’ve ventured from Destin and its kid-friendly activity to an area a few minutes further east known as “30-A” where the same white sandy beaches are quieter and more relaxing.  Us folks in the South refer to this whole area simply as the Redneck Riviera.

The Snob’s goal was to cover all the joints on or around County Highway 30-A, the two-lane beach road stretching 10 miles from Santa Rosa Beach on the west to Rosemary Beach on the east.

Bruno’s Pizza, a small sit-down joint in a tiny strip center started my investigation. Bruno’s claims to be the first pizza place on 30-A and also boasts that somebody has voted them “30-A’s Best Pizza For 21 Years.”  My option there was limited to grabbing some dinky slices from their buffet at two bucks a pop. I quickly realized that if this was the best on 30-A, it was not going to be a good week for eating pizza. Their pie was nothing more than your sub-standard, soggy, puffy pie with burnt cheese that was too doughy. The to-go order process lacked class as I had to stuff both slices into a too-small Styrofoam box. The Snob passes on Bruno’s.

PIZZA SNOB RATING   ** Why Did I Waste Those Calories?   

Bruno’s Pizza
Seagrove Plaza
3723 East County Highway 30-A
Seagrove Beach, FL 32459
850-231-1452
http://brunospizza30a.com/

Next, I squeezed in a quick visit to Pizza by the Sea while Mrs. Pie was gathering some foodstuffs at the neighboring Publix supermarket. Getting there just as they opened at 11am, I ordered their $4.50 slice and drink special without the drink for $3.50. Compared to Bruno’s, this slice was a delight as it was more of the thin and crispy variety. The slice was a “double-wide” making folding a little tricky requiring me to employ the “Fold and Rip” maneuver. Sauce and cheese were enjoyable although it was a bit over-sauced. The crust had a nice crispy crunch, but it seemed to have been made from unusual flour as its taste and texture were untraditional.  Not bad tasting – just off. (Someone that I talked pizza with later that week likened it to a Ritz cracker.  I felt that was overly harsh.)

Of all the 30-A places I would eventually visit, I’d give this one the family-friendly Snob nod of approval. The pie isn’t that bad, and the kids’ pie-pan art hanging on the wall is a way cool idea.

PIZZA SNOB RATING   *** Better than Dominos

Pizza by the Sea
Beside Publix on Highway 395
88 Watercolor Way
Watercolor, FL 32459
850-231-3030
http://pizzabythesea.blogspot.com/

If you have ever seen the great Jim Carrey movie The Truman Show, Seaside, Florida is the real-life “cookie-cutter” planned community where it was filmed.  The Gulf-side of the town center features three Bud & Alley’s restaurants. Mrs. Pie and I have previously dined at their fine seafood spot and fun Taco Bar.  This season we made our first trip to their latest venture, Bud & Alley’s Pizza Bar.  A classy spot with nice indoor/outdoor seating, it attempts to upgrade your pizza-eating experience while offering a few other Italian choices. We opted for the most normal thing on the menu, the $13 Quatro Formaggi, which was an 11-inch pie cut into six small slices.  One of the four cheeses, and I’m not sure which, wasn’t to my liking due to its overly-strong aroma that left a bad aftertaste. The sauce was nice and flavorful, however, the hand-tossed dough although blackened a little was still too doughy.  The dusting of flour under the crust also had an odd, funky taste and texture.

If you are into classy beach-front dining, the Pizza Bar is a fun destination, however, read on, there is much better tasting pizza to be found on 30-A.

PIZZA SNOB RATING      *** Better than Dominos

Bud & Alley’s Pizza Bar
2236 East County Highway 30-A
Seaside, FL 32459
850-231-5900
http://budandalleys.com/menu_pizza_bar.php

Next up was another to-go stop, Angelina’s Pizzeria & Pasta, an Italian restaurant with a full bar that serves pie.  Having no single slices for sale, I got a little eight-inch cheese cut into four tiny slices (a bit pricey at $6.99) to take back to the condo. Like Bruno’s pie, it was crammed into a Styrofoam box and it too turned out to be nothing more than a puffy pie with burnt cheese.  A place to avoid for pizza, I rank their pie a nod above Bruno’s.  At least Angelina’s pie was served hot and was crispy on the bottom with a decent flavor to both its sauce and cheese.

