I had read some good online buzz about The Mafia House, so The Grub Spouse and I decided to take advantage of the slow season in the Smokies to head to Pigeon Forge and check it out.
The restaurant is a mile or so out Upper Middle Creek Road, an area that seems to lend itself more to carryout and delivery orders from overnight rental guests. The Spouse and I dined in, naturally, and while we were the only dine-in guests that night, they did get a steady trickle of carryout business during our stay.
We pulled a photocopy menu from a stack and sat down to discuss what was what. They have various bread-based items and chicken wings for starters, but we decided to overlook those as well as the trio of available salads.
We decided that I would get pizza, and The Spouse would get something else. Those who want to custom-order a pie can choose from nearly 20 different toppings and have them assembled on a 14-, 16- or 18-inch New York-style crust.
I looked instead at their nine specialty pizza options, which include one for pepperoni lovers, a Hawaiian variation, a grilled-chicken pizza and a couple of no-sauce pies. I went for their most representative sampler, which seemed to be the Stakeout (the 14-incher) — a supreme pizza made with pepperoni, mushrooms, ground beef, red onions, black olives and green peppers. Very colorful, indeed.
That still left plenty for The Spouse to consider, including calzones, several varieties of spaghetti and fettucine, and both hot and cold subs. The cold subs feature familiar Italian meats like salami, capocolla, pepperoni and ham. Hot subs include meatball, chicken and sausage sandwiches prepared with Parmesan cheese.
The Spouse went to the hot side and ordered the Chicago Italian beef sub, made with thinly sliced meat plus grilled peppers and onions, served on a roll and accented with au jus.
While waiting we noted that the Mafia/gangster theme is minimally conveyed throughout the single Spartan dining room. There are a few photos on the wall that suggest mob history, but otherwise, I found the space to be clean but lacking character or visual appeal.
Fortunately, we didn't have to wait too long for our food. The pizza was served on a metal platter, while the sub was served in a basket. We were given ample paper plates, napkins and plastic cutlery to get us going.
The food didn't disappoint. I thought the pizza was a solid effort, from the thin but chewy New York crust to the fresh, chunky toppings to a pleasing proportion of cheese. Even the 14-inch pie left me full after just a few slices, with plenty to box up and take home.
Pound for pound, I thought the sub was even better. The shaved roast beef delivered wonderful flavor, particularly with the au jus embellishment, and the veggies and soft bread gave the whole presentation nice variety in flavor and texture.
We considered homemade deep-fried zeppoles for dessert but felt we had done enough damage.
I think there are enough good pizza options around to justify not making the trek from Knoxville, but if you're a Sevier County resident or visitor, you should add The Mafia House to your pizza rotation. That is, if you know what's good for you.
The Mafia House
Address: 1440 Upper Middle Creek Rd., Sevierville (Pigeon Forge)
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays
No alcohol service
Dept. of Health score: 96
Bottom Line: This Sevier County eatery serves up a mean pizza pie, and the staff will make you feel just like part of the family.
© 2013, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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