Bob’s Brick Oven is at 8009 Highway 27 North in Rock Spring. Hours are Monday from 4-8 p.m., Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 9 p.m. Call 706-375-4400 to learn more.
In a state with some of the most diverse terrain in the country, from beaches to mountains to farmlands — and tastes just as varied — at least one local restaurant stands out.
Bob's Brick Oven was recently recognized by the Georgia Department of Economic Development for the Rock Spring restaurant's primero pesto, which is now included in Georgia Eats' 100 Plates Locals Love. Georgia Eats is the official state culinary guide.
"There were over 600 nominations taken at explorega.org," said Economic Development Project Manager Janet Cochran. "A panel of judges narrowed it down to the 100 plates listed in the book. We have flavor tours and interviews with chefs and recipes and articles about Georgia food [in the book as well]."
"I'm extremely excited," said Bob's Brick Oven owner Bob Watts. "To be way out in a rural market and to have this recognition is an honor."
Though the eatery has changed immensely — going from a food truck operation to the sit-down, full-service restaurant it is today — it has cultivated its award-winning following in just three years.
Perhaps that is based on all the cultivation Watts does in-house.
The family operation of four has not only grown the business, they grow a lot of the ingredients used.
"Pesto is a basil based product," Watts said in reference to the primero pesto. "My hydroponic setup [in the front of the restaurant] has basil on the bottom. I grow basil, thyme, oregano, cilantro, tomatoes, bell peppers, jalapenos, ghost peppers and habanero peppers. I'm in the process of building a greenhouse so I can grow all of these year-round. There's something about having that option and source [and] that my hands have been in the dirt to make it happen.
"It's about so much more than pizza."
He also home-makes root beer and ice cream to serve at Bob's Brick Oven, which offers a variety of wood-fired pizzas cooked in an Italian oven.
"We started with a wood oven on a trailer and we went to music festivals, cancer walks, fireworks events and craft shows. We did that on weekends," said Watts, who until the Financial Crisis of 2008 also worked in finance. "In 2008 it was like someone flipped a switch because it ceased to exist. It was the greatest blessing I never would have asked for.
"I love my life. I get to create and share with others. It is that sharing with others that brings happiness. Start to finish, from a seed to seeing the fruit of that seed coming out of an oven on a table, there's nothing to compare to that."