By Kate and Stephen
Zelda Road is a weird place. Named for Montgomery’s own Zelda Fitzgerald (neé Sayre), it’s home to Midtown’s only Waffle House. Which restaurant is basically your only eating option in Midtown if you’re up late. It is near the should-be-prosaic intersection of Zelda Road and F. Scott Court, where there is a fast food chain restaurant selling tiny hamburgers — but no monument to the famous literary couple’s troubled romance.
In Zelda’s short stretch you can sample a full spectrum of Montgomery’s food offerings – everything from local, seasonal gourmet meals (Michael’s Table) to the simple, vaguely gross pleasures of eating at (or food from) a Taco Bell. And now Zelda is home to a new sitdown place — Sal’s Pizzeria, a dimly-lit, semi-formal place.
We hit Sal’s on a Friday night and were happy there was only a short wait, which some members of our party spent playing a stand-up arcade-style driving game called Cruisin’. This was just as well, because one of our only quibbles with Sal’s is that there’s not a good place to wait for a table. And you might wait a good long while (as we did on our first attempt to eat lunch there), because a) there aren’t that many tables and b) the food is really good, so people are likely to take their time. As such, you’re likely to stand in a cramped little hallway area for a while, hoping that tables will turn over.
We ordered pizza, of course – since the restaurant’s name coyly suggests that pizza might be “Sal’s” specialty. We’re already on the record for loving Tomatino’s, and we’ll confess that SaZa has good pizza too. Adding Sal’s to the mix has got to put Montgomery over the edge for one of the great cities in the South. What other town our size has this many outstanding places to get a perfectly crisp-soft crust with locally-sourced toppings and just the right sauce-cheese balance? Our Sienna (eggplant, roasted bell pepper, broccolini, olives and mozzarella – $17 for a large) was great, even if we were left wanting more broccolini. Even with three of us eating, we were still left with ample leftovers.
Maybe that was because we filled up on the cheesebread (frankly, a small cheese and garlic pizza – $5.50) and Olio Misto (the best olive appetizer in town [with apologies to El Rey’s], it’s succulent and garlicky and a bargain at $4). Or the leftovers may have stemmed from the fact that we saved room at the end because we were eagerly anticipating our Strawberry Cake milkshake ($5.50). It’s thick and sweet enough to tide you over till Nancy Patterson’s restaurant (whose legendary cake is a key ingredient of the milkshake) re-opens. The milkshake quickly catapulted onto our list of Montgomery’s best desserts.
Kate and Stephen are Midtown residents with a dog, a cat, a garden, an old house and a sense of adventure. They write about life in Midtown here and about life in Montgomery at their blog Lost in Montgomery.