Like Hall & Oates, Lucy and Ricky, and Beavis and Butt-Head, there's just something classic about the combination of pizza and beer.
On a sweltering Texas day, the thought of knocking back a cold one and gorging on my favorite food of all time -- pizza -- was beyond tempting. So a place called Old School Pizza and Suds was calling my name.
The restaurant, inside an old house in Arlington, was the former home of Mi Tierra, a popular Cuban and Puerto Rican restaurant that closed after the owner moved back to Puerto Rico.
Not long after, first-time restaurateurs Kevin Baxter and Jeremy Spann snatched up the location.
That was nearly a year ago. Now, Baxter and Spann -- two former Marines -- are making use of the space and keeping it simple by offering pizza and beer. Seems like a good plan, considering the restaurant's proximity to the University of Texas at Arlington.
They've got the traditional toppings, like pepperoni, sausage, banana peppers, Canadian bacon and so on. You can order a personal size (8-inch) up to a large (16-inch).
Make your own or order from a few selections on the menu ($5.40-$22.67), like the 8-inch buffalo chicken and Alfredo pizzas ($6.63 each).
We tried one pizza with regular crust and the other with thin crust. Both included plenty of chicken and cheese and weren't overly greasy. Of the two crusts, the thin crust was a table favorite -- crispy and thin, but durable enough to hold our toppings without making a mess.
The Maverick ($8.99 for an 8-inch pie), or supreme pizza, had all the good stuff, like pepperoni, sausage, peppers, mushrooms and olives, in a light marinara.
All the ingredients seemed fresh, but the pizzas lacked any real character. I like my pizzas with nonuniform edges, cheese dripping on one side (and not the other), with toppings casually spread throughout. But hey, that's just me.
The calzones and subs are actually better than the pies. The Italian sausage calzone ($7.50) uses the same bread recipe as the pizzas, wrapped around sweet sausage (and other toppings of your choice). It's doughy-soft and filling.
The meatball sub ($7.99) includes meatballs covered in Swiss cheese and a tomato sauce. The bread is crispy on the edges, the sauce and cheese were almost impossible to contain, and the meatballs were juicy and flavorful. Now that's the character I'm talking about.
But the pizza is just one half of the lure of this joint, which is popular with students.
There is a more than decent list of brews you can try while lounging on one of the two patios -- out front or out back.
There's a beer-related special almost every day. On "Texas Tuesday," all Texas beers are on special (either $2 or $3). Chill out with the likes of a Ziegenbock ($2), St. Arnold Lawnmower ($3) and Fireman's #4 ($3). (My beer snob buddy, Mark Stevenson, insists Fireman's #4 is the "best Tejas brew in years.")
Sundays, it has an all-day happy hour; and Thursdays, the manager or bartenders select three beers to put on sale. You get the idea. These guys like beer, and they want you to like beer, too.
I found the food prices to be on the high side, especially compared to other restaurants in the UTA area. (School tuition isn't exactly cheap these days.) But the beer menu and daily specials, not to mention the calzones and subs, are worth a visit.