Thursday, April 1, 2010

Shenandoah Pizza

Staunton is a small town blessed with an abundance of artistic and cultural attractions, visual beauty, and extraordinary cuisine for a small town. One place I especially like is Shenandoah Pizza. I can already hear folks groaning when I mention a pizza joint among great cuisine. Well, Shenandoah Pizza is not just any pizza joint. They use fresh ingredients, unique topping combinations, several types of sauces, and intriguing dough mixes. Most of their meats are organic or grass-fed from local sources. The restaurant owner, John Huggins, is an absolutely great guy. He will always take the time to visit with his customers and develop relationships with them. He will explain things on the menu in great detail and will suggest beers to best match your taste cravings from their extensive beer list (I've never seen such a selection of beer, I think they have 200 plus). He's a big supporter of the arts and the local Valley music scene, hosting musical acts at the restaurant and featuring works by local artists available for purchase on the walls. Johnnie and his wife Cheryl opened Shenandoah Pizza about five years ago, and they have developed a very loyal customer base. 

I've had several different types of pizza at the restaurant: white pizzas, traditional cheese, pepperoni, on wheat, on white, on sunflower wheat, and several of the gourmet selections. They have all been excellent. Everything tastes absolutely fresh. Sometimes when I eat pizza I notice an almost stale taste to the dough. That's never the case at Shenandoah Pizza, as a matter of fact their dough is far and away superior to any other I have tried. Another nice touch is the bottle of olive oil on the table- it goes especially well with the white pizzas. Of the gourmet selections I've had the Sherwood Avenue (meatballs, ricotta, red onions, mozzarella); The Valley (spinach, red onion, mozzarella, tomato); The Augusta Margherita (extra virgin olive oil, fresh garlic, basil, fresh mozzarella); and the Chicken Florentine (spinach, garlic, chicken, ), The Swoope (Alfredo sauce, spinach, artichoke hearts, diced tomatoes, cracked pepper), The Shakespearean (Basil Pesto, artichoke hearts, mozzarella, tomatoes), The Lady Rebecca (Mushrooms, mozzarella, red onion, bell peppers, tomatoes, black olives), and The Woodrow (Pepperoni, sausage, mozzarella) . In all, the restaurant features 25 gourmet pies and a few special ones from time to time. They also serve the absolute best cheese bread sticks I've ever had. They take a little extra time, but they are well worth it and come with a fabulous marinara. If you are in the mood for buffalo wings, you've come to the right place. Shenandoah Pizza serves some of the best tasting, juiciest, meatiest buffalo wings you are apt to find.
Photo taken by Sara Zeglin.

Johnnie can take pride in the fact that his restaurant is ranked number one in Staunton on Trip Advisor. That's nothing to scoff at considering the stiff competition in this cultural and culinary gem of a town. If you are in the mood for some gourmet pizza, a tremendous selection of beer, or some live, local music or artwork while visiting the Shenandoah Valley, make sure to stop in and visit Johnnie at Shenandoah Pizza.

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