THE PLACE: Locally owned Pace’s Pizza Balls recently marked two years in business at the Summit shopping center on Mount Rose Highway. Its specialty is right there in the name — a spherical crust with the pizza fixings inside, similar in concept to a calzone, but different enough to be called “pizza ball.”
THE LOOK: Comfortably casual, the place is definitely family and teen friendly, which is good because it’s a few doors down from the theater and attracts a young crowd.
There are booths and tables inside and a few tables under umbrellas outside, a self-serve soda station in the dining area and sports photos on the walls. Several TVs were tuned to sports channels. There is also a selection of games — backgammon, Scrabble, Sorry and the like — for customers.
THE MEAL: The pizza balls are made to order with combinations of traditional pizza fixings — pepperoni, sausage, Canadian bacon, a Margherita version — plus some variations, such as pulled pork in the Ball Hog or hot sausage and jalapeños in the Fire Ball.
I have the Wolf Pack Ball, with pepperoni, sausage, onion, mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes, cheese and sauce. My companion goes with the Fowl Ball: grilled chicken, cheese, red onion and red pepper in barbecue sauce.
We split an order of six
medium-hot chicken wings — zesty but not too hot, just how I like them — for $5.95.
The crust is first baked, then fried to give it an extra crisp exterior.
The dough is slightly sweet, which is, I’m told, an Eastern thing (one owner is originally from Pennsylvania). The insides are less saucy than regular pizza, letting the filling’s flavors take center stage.
The pizza balls are priced at a reasonable $4.50 and come with two fried dough balls dredged in powdered sugar for dessert.
KUDOS: First of all, kudos to the owners for introducing the concept locally, going through trial and error to get something really different. It’s nice that the balls aren’t premade and that you can get exactly the toppings (although they’re not really “toppings.” Inside-ings, maybe?) you want.
QUIBBLES: I’m not sold on the sweet dough, but I’m sure younger palates would find it appealing.
ALTERNATIVES: The Greek salad, $6.95 or $3 extra with chicken, has romaine, cucumbers, tomatoes, feta cheese and a generous helping of kalamata olives in olive oil. There are also spinach, Caesar, house and Buffalo chicken salads for those not in a pizza mood.
For the tots, the smaller T-Ball at $2.25 has cheese or cheese and one topping.
Appetizers include chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks and chicken wings. There’s beer and wine by the glass. Members of the military get a 20-percent discount.
RETURN TRIP: After taking in a summer blockbuster next door, a pizza ball might be just the thing to cap off the day. Sitting outside, eating round food — it’s almost like being on vacation.