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SQZBX Brewery & Pizza in Hot Springs

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Hot Springs has no shortage of quality pizza options, so when I was in town recently for a day of food stops in the Spa City, I made sure to hit up SQZBX Brewery & Pizza. It had been a couple of years since my previous visit to the pizzeria, so my takeout order was long overdue.

The name SQZBX (or Squeeze Box) refers to an accordion. Several of them are proudly displayed along the wall of the shotgun-style pizza parlor. On this afternoon, the restaurant is filled with happy patrons and there is an energy in the place that is palpable. Fortunately, my two pizzas—the Margherita and Veggie—were ready upon arrival. My initial reaction was to toss the pies in the car and hightail it back to Little Rock. But this is pizza and if I’m truly doing my due diligence as a food writer, the prudent action would be to try a slice at its optimal point.

Glad I did. While I am not the biggest fan of fresh arugula as a pizza topping, SQZBX more than made it work on their Veggie pie. Red and green bell peppers resided on the pizza, as did mushrooms, red onions, fresh basil, and some delicious roasted garlic. Catching a bit of the soft cloves with every few bites was a treat. The other pizza, a Margherita with fresh mozzarella and basil, proved every just as delightful.

Truth be told, I imagine any topping or combination of toppings would work on SQZBX’s crust, which resides in the middle between thin and thick and includes those insanely addictive crust bubbles. You know the ones I am talking about. They get a touch charred and are perfect for peeling off and consuming moments before you devour the rest of the slice. Every pizza needs to have at least one defining trait, and SQZBZ’s crust bubbles are that.

The restaurant’s menu also includes a variety of appetizers, salads, subs and even house-made brews. Those may very well be worth your time but going to SQZBX and not getting a pizza or two would be a mistake. There are 11 house pizzas, including Cheese, Pepperoni, Greek, Margherita, Veggie, Vegan Dream, Ham and Pineapple, Mushroom and Wide Load. The latter is SQZBX’s version of a supreme and comes loaded with meats and veggies. If none of those choices sound appealing, patrons can also build their own pizza with a mix-and-match of toppings. Sizes come in: Tiny (8-inch), Medium (13-inch), and Large (18-inch). For obvious reasons, I suggest going with the large, but folks with gluten intolerance will be interested in the gluten-free crust, which only comes in 13-inches.

Finally, nothing beats eating at the restaurant, but if you decide to go the takeout route as I did, just know that SQZBX’s pizza reheats quite well in the oven (400 degrees for 15 minutes) or in a cast-iron skillet on the stovetop. Heck, you could just eat it cold.

Either way, SQZBX makes some top-notch pizza.

SQZBX Brewery & Pizza
236 Ouachita Ave. (Hot Springs)
Phone: 501-609-0609
Hours: Sunday-Thursday 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Friday & Saturday 11 a.m.-10 p.m.

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Kevin Shalin is a food writer living in Little Rock with his wife, Sara, and two daughters, Natalie (12) and Sydney (7). He started his own blog, The Mighty Rib, seven years ago while living in Houston. Six months later, he began writing for Eating Our Words, a Houston Press food blog. After a year in Boston, he moved to Little Rock, where he’s been for almost five years. During that time, he’s written for Little Rock Soiree, Rock City Eats, Treatsie, and Bourbon and Boots.

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