MUSHY'S MOOCHINGS: BIG ED’S PIZZA – A LEGEND IN OAK RIDGE

Monday, June 04, 2007

BIG ED’S PIZZA – A LEGEND IN OAK RIDGE

Ms. Mushy and I saw “Spidyman” Friday, and we were the only 2 people in the theater! This is another perk of being retired…the 12:05 during the week is usually sparsely attended. We then topped off a lovely day together by visiting Bid Ed’s Pizza.

Since 1970 Big Ed Neusel’s Pizza, at Number 1 Broadway in Jackson Square, has been an institution, a one of a kind place to go and have old Italian style pizza and a beer. That’s all they have, so it has been perfected over the years to a succinct taste. Thin chewy crust with a fat fluffy rim that comes from dough made on site daily and a hot juicy middle available with 10 all natural ingredients!

Besides the sauce, you begin with cheese and then add up to 5 additional items, or get the “Special” and get 6! That’s my favorite…the works!

There are four draft beers, no bottles, to choose from by the glass or pitcher.

Big Ed’s has been mentioned on many national sports shows and many sports stars, and other celebrities have visited there and left banners and photos that adorn the 18-foot walls. There is an eclectic mix of autographed footballs, baseballs, and military memorabilia hanging there or in locked showcases. You could spend an hour just reading the graffiti on the stairs down to the restrooms, or looking at the signatures and dedications local schools and universities have made to Big Ed.

Some of the most important items hanging around are the paraphernalia from military units -- Blue Angels, Marines, Navy -- decorate the walls. Big Ed served in Vietnam as a Marine himself!

Big Ed’s is actually internationally famous (Google and see) and is one the “must visits” when coming to the Knoxville/Oak Ridge, Tennessee area.

High school kids have always worked “behind the glass” making the fresh pizzas for Big Ed. Many have earned their way on to college with a job tossing pizzas in the air at Big Ed’s.

Big Ed died in 1998, but the traditions continue with son David.

Big Ed crafted the cost of operating his business by providing only the barest of amenities – pizza comes hot on an aluminum tray, but you have to pulled the molten pieces off onto 6” paper (thin) plates and saw off bites (until it cools) with a plastic fork! Nothing fancy here except the taste of the pizza!

Going into Big Ed’s is like going back in time for me. I used to go to this same place (called something else then) with my parents when they went out dancing around 1949-51. I was 3 or 4 years old and I remember them holding me up between them as they danced. Gees, I wish I could remember the music – one was probably "Good Night Irene" – and get more of a visual recollection, but I only see the three-headed dancers!

12 comments:

Suldog said...

Man, I love old local joints that do one or two things and do them really well. I've lost too many of them in my neck of the woods over the years. Here's hoping yours lasts forever!

And, damn, I really want some pizza now.

Les Becker said...

I'm envious of "empty" theatres. We always end up with the seats in front of the chair-kickers. It's always the kind that don't mean it, really, so I can't even beat them up with a clear consience.

I saw Spidey, too. Did you cry at the end, Mushy? Did you? I bet you did.

Fathairybastard said...

Sounds wonderful. Love the stuff you get in cool old joints like that. And the memory of your folks dancing with you, cool. Very envious of these old memories of yours. Mine are spread out all over the place.

*Goddess* said...

You were the only two people in the theater? I knew it was a bad sign when the actors in the film were incredibly lukewarm about it in tv promtions.

Damn that pizza looks GOOOOOOD!! BTW, do you drag that camera EVERYWHERE?!

Mel said...

That pizza looks SOOO good!

david mcmahon said...

G'day Mushy,

I haven't seen the flick yet, so you can tell me - is it a great Web sight!?

Nice recollection about Big Ed's from your childhood. You sure `Good Night Irene' wasn't actually `Come On Eileen'!?

Just kidding.

Cheers

David

BRUNO said...

Yessir, you had better enjoy these kinda places while they're still here. They are, indeed, falling prey to "modernization" more each day, and suffer from no longer being able to remain economically-feasible for the owners, no matter how hard they try. Everything now is made FASTER, THINNER, and to hell with QUALITY!!!

Ya' just don't get that kind of "down-home" comfortable feeling in todays' "national-brands", do ya'???

Mushy said...

Les...no, I was about to pee too bad!

Goddess...yes, pretty much. We attended a funeral tonight and my wife had to threaten me to keep me from snapping a picture!

David...I think the 2nd one was the best.

Let's all go get a pizza together some time!

*Goddess* said...

LOL! I almost hear you now...."I gotta get a picture for my blog!" Damn, I miss my camera;(

Marie said...

Now how often did "Cavemen" eat pizza? :)

Mushy said...

Marie...I'm on Weight Watchers now...only because I'm supporting my wife! I still like the caveman diet, but have back slide somewhat!

david mcmahon said...

G’day Mushy,

Thanks for the recommendation. Will watch the DVD this weekend if I get time between doing some gardening with the kids, completing a chapter of my next novel and posting on my blog.

I’m all for the pizza suggestion. My place, Saturday night. It’s only a 17-hour flight!

Y’all take care now

Cheers

David