 

PIZZA SNOB RATING    **1/2 Perhaps Not A Total Waste   

Angelina’ Pizzeria & Pasta
4005 East County Highway 30-A
Seagrove Beach, FL 32459
850-231-2500
http://angelinasfl.com/

The next trip was to the far west end of 30-A.  Mrs. Pie and I took an eight-mile bike ride there for lunch. Don’t know how I talked her into that!  Amore Pizzeria is a neat little joint on a second floor deck behind a shopping center. It has a small indoor seating area and a very spacious patio that looks like a fun gathering place.  My hopes were high for this place as their local magazine advert made their pie look quite enticing.

We went for the $10.95 twelve-inch cheese (called the “Simple”), and right away I could see that this was going to be 30-A’s finest. Cooked very well, it had a nice and delicate crispy crust that was quite tasty. It did perhaps have more cheese than expected for a classic slice.  I had two small taste issues with this pie.  Firstly, the sauce was too sweet. After finding that the owners were from Tennessee, Mrs. Pie commented “In Tennessee, it’s a given: a little sugar goes in everything!”  Secondly, my taste buds detected parmesan cheese – too strong. I postulate that this addition should on the table for the eater to use at his discretion. These two small issues aside, this was the best we had so far in its near-classic style, and its excellent execution in the oven.

 

PIZZA SNOB RATING   ***1/2 Working On A Good Thing

Amore Pizzeria
Gulfplace
Intersection of County Highway 393 and County Highway 30-A
Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459
850-267-2202
http://www.amore-pizzeria.com/

I was ready to crown Amore as the best pie on 30-A when a friend of ours back home spotted Sweetie Pie’s Facebook post about our bike ride for pizza.  She told us that we just had to try Enzo’s Italian Restaurant, a few blocks away from Amore. We opted to drive back there for dinner on the last night of our stay.  I’m glad we did.

Enzo’s is a classy little Italian restaurant in a small strip center run by two delightful sisters. We eyed the menu and decided to start with an $18 eighteen-inch large cheese pie. (We would later share some tasty trout for dinner.) When the pie was brought to the table, its beautiful classic style was a sight for sore eyes. It had just the right amount of sauce, cheese, and dough and was cooked to crisp perfection.  While completely delicious, I noticed the flavor of both sauce and crust varied from classic style. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.   Turns out, the chef mentioned she had to use some different tomatoes on this particular day.  Nonetheless, we left Enzo’s wonderfully satisfied.

So, here’s a picture of the two sisters who get the Snob’s nod as the best pizza-makers on 30-A.

PIZZA SNOB RATING     ***1/2 Working On A Good Thing

Enzo’s Italian Restaurant
1598 S County Highway 393
Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459
850 -267-3003
http://www.myenzos.com/Where_We_Are.html

Moving in Fall 2012 to:

Emerald Coast Shopping Plaza
3906 Highway 98 West #5 & #6
Santa Rosa Beach, FL. 32459

Thus ends the vacation pizza tour of 30-A.

Postscript:  I also spotted a place called Johnny McTighe’s Irish Pub in Blue Mountain Beach that served pie. I tried to grab a slice when we passed it on our bike ride, but it was a bar with seating and only offered whole pies. Maybe next time.

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2 comments

  1. Hello Pizza Snob. I love your cheese pizza images! Have you been to Torino’s Pizza Oviedo FL? I really love their cheese pizza, I’ve known them to be the best Oviedo pizza place. I was just wondering how you are going to say a for their pizza. Here is one of their link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/115753762@N04/12190783726/ . Looking forward to see more post in your blog. I don’t have a website yet s I’ll just put my favorite site: ^__^ Have a great day!

    1. Thanks for the tip. If I ever get back to the Orlando area I will be sure to check it out.

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