Jeremy Denno, above, and Amanda Preston opened Rock 'n Dough Pizza Co. Friday in Park Place.
It’s a 10-minute drive from the new Rock ‘n Dough Pizza Co. in East Memphis to my house, and the pizza to-go on the back seat filled my car with the smell of warm dough, bacon and melted cheese. Grilled chicken, spinach and artichokes also topped different halves of the pie, but I didn’t delve into those smells until I breathed down my first slice. I ate it with my coat on, leaning against the kitchen counter.
Simply put, Rock ‘n Dough is some great pizza pie.
Jeremy Denno and spouse Amanda Preston have been operating a pizza food truck for about a year, but the storefront in Park Place is their first brick-and-mortar. It’s located next to Amerigo Italian Restaurant in a former YoLo Frozen Yogurt.
Denno, who developed the pizza menu for Trolley Stop Market, still manages the Trolley Stop kitchen, so Rock ‘n Dough is a family affair. Preston, along with Denno’s mom, Kathy, was working Friday night, learning the POS operating system (formerly called a cash register) from programmer Magen Hylander. The trio is pictured above.
The restaurant’s menu is streamlined but appealing, focusing on expertly hand-tossed pizzas and a long list of custom toppings that include fresh herbs, portabella mushrooms and chorizo sausage. There are three sauces (tomato, white and pesto) and 10 different cheeses, including fontina, gorgonzola, feta and fresh mozzarella.
Prices range from $15 for a small pizza to $20 plus for an extra-large. The restaurant also sells pizza by the slice and slice/salad combinations for $6 to $8, depending on the toppings. Salad ingredients are fresh and seasonal, and the dressings are house-made. The balsamic vinaigrette is especially good.
For now, Rock ‘n Dough offers 10 specialty pies, ranging from classic pepperoni to bacon cheeseburger made with red sauce, local beef, bacon, grilled onion, creamy Dijon and cheddar. The restaurant also serves a pesto pie (my favorite) and a vegan white sauce pie made with a vegetable medley and Daiya mozzarella.
Overwhelmed by all the choices, I ordered half pesto and one of Denno’s favorites: bacon, grilled chicken and spinach with red sauce. The pie was flavorful and satisfying.
Expect more choices next week when Rock ‘n Dough rolls out an expanded menu with breakfast pies and additional specialty toppings. “Jeremy wants to start making his own Greek-style lamb sausage,” Preston said. “And his big dream is to get a smoker so he can make a barbecue pie.”
Rock ‘n Dough Pizza Co., 1243 Ridgeway Road (901-435-6238)