Why: Smokey’s Hot Oven Pizza opened in 1965 and has been family owned and operated ever since. The restaurant’s menu offers an unlikely selection beyond 12 specialty pizzas, including chicken meals, rib tips, nachos, and hot buttered popcorn.
Other than the menu, Smokey’s is all about supporting the community — offering meeting rooms, providing fundraising opportunities, and sponsoring sports teams.
With two locations, diners can eat in, take out or have their order delivered.
Atmosphere: The narrow, long building stands alone. The entry is flanked by weathered wood carvings that help distinguish the restaurant’s personality. Within, it possesses a mix of cabin- and cave-like appeal. As you venture toward the ordering counter, several doorways beckon your curiosity to discover what’s beyond them. The surfaces are mostly light-absorbing — tongue-and-groove-covered ceiling and walls, and a faux brick wainscot accented by support elements painted dark green. Seating consists of parlor-style chairs at tables set to accommodate two or more. Walls display sports team plaques, along with light sconces and a few other decor features. Two PCs are set up for diners to use and a game area offers some arcade-style entertainment.
What I tried: I tried a pepperoni pizza, fish ’n’ chips, a hot Italian sandwich with meatballs, garlic bread, a green salad, a peanut butter cookie, a chocolate cookie, and a white chocolate macadamia cookie.
Least impressive was the hot italian sandwich. It was loaded with onions and skimpy on the marinara sauce. The meatballs, though generously included, had a spongy texture that wasn’t appetizing.
Most impressive was the fish ‘n’ chips. Coldwater cod is covered in a delicious golden-fried batter and served with malt vinegar — the chips were a classic accompaniment. I would definitely return for this.
For anyone who hasn’t tried Smokey’s pizza, it might be described as a close cousin to Round Table. The crust’s texture and flavor is reminiscent of Round Table’s. Likewise, the bottom of Smokey’s pizza crust has “oven crispies” — those remnants of pizza’s toppings that have gone before that stick to those that come thereafter. The pepperoni was two layers thick on some of the pizza and the flavor of it reminded me of a pepperoni stick.
The green salad consisted of a DIY salad from the salad bar and the garlic bread was basic, similar to what you might make at home.
The cookies were good and just what I expected.
Menu items beyond what I tried: Big appetites would likely be satisfied with any of the hoagie sandwiches that are made on an 8-inch French roll and include a quarter-pound of meat and your choice of fixings. The Pounder specialty pizza is made with a full pound of Canadian-style bacon on a large crust. The creamy garlic chicken specialty pizza, made with chicken, garlic, black olives, onions, green peppers, and white sauce, sounded intriguing.
Other observations: Service was fast and friendly.
Gluten-free pizzas are available.
Smokey’s also has free Wi-Fi.
Cost: House Specialty Pizzas come in small,10-inch; medium,12-inch; and large, 15-inch, and range from $12.25 to $33.25. Build your own pizzas are available in small, medium, and large, as well as a personal size, and are priced at one, two, and three topping prices that start at $4.80 and top out at $31.30. U-bake pizzas are $2 off small, $3 off medium, and $4 off the large price. Hoagie sandwiches are $7.50. Chicken combo boxes are $7.45 to $42.50, and each comes with 2 sides and a dinner roll. Chicken by the piece starts at $3 for a breast and tops out at $28.65 for 16 pieces. Other meal options that include fish ’n’ chips, pasta, and rib tips ‘n fries are $7.50 to $8.25. For $2.95, you may add a dinner salad or bowl of soup. Lunch specials are served until 4 p.m. daily and offer a two-topping 6-inch pizza and refillable soft drink for $6.50. Kids’ (10 years old and younger) meals are $3.95.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Sunday.
Telephone: Hazel Dell 360-695-5005. Orchards 360-256-6680.
Where: 6920 N.E. Highway 99, Hazel Dell. 10411 N.E. Fourth Plain Blvd., Orchards. www.smokeyspizza.com.
Health score: Smokey’s Hazel Dell restaurant received a score of 18 on Jan. 7. Smokey’s Fourth Plain restaurant received a score of 5 on Feb. 28. Zero is a perfect score, and Clark County Public Health closes restaurants that score 100 or higher. For information, call 360-397-8428.