We’ve tried a lot of pizza during our travels, but Deluca’s Pizza is unlike any other pie on the planet.
So what makes this beloved Italian joint special? After all, the “Best Pizza in Arkansas” doesn’t exactly sound like a crowning achievement.
Today, we’re exploring this Midwestern favorite, so you’ll see why it’s worth sinking your teeth into.
The Story of Deluca’s Pizza
Anthony Valinoti, the founder of Deluca’s Pizza, was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. He left his corporate job in downtown NYC to travel. After visiting Miami, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles, he grew tired of searching for his favorite childhood food. Nobody seemed to make it the way he liked it.
Sometimes when you want something done right, you’ve got to do it yourself. So, in 2013, that’s what Mr. Valinoti did. He perfected his dough and formed an incredible dream team of individuals to build his own business.
He went on to teach himself the ins and outs of the business. After several years, they’re making more dough than Valinoti thought possible. The locals have supported the establishment and welcomed it as a part of their community.
His desire to offer the best possible product is evident in every bite. This is the place to go if you want an authentic taste of New York outside of the Big Apple.
Where Is Deluca’s Pizza?
Deluca’s Pizza is on Central Avenue in Hot Springs, Arkansas. The town is home to Hot Springs National Park, the oldest park managed by the National Park Service. It’s approximately a five-minute walk from the visitor center. You can visit with park rangers, grab a bite to eat, and then walk the beautiful streets of this great town in search of dessert.
In January 2023, Valinoti announced that there’d be a second location. However, the new spot in Little Rock would be approximately an hour away.
Valinoti told ABC 7 KATV he’d split his time between the two stores. He aims to deliver the same quality and experience guests expect in Hot Springs. The new addition should have opened in the summer of 2023. Unfortunately, a late March 2023 tornado caused delays and pushed the opening back to November.
Why Is Deluca’s Pizza So Great?
When it comes to making delicious food, it’s all about the ingredients and the process of putting them together. Deluca’s Pizza stands out from the rest because its dough is handmade. And once it’s gone, it’s gone. They generally make enough for 75 pies on a given day and approximately 100 on Saturdays.
They’ve perfected the art of crafting dough. After setting the toppings, they place it into a scorching oven. This creates a delicious crust that’s crispy but not burned.
Anthony adjusted his ingredients time after time until he created the perfect recipe. He uses a mixture of popular Italian components with fresh goods from Arkansas. It’s an incredible combination that compliments each other well.
However, what truly separates Tony from his competitors is that Deluca’s team puts everything they have into preparing their pies. They really cook with love!
Does Deluca’s Pizza Offer Other Menu Items?
If you’re not a pizza fan, we won’t hold it against you. Luckily, neither does Deluca’s Pizza. They have a rather extensive menu that includes more than just cheesy pies. Thankfully, these items live up to their lofty standards. No matter what you try, we’re sure it won’t disappoint.
Like most Italian joints, you’ll find a large selection of pasta. You can get cavatelli, tagliatelle, rigatoni alla vodka, and of course, spaghetti and meatballs. In addition, there’s a variety of appetizers to help get your meal started. Some of their most popular options are meatballs, mozzarella with prosciutto, and focaccia sticks.
If you’re trying to stick to your diet or eat healthy, there are plenty of salad options. The arugula and caesar are relatively standard, or you can kick it up a notch and try Scotty & Shannon McClard’s Chopped Wedge or Anthony Bourdain’s Blue Cheese Iceberg Wedge with bacon.
Best Places for Dessert Near Deluca’s Pizza
Once you wrap up your meal, complete it with dessert. Luckily, there are a few great places within walking distance to cure your sweet tooth.
Kringles and Kones
This Christmas-themed sweet shop proves Santa likes more than just cookies. Walking through the door, you instantly teleport into a magical holiday wonderland. They’re most famous for their Danish Kringles and soft-serve ice cream.
Kringles and Kones makes their best product, the soft serve, on location. No matter what you order, asking for it “Santa’s Way” adds your choice of soft serve scoop. Just don’t forget to drop your letter to Old Saint Nick in their mailbox.
It’s only a 15-minute walk from Deluca’s to Kringles and Kones. It’s the perfect distance to walk off your dinner and make room for dessert.
Smallcakes Hot Springs
Smallcakes Hot Springs perfectly balances sweetness with flavor. The result is one of the best cupcakes you’ll ever experience. These gourmet cupcakes are the perfect way to finish off your meal. They not only look good but taste good too.
In addition to cupcakes, Smallcakes serves milkshakes, ice cream, cookies, and icing shots. They have something for even the sweetest tooth in your group. Their store is approximately three miles north of Deluca’s, so you may want to drive.
Mamoo’s Paradice Cream
Mamoo’s Paradice Cream claims to be the only homemade ice cream in downtown Hot Springs. In addition to delicious ice cream, they also create waffle cones, roasted nuts, and various fresh-baked goodies. If you enjoy old-school candy, you’ll be in heaven here.
One great thing about Mamoo’s Paradice Cream is that it’s only a 12-minute walk from Deluca’s. Whether you choose an ice cream cone, a milkshake, or one of their other sweet treats, this is a great spot to stop for dessert. They even have some indoor dining available to relax and enjoy every bite.
Is Deluca’s the Best Pizza in Arkansas?
When it comes to the best pizza in Arkansas, it doesn’t get much better than Deluca’s. There’s something unbeatable about their fresh ingredients, attention to detail, and passion for their customers. You’ll taste the difference it makes in the finished product.
But be careful. It’s so good it may ruin your ability to settle for ordinary pies from now on.
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