UNIVERSITY PIZZA AND DELI
Address: 430 Vine St.
Hours: Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Closed Sunday.
Conveniently located a couple of blocks from my apartment, University Pizza and Deli has a warm, peppery fragrance that I’ve enjoyed during many of my walks. A few nights ago, when visiting friends on the Southside, I had sampled the restaurant’s cuisine via delivery, which I told owner Akram Musa during my recent visit inside the restaurant.
“I remember your order!” he said, recalling it with superb accuracy.
Indeed, UPD serves not just a warm fragrance, but also warm service — not to mention some of the best tabbouleh I’ve tasted in the city. Though the restaurant specializes in Mediterranean cuisine, the menu includes many American favorites such as subs, clubs, burgers and, most notably, pizza.
“The pizza is beautiful,” Akram said.
Recently, UPD brought back its popular Hawaiian pizza.
“We make everything from scratch: our own pizza dough, our own pizza sauce — everything,” Akram said.
On the Mediterranean side, the restaurant offers a variety of shawarmas, kebabs and plates, such as the “combo plate,” featuring a choice of delectably seasoned and shaved gyro meat served with rice, hummus and pita, along with chopped tomatoes, English cucumbers and red onions tossed in lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil.
In my frequent walks past the UPD storefront, I have observed that its clientele is as varied as its menu, attracting a mixture of professionals and students. The restaurant is located on University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s campus, and Akram said he is pushing to have UTC extend its Mocs Bucks program, in which students (or their parents) can put money on a special card to be spent at various campus locations — to include UPD, so students could then use those funds at the restaurant. Akram said he hopes to give students more diversity in their meals — not to mention convenience, as UPD does free delivery anywhere on UTC’s campus.
And did I already mention UPD’s tabbouleh? I’d consider re-enrolling in college for that alone.