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Here in Arkansas, much like the rest of the country, pizza maintains its status as one of the most popular food items around. From small towns to big cities, one thing you can count on is that there is never a shortage of pizza options. However, very few spots serve up what I would rate as elite, mind-numbingly good pizza.
Well, count Benton’s Valhalla Restaurant & Axe Throwing as one of those places. And while I cannot vouch for the axe throwing angle of the operation, I can tell you the pizza at the Viking-themed restaurant in the heart of downtown is some of the very best you will find in The Natural State.
Valhalla Restaurant is a fast-casual, order-at-the-counter set-up. Being our first visit, I was thankful for the kind cashier who happily guided us through the menu and recommended we order The Fenriz pizza, a sweet heat pie with mozzarella, Parmesan, Soppressata, Italian sausage, pepperoni, jalapeno, and spicy honey. We also got a Raider Roll as an appetizer and the Loki Turkey Sandwich.
Within about twenty minutes, the food arrived at our outdoor patio table. It was all so glorious, highlighted by an 18-inch pizza with house-made, 48-hour proofed dough cooked to a slightly charred perfection. The crust was thin and crisp, yet a little chewy as you worked your way towards the edges. Valhalla is not stingy with toppings, and given the size, the $26 price tag for The Fenriz was palatable. The Raider Roll, a playful appetizer that resembles a cinnamon roll but instead loaded with roasted garlic butter, herbs, and Parmesan, was more visually appealing than tasty. Don’t get me wrong, it was fine, but I’d rather save my carb-loading for the pizