Lavaca is fortunate to have one of Arkansas's most memorable pizza experiences. Though the facade at Steffey's Pizza at 627 W. Main St. has changed over the years, it's still home to good, hearty pizzas and the Uncle Roman, a double-crust pie cooked in an iron skillet.
Mind you, the latter, a hefty pie that lets you choose what goes inside, isn't the only double-crust pizza in the state. Damgoode Pies shares several varieties of two-crusters on its menu. But with the Uncle Roman, the top crust is literally the top of the pie, dusted with a little cornmeal and parmesan. It also packs more heft per slice -- and can come to the table weighing 5 pounds!
That's part of the reason why you don't see a lot of couples sharing this pie; it is a literal dinner for four or more. Local football teams during the fall will descend on this pizza palace and share two or three of these crisp-topped monsters, packed with a supreme's worth of fillings. The other reason is the time it takes to make this pie. To properly cook through the 12-inch round takes about 15 minutes more than a standard flat pizza, meaning that a loaded pie could take as much as 30 minutes.
Is it worth it? I am personally a big fan. The crust is well-considered when baking, and enough thickness is left in the bottom crust to provide ample leverage to pick up your slice. The dough is turned into hot cast iron skillets much in the same way as cornbread is, and it's a little cornmeal in the bottom of the pan with that vegetable oil that means the pies do not stick. Cheese glues whatever toppings you like together, and does just as well with my personal choices of hamburger, green olives, roasted red peppers, mushrooms and artichoke hearts as with someone else's Canadian bacon, sausage, banana peppers and spinach. Extra cheese isn't really necessary, though if you are dying for more cheesiness, reach for the parmesan shaker.
Not up to the signature pie? Go for one of Steffey's Razorbacks, a medium-thick crusted pizza with pork four ways -- sausage, Italian sausage, pepperoni, and Canadian bacon -- for a hearty meal. The White Pizza with olive oil, garlic and sliced whole tomatoes will do if you're looking for lighter fare. Or dig one of Steffey's Pizza Subs, which use pizza dough instead of white bread rolls and which are stuffed, brushed with garlic sauce and baked.
Find out more at 674-2300 or SteffeysPizza.com.
Kat Robinson's new book, "The Great Arkansas Pie Book," will be released in hardcover nationwide on May 9. The Arkansas food historian's work spans 11 other books, three television shows and a website, TieDyeTravels.com, which includes more than 1,200 articles on the state's food, traditions and such. Email her at [email protected].