I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I just knew that they served pizza. I wasn't sure if it was a buffet or fast food or cafeteria-style or a sit-down restaurant. I was pleased when I walked in and saw there was a wait staff, a cool, cozy feel with fun decor and sizable menu.
While we tried to decide on what to order for lunch, we ordered beverages. I asked for a root beer and got something way better than the typical fountain drink I was expecting. I didn't know that Abita, a Louisiana Brewery also made root beer. They have it on draft and it is spectacular! Be sure to give it a try!
Once we started scanning the menu, we had a hard time narrowing it down. The menu includes a handful of appetizers, a good selection of salads as well as Build-Your-Own salad, a few sandwiches and hand-tossed pizzas. There are also gluten free selections.
We decided we'd start out with Dough Nuts - baked pizza dough rings brushed with garlic, herbs and parmesan with a side of Marinara, which was a tasty start to our lunch.
We were seated at a booth near the kitchen area and were entertained watching the pizza dough being tossed up in the air. I tried to snap a few shots to capture it and this was the best one I got. That's a pizza dough up by the lights. :)
After much deliberation, we kept it simple. I got a small side salad with bleu cheese dressing and we ordered a small sausage, mushroom and green pepper pizza to share. The salad was quite a big portion for being a small and I saw a waiter bring out a large salad to the next table and it looked enormous - like it could feed 3 people easily. All the veggies were very fresh and crisp and the tomatoes were lightly seasoned. Couldn't have been better.
The pizza was bright and colorful and quite good. Dad can never understand why pizzerias put toppings over the cheese. "They dry out when they don't cover them with cheese," he reasons. I can see his point, but I also like to be able to see what's there rather than having it hiding under mounds of cheese.
Dad and I enjoyed his birthday lunch and both agreed that we'd like to head back there soon to try out a couple more menu items. I noticed that there's a Muffuletta sandwich on the menu, which will be a perfect Nawlins-style sandwich to enjoy come Fat Tuesday in a few weeks. I was also excited that our server, Katie, filled us in on another restaurant in Valparaiso with the same owners called Valley Kitchen in Bar with a farm to fork philosphy. There's also a second Tomato Bar location in Valparaiso.
Happy birthday to Dad. Glad that we finally got out to pay a visit to Tomato Bar and I look forward to the next visit.
79 U. S. Hwy 41