The terms of the "Shack Attack" challenge hang in a small frame near the register at The Pizza Shack on Summer Avenue, and the feat to beat is this: Eat a large Shack Attack pizza by yourself, in an hour or less, and the pizza is free. Plus, your photo is added to the restaurant's wall of fame.
So far, there are no photos on the wall, and here's why: The Shark Attack's 16-inch pie comes loaded with pepperoni, sausage, ham, bacon, red onions, shredded steak, pulled pork, and a drizzle of spicy barbecue sauce.
"Six out of eight slices is the closest we've come to somebody finishing," says Terry Bomar, who runs the front of the restaurant while his wife, Daniela Wogh, handles the kitchen.
The Pizza Shack 's first customers were construction workers who started the Shark Attack challenge as a friendly rivalry with one another. "Eventually, we embraced it," Bomar says. "The Shack Attack will feed a family of four. For $19, it's a lot of value."
Value is a winning attribute for the restaurant, which opened in March near the Lowe's parking lot at Perkins and Summer. A slice with one topping sells for $2.50. But the menu's good value doesn't scrimp on taste. "We call our pizzas Southern-style," Bomar says. "They are dense and filling ... lots of cheese, heavy on the flavor."
Bomar created the dough recipe and Wogh came up with the sauce. Together, the dough and sauce are the foundation for the restaurant's mix-and-match menu. For instance, "The Trinity" combines grilled chicken, bacon, and ranch dressing. (It's a customer favorite!) Put the combination on dough, and it's a pizza or sub. Combine it with romaine lettuce and tomatoes, and it's an oven-toasted salad.
Open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., the Pizza Shack is baking 80 to 120 pizzas every day, a pace accelerated since mid-September when Channel 5 viewers voted the restaurant the best place to eat on Summer Avenue.
"Andy Wise announced it on the news, we came in the next day, and we had 54 missed calls between 10:18 and midnight," Bomar says. "It's been crazy ever since."
The Pizza Shack, 4523 Summer (680-7900)
The summer season may be over, but don't let cool temperatures keep you from buying local produce. Area farmers markets, including this summer's newcomer in Collierville, are open through October 31st.
At the Collierville Farmers Market, located east of Main Street off the town square, cool-weather crops are available alongside the last of the summer veggies. Vendors are selling mustard and turnip greens, tender lettuces, butternut squash, turnips, sweet potatoes, cabbages, radishes, gourds, and pumpkins.
All market vendors farm within 100 miles of Collierville, including Geneva Denney (no relation to this reporter) with Lor Farms in Middleton, Tennessee, who seems most proud of her fresh peas, which are available until the first frost.
"We sell lady peas, purple hulls, green butter beans, speckled butter beans, wild goose, whippoorwills, and white, black, and brown crowders," Denney says.
Denney's favorites are purple hulls and lady peas, but the following recipe is delicious with any variety:
Boil a smoked turkey wing or turkey leg in water until the meat falls off. Clean the peas, dice an onion, and throw them in the pot. When the peas are tender, serve them over rice with a little of the liquid.
Denney says,"You will never make peas any other way once you try this."
The Collierville market has an added treat: Mensi's Dairy Bar is located across the street. The longtime walk-up restaurant sells burgers, ice cream, and shakes, but Collierville resident Missy Feyerherm goes right for the hot-fudge cake.
"It's two pieces of chocolate cake with whipped cream, chocolate syrup, and ice cream squished in the middle," she says. "It's the best."