Truelove’s Pizza and Grits

I have lived my entire life south of the Mason-Dixon line, which has infused a certain sensibility in me. While it’s true that I was raised by Midwesterners (read: Yankees), and that thanks to marrying a gospel singer I have traveled all over the dang world, I am DEFINITELY what you’d call ‘Southern-identified.’ I have a deep affinity and understanding of the land, the accents, the food and the, well, quirkiness of the South. I love to experience all kinds of different countries and cultures, but I never truly feel at home anyplace else.

That’s part of the reason why moving out to “the country” holds such appeal to me. I’m definitely a city girl, and I don’t ever want to get too far from a well-stocked supermarket or a good Thai restaurant, but the idea of living in a place with a little acreage and a town square sounds like heaven to me. Maybe this is my mid-life crisis! (OK, I realize that to qualify as ‘mid-life’ that means I plan on living to be 110, but work with me here.)

At any rate, in my opinion the quirky factor does go up in direct proportion to how far out of town you live. For example– big cities definitely have weird people in them, but it’s a different kind of weird from the small town version. Or maybe it’s just our attitude about them. Here’s a quote from one of my favorite TV characters of all time that sums it up beautifully:

“I’m saying, this is the South! And we’re proud of our crazy people. We don’t hide them up in the attic, we bring ‘em right down to the living room and show ‘em off.

See, Phyllis, no one in the South ever asks if you have crazy people in your family– they just ask what side they’re on.”

— Julia Sugarbaker, “Designing Women”

Which brings me to the title of this post.                                                                              (Please note: I am certainly not inferring that any crazy people are involved in the aforementioned business endeavor. Do not contact your attorney.)

I first told you guys about this restaurant back in the fall, when I was house-hunting in Columbia and drove past the sign. It wasn’t open yet, but I was already intrigued. I’m not a big fan of grits, didn’t grow up eating them, but on my forays into low country cuisine I did discover some particularly wonderful versions of shrimp and grits that I loved. And hey, who doesn’t like homemade pizza?

Anyway, a couple of days ago my friend and realtor Lynnie (without her chicken purse this time, sadly) were in Columbia looking around (haven’t fallen in love with another house, thank God, but did find an interesting prospect…) and we decided this was the day to check out Truelove’s Pizza and Grits. IT WAS A REVELATION. Seriously. The pizza crust was exactly the way I like it, kinda thin and crispy but not cracker-y. And the grits were unbelievable– creamy, chock full of cheese with bits of tomato floating around and a perfectly proportioned amount of red pepper flakes that added just a hint of heat without being overpowering. It has only been two days and I am already craving them again! The prices were great, and the people running the place could not have been nicer even after I spilled half a glass of sweet tea all over the beverage station. Oops.

So… if you ever find yourself within driving distance of Columbia, TN, I’m telling you, GO. Even if it wasn’t as delicious as it is, it would still be worth the trip just to say you’ve eaten there!

Here’s a little local news piece on it– sorry about the stupid 15 second commercial, I couldn’t figure out a way to cut that part out–

(Hungry yet?)

18 Responses

  1. chillybean

    Warning: Slightly inappropriate comments to follow!
    1) I am a grits virgin. Never had them. Still not sure if I want to try them.
    2) I love the bearded man’s comment: I don’t much care for the plain ones and I’d never had the fancy ones though. Too funny.
    3) Does the blonde newscaster on the far left look like she is showing off her boobs? The tan in the middle of her shirt makes her look slightly topless.

    I am sorry for bringing down the high moral ground of your blog with my northern crass comments. See #1 – I am not a southern girl at all and apparently lack cyber manners.

    :) Colleen

  2. tori

    chillybean: (Honey– remember who you’re talking to. You would have to REALLY WORK HARD in order for me to consider you ‘inappropriate’…) 1. Next time we’re all in Arkansas, ask Liz to make you some of her cheese garlic grits– could possibly convert you. 2. And how much do you LOVE the accents?! 3. True fact: Female Southern newscasters must sign a contract that they will show a certain amount of cleavage/boobage per newscast. Ok, not really.

  3. Phyllis S

    Southern Born and Southern Bred

    Now my mouth is watering!

    We eat grits in some form at least 4 or 5 times a week, a staple in our house.
    Will put this on my Tennessee bucket list.

  4. tori

    PhyllisS: I swear, I thought of you! The grits had that certain Louisiana touch of “you have to have a LITTLE bit of heat or it’s just not food!”

  5. Phyllis S


  6. auburn60

    I could eat A LOT of cheese grits…and I don’t care what you put in them. Would not have put them with pizza but I’ll try anything.

    My husband told a whole table-full of “midwesterners” (yankees) one time this long, involved
    story about how grits grow on trees that will only grow in the South because of our special blend of sandy and acidic soil and how hard it is to actually pick A GRIT out of the tree, resulting in a short harvest season, and how there are rows and rows of grit trees-as far as the eye can see-in his hometown. They bought every bit of it. Yep, the man can spin a yarn.

  7. Barbara M. Lloyd

    Don’t know if this is gonna “take” here….or if I must go to our old stomping grounds to reply. Actually, it took shrimp ‘n grits to get me turned on to grits. Now, I like them about every way they can be fixed and I’m gonna try and figure out the complete recipe for this one. I’m thinking I should just throw away all of my many cookbooks and just follow you around.

    And the video was funny!

  8. Barbara M. Lloyd

    Oh for goodness sake, I’ve ended up in those old stomping grounds. I’ve got it now but have to admit I had a couple minutes of “stupid.” As if you couldn’t tell.

  9. tori

    auburn60: My sister Liz makes a mean garlic cheese grits… And that story is HILARIOUS!

    Momma Lloyd: So glad you are in our stomping grounds! Yep, shrimp and grits are absolutely what converted me, too– they are SO good.

  10. bettyrwoodward

    Love pizza! Only once tried grits when we were in South Carolina but they were only plain and I really didn’t like them. However I would be willing to try the flavoured ones. Maybe next year went we are over in the US again!

  11. rachelbaker

    … and there was I thinking grits were something to do with breakfast. Never tried them (obviously). I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have fallen for Auburn’s husbands story though :-)

    The pizza looks goooood.

    I was once in a ‘little local news piece’ in America (seriously).

  12. rachelbaker

    So, I just ordered in pizza for dinner – and you are completely responsible!

  13. jonny

    ‘You can’t question people’s taste.’ Well, you could with the look she gave and tone while delivering that line !! I was turned onto grits when I as in the Army. Had them every morning for breakfast = ) Plain, with lots of butter. Many are now wanting me to visit Tennessee again. If that happens, I’ll have to stop at Columbia again !! = )

  14. jonny

    Oh, and I live for chillybean’s Northern ‘Say it!s’ = )

  15. jonny

    Rachel – congrats on the ‘little local news piece’ !!

    “Oh, I beg your pardon. You’re from the South!”

    I’ll have to use this bit on Tori, should ever meet = )

  16. tori

    jonny– I loved that clip! I have vague memories of seeing Dinah Shore’s talk show that she did in the 70’s … Yes, I AM that old.

  17. jonny

    Actually, I do too !! And I still have a soft spot for Groucho, even if we did have a falling out at one point = /

  18. Barbara M. Lloyd

    I think I need to explain, my confusion was that I posted on FaceBook and did not know if it would transfer to here in BabyBloomers…..and it did. Thus, my old stompin grounds. I came back and read what I had typed and it was clear as mud….even to me.

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