R-Pizza Lives!

From time to time I am going to post on local eateries, with shameless favoritism bestowed upon establishments that have demonstrated a desire to purchase locally-grown food. Those that don’t, I probably won’t blog about at all–so restaurant owners, be on notice.

Last summer, the newest incarnation of Vermillion’s downtown pizza joint opened. Most impressive about it, on first glance, was that it was clean, painted, and had new, cozy decor that made you actually want to eat in the place, rather than run in, run out, and scrub your hands thoroughly (yeah, I know, so why’d we ever eat there before? Well, R-Pizza is a tradition). Also new were a few good beer and wine selections and, wonder of wonders, panini!

Yeah, I know you big city folks have been eating paninis since they came through your umbilical cord, but we Vermillionites had been without that yummiest of sandwich sensations. The new R-Pizza has four or five selections, and they’re all fabulous–my favorites being the Zapato, with corn and cilantro, and the Popeil (Pope-eel), with goat cheese. Seriously–is there another restaurant in all of Vermillion with one item on their menu containing goat cheese?

The pizza toppings are also more diverse than before, though their version of the “Al Fish special” (a vegetarian pizza with bacon) is missing something that I can’t put my finger on–probably because I stopped ordering it–sorry, Al. But to take up that slack is roasted red pepper, fresh basil, and other delights not usually stocked by the mass-produced pizza places.

Lance, the owner, is a “just a regular guy makin’ pizza” kind of dude–that is, approachable, pleasant, and laid back. The other employees are genuinely pleasant as well. Lance has demonstrated his desire to buy local produce, and even to figure out good ways to make it fit in his menu. Example: he offers jalapenos as a topping on his pizza, but they come pickled in a big can. He bought a bucket of jalapenos from me this summer and then wrote down my directions on how to easily pickle them so he could use them in the same way. Whadda guy!

R-Pizza still delivers, even to the back room of Carey’s bar, but now that they’ve cleaned the place up, you can actually hang out and enjoy a nice meal there. They even have the table racks like Charlie’s Pizza in Yankton, so your pizza cools off a bit faster (because who hasn’t burned the roof of their mouth on pizza?). Sadly, R-Pizza isn’t open on Sundays, though maybe if we can get our downtown swingin’ again, it would be worth their while.


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