Monday, June 04, 2007


Ms. Mushy and I saw “Spidyman” Friday, and we were the only 2 people in the theater! This is another perk of being retired…the 12:05 during the week is usually sparsely attended. We then topped off a lovely day together by visiting Bid Ed’s Pizza.

Since 1970 Big Ed Neusel’s Pizza, at Number 1 Broadway in Jackson Square, has been an institution, a one of a kind place to go and have old Italian style pizza and a beer. That’s all they have, so it has been perfected over the years to a succinct taste. Thin chewy crust with a fat fluffy rim that comes from dough made on site daily and a hot juicy middle available with 10 all natural ingredients!

Besides the sauce, you begin with cheese and then add up to 5 additional items, or get the “Special” and get 6! That’s my favorite…the works!

There are four draft beers, no bottles, to choose from by the glass or pitcher.

Big Ed’s has been mentioned on many national sports shows and many sports stars, and other celebrities have visited there and left banners and photos that adorn the 18-foot walls. There is an eclectic mix of autographed footballs, baseballs, and military memorabilia hanging there or in locked showcases. You could spend an hour just reading the graffiti on the stairs down to the restrooms, or looking at the signatures and dedications local schools and universities have made to Big Ed.

Some of the most important items hanging around are the paraphernalia from military units -- Blue Angels, Marines, Navy -- decorate the walls. Big Ed served in Vietnam as a Marine himself!

Big Ed’s is actually internationally famous (Google and see) and is one the “must visits” when coming to the Knoxville/Oak Ridge, Tennessee area.

High school kids have always worked “behind the glass” making the fresh pizzas for Big Ed. Many have earned their way on to college with a job tossing pizzas in the air at Big Ed’s.

Big Ed died in 1998, but the traditions continue with son David.

Big Ed crafted the cost of operating his business by providing only the barest of amenities – pizza comes hot on an aluminum tray, but you have to pulled the molten pieces off onto 6” paper (thin) plates and saw off bites (until it cools) with a plastic fork! Nothing fancy here except the taste of the pizza!

Going into Big Ed’s is like going back in time for me. I used to go to this same place (called something else then) with my parents when they went out dancing around 1949-51. I was 3 or 4 years old and I remember them holding me up between them as they danced. Gees, I wish I could remember the music – one was probably "Good Night Irene" – and get more of a visual recollection, but I only see the three-headed dancers!


Anonymous said...

A Much Deserved, And True Review Of A Classic Place !!
Love The Pics Too...
I Get To Eat There A Few Times A Year.... Always A Treat !!!

K Whitaker
London Ky

Bob said...

Just need to leave a correction. Big Ed was a Marine in World War II. His son David may have served in Vietnam, but Big Ed was a World War II veteran.

Anonymous said...

I am from MS and had just gotten out of the Navy as a corpsman in 1992 and was visiting my parents who had recently moved to Gatlinburg. I went downtown in Gatlinburg looking for some pizza and asked this kid on the street where was a pizza place and he said you have to go to Big Ed's in Oak Ridge. Having nothing else better to do, I drove an hour there and eventually found it and ordered the pizza. It was delicious! I told Big Ed that the pizza was great and also that I had just gotten out of the Navy and he went behind the counter and gave me a free tee shirt. Later I went to U.T. and always freqented his restaurant. The only thing I could ever complain about was those tiny paper plates you have to use. As I moved away, I still remember that pizza and the atmosphere of that restaurant. So much history on the walls.

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