Starting small is always a good idea in the restaurant business. R&B Brick Oven Pizza started with a minimal menu and almost no name recognition. Five years later it has evolved into one of the top, if not the very best, pizza places on the Coast.
There are 10 specialty pizzas to choose from, but with more than two dozen ingredients available, and a build-your-own option, the possibilities are almost endless.
I went all in and had a 10-inch Trash Can pizza ($10.99). It is the top of the line, with 17 toppings, and they are, I assure you, piled high. If you want to step down just a tad, the Kitchen Sink has a measly dozen toppings, but even if you go all out and get the 16-inch, it will set you back only $15.99.
Piling the ingredients on, and keeping the price down, does not guarantee a great pizza. The oven is the first priority to get it right. A wimpy home oven that tops out at 500 degrees just won’t get it, if it’s not pushing 800, it’s hardly cooking at all. The oven at R&B is a handmade brick oven, that when fully stoked will exceed 1,000 degrees! What makes this oven even better is that it is wood-fired, not gas. It imparts a slightly smoky flavor, just a hint, not overpowering at all, and the extreme temperature ensures an amazingly crispy crust.
What seals the deal on the best pizza is quality ingredients and technique. R&B uses fresh, local ingredients, everything hand cut, crispy and fresh. The sauces, bread, dough and just about everything that comes out of this kitchen is made from scratch. Pizza dough? Made from scratch, hand tossed. Tomato sauce? From scratch. French bread? From scratch. What about the S’mores specialty desserts? Not only made from scratch, but even the marshmallows are homemade.
I just can’t write about this place without mentioning the handcrafted bread ($6.99 to $8.49). The breadsticks, apple caramel crumb, chocolate chip and peanut butter varieties are good, but the hand twisted knots are over the top. I had the old standard garlic bread with a red sauce dip and it was amazing.
The wings are first rate, there are a few salads, and a pasta dinner, and all are good and keep to the same standards of excellence. But, really? If you come to this place you better dive into one of the hand-crafted pizzas. There are a few picnic tables if you just can’t wait, but most people get the pizza to-go, or delivery.
When you are in the mood for a killer good pizza, head to R&B Brick Oven Pizza, just about 10 minutes north of Gulfport.
R&B Brick Oven Pizza
Where: 19341 U.S. 49, Saucier
Hours: 4 to 9 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday; noon to 8 p.m. Sunday