There was a place like this in back in my hometown when I was growing up in the 1960s and ’70s.
It was the only pizza joint in town, back before there were two or three national pizza chains in towns of every size across America. In fact, we didn’t have a single franchise restaurant in my hometown in those days.
But enough about my age. Suffice to say the little homegrown pizza joint I recall so well had a flavor, an ambience, an aura of good times that no other place could ever capture for my generation. Sadly, it’s long gone, but never forgotten by the Baby Boomers who grew up in that little town to the north.
Fortunately, natives and transplants to Boone can still enjoy a real original in the form of Belluci’s Pizza House.
Founded in 1965, Belluci’s remains true to its hometown roots. My dining companion and I felt as if we had stepped back in time when we went inside. It was a simpler time, when food was always prepared fresh, and every restaurant had its own unique style and flavor, long before so many of our foods had been processed and franchised into blandness.
With a friendly atmosphere, and a casual welcome for everyone who grabs a booth, Belluci’s offered us a relaxing night and a wonderful meal. We were tempted by the array of sandwiches — from the Poor Boy featuring bologna, cotto salami, ham, cheese, lettuce, pickle and sauce to the Italian BLT with bacon, onions, cheese, lettuce, marinated tomatoes and special sauce on a tenderloin bun — but ultimately chose to go traditional with a pizza to share.
The crust was thin and crispy — an absolute must for my dining companion — and the tomato sauce smothered on top was rich and zesty. And while the topping choices are almost unlimited, we kept it simple with just pepperoni and mushrooms, a combination impossible to beat.
It was early on a Friday evening when we arrived, and we enjoyed watching so many folks come and go, picking up their own personal favorites to take home.
Likely, every little town had a place like this back in the 1960s, Boone is just incredibly lucky to still have a place like Belluci’s, a delicious slice of Americana.
824 Story St.
Hours: Tues. – Sat.: 5 – 10 p.m.
Sunday: 5 – 8 p.m.
Wednesday: 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.