By STACEY PATTON WALLACE
When I was growing up in Alexander City (“Eleck” City to the locals), we didn’t have many restaurants at which to dine. We had Cecil’s (now closed), Lake Hill Restaurant (now closed), Pizza Hut, Western Sizzlin’, Hardee’s and various other local fast food establishments.
Now, I love my hometown, but if I were writing my column for The Alexander City Outlook, the local paper, I’d only have my job for a month or two because of the scarcity of restaurants.
Thankfully, that is not a problem in Lee County because we have numerous restaurants at which to dine. You can eat out in Auburn, Opelika, Smiths Station, Beauregard and Beulah and won’t run out of places for quite awhile.
Recently, Jacob Burdette, our wonderful youth minister at Central Baptist Church, told me I should try a really good restaurant called Pizza D’Action at 8018 Lee Road 379 in Salem. Therefore, Mike and I hit the trail.
Our server Charlie was absolutely wonderful; he was so welcoming, patient and helpful.
Charlie told us that the restaurant had been in Salem for over 20 years. In fact, the current owners, Tim and Vicky Clark, live just up the road.
We found out that Charlie attended Beulah High School and was taught by Sue Larkin, who once taught with Mike and me in LaGrange. The old cliché is true: It is indeed a small world.
Pizza D’Action is a cozy, diplomatic eatery. That is, both Auburn and Alabama were represented on the wall. Also, as a retired English teacher, I really enjoyed the play on words of the restaurant’s name.
Mike and I ordered the garlic cheesy bites with marinara sauce for our appetizer. While Mike ordered a small chef’s salad, I selected a small garden salad. We were about to order sub sandwiches when we spied a luscious-looking (again, I love alliteration) pizza being taken to a table.
“What kind of pizza is that?” I asked Charlie. “A meat amore,” he said. Sold. We then ordered a medium one.
Let me just say, if our salads were small, I couldn’t have lifted a large one. They were HUGE, fresh and delicious. Also, our garlic cheesy bites were really great. And the meat amore? It was mouth-wateringly amazing with not only meat but an abundance of cheese. And you can never have too much cheese because life is short. As Mike said, “I’d gladly eat it again.” That makes two of us.
Besides our wonderful garlic cheesy bites appetizer, the restaurant also offers diners: cheese bread, fried mushrooms, cheese sticks and bread sticks. Also, besides our amazing pizza, diners may choose from a variety of sub sandwiches, lasagna, spaghetti, chicken Alfredo and cini minis for dessert. Make the drive to Pizza D’ Action. It is definitely worth the trip.
As Mike and I were leaving the restaurant, we had a great surprise. Mike opened the door for a young woman, who was carrying two takeout pizzas; we started chatting with her.
The young woman looked very familiar to us. “Did you go to school in LaGrange?” I asked her.
“I did,” she said. Mike asked, “Did you attend Long Cane Middle School?” “Yes,” she said.
“I thought you were one of our babies,” I said.
It turned out that both Mike and I had taught Katherine 22 years ago. I knew her face, but I couldn’t remember her name out of the 3,000 to 4,000 students I’ve taught. For Mike, the number is about 6,000 to 7,000 since he taught different students each nine weeks. However, I do remember a sweet, smart, hardworking young girl. Katherine told us that she is now 34 and works as a teacher at a day care center. We told her that we knew she would be successful.
As I’ve probably mentioned before, teachers never get to see what their students become. Unlike workers at KIA, we don’t see the finished product roll off the assembly line. Therefore, when we get to see a former student all grown up and successful, it is a special blessing to us as retired teachers.
Pizza D’Action is closed on Sunday and is currently closed on Monday. The restaurant is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET.
Pizza D’Action makes the grade with an A+ from this retired English teacher. Remember, “Pooh-sized” people NEVER lie about food. Enjoy!
Stacey Patton Wallace, who retired from teaching language arts for 30 years, is a professional diner. Her column, “Making the Grade,” will appear each week in The Observer. Stacey may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.