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Bites Nearby: Shorty's Pizza

Our weekly look at a local restaurant worth trying.

First of all, Shorty's Pizza is not your everyday, run-of-the-mill pizza joint. There's a somewhat different vibe here. Besides, there are other things on the menu. But more on that later.

So let's talk about the pizza first. A huge open brick oven, of Italian origin and fired by wood, greets you off to the left of the full bar as you walk in. The pies that get shoved in said oven at frequent intervals are skinny, crispy and very tasty, and, for whatever reason, are named after famous musicians. 

The deal is, they come with toppings that somehow relate to the persona in question. To wit: the Peter Tosh has jerked pork tenderloin, pineapple and red peppers. Fair enough. The Ravi Shankar is replete with curry oil, roasted vegetables, and a cilantro-mint chutney. So far, so good. The Van Morrison is covered in potato, bacon, cheddar cheese, and sour cream. That makes sense, given the Belfast Cowboy's ample girth. But Weird Al Yancovic - pesto and pineapple? Go figure.

There are a number of other pizzas as well, or you can concoct your own, and call it anything you want. I skipped pizza this time and had the Cedar Planked Salmon ($15.75). A pretentious name, to be sure, but cooked to order and festooned with roasted potatoes and asparagus, it was delicious.

Other non-pizza items include Roasted Falafel ($9.25), Blackened 6 oz. Sirloin Steak ($14.25), various salads ($7.95-$9) and all sorts of Focaccia sandwiches ($8.50-$9.50). I particularly like the Cuban sandwich. The menu lists it as "Guantanamo Bay - still open for business."

I used to order the buttermilk grilled chicken breast with garlic mashed  potatoes and grilled corn but it's sadly no longer on the menu, although it's still listed on the website. In fact, there are several discrepancies between the online menu and the one you are given in the restaurant itself, including some of the prices. Beware.

What is there for kids? Plenty. All the items are five bucks and include a Kosher pig-in-a-blanket and chicken and/or cheese quesadilla. But the topper is a Krabby Patty (!) with cold, crunchy baby carrots and ranch dressing. Desserts ($6.25-$8.95) are great. You can have chocolate chip cookies, s'mores or apple pizza, and key lime pie with whipped cream. "Enough for two," the menu says. I don't think so. 

I don't recommend sitting at the bar for dinner. I tried it and had quite a hard time getting served. The bartender's name was Rachel and trying to catch her eye was an adventure in itself, even at a mostly empty counter. The table waitstaff, on the other hand, are quick and efficient.

Quibbles aside, I should add that Shorty's is a fine place to take the family, and many do. There are also bands playing some nights a week and the place is gaining a reputation as a live venue.

Shorty's Pizza is close to downtown Tucker and just a couple of miles outside I-285. The address is 3701 Lawrenceville Highway and the telephone number is 770-414-7999. They are open Mon - Thu, Sun, 11:30 a.m. - 10 p.m; Fri, Sat, 11:30 a.m. - 11 p.m.

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