Located in a more upscale shopping plaza off the main drag of Kingston Pike, Hard Knox is just a postage stamp of a pizzeria. A wall of double split oak flanks the entrance, with the Earthstone Oven centrally situated just behind the counter. Would it add up to the right stuff to put some of my good-pizza-in-Knoxville skepticism to rest?
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Coletta's Italian Restaurant is supposedly the place where barbecue pizza was invented. It was also claims to be the oldest restaurant in Memphis, dating back to 1923, when it introduced pizza to the city in the 1950s, and was Elvis Presley's favorite pizza. I don't doubt any of the claims. Apparently when Coletta's started serving pizza, locals had no idea what it was or how to eat it. Only when they decided to top it with something a bit more familiar did the pizza take off.
When Pizza Palace opened in 1961, it was probably the first time many Tennesseans had eaten pizza from a drive-in, and in some cases, pizza in general. While there are pizzerias all over the South, a pizza drive-in is still pretty unique. Pizza Palace was started by brothers Arthur, Al and Gus Peroulas, who immigrated from Greece and purchased a drive-in that used to sell burgers. They changed the menu but kept the drive-in and the ordering system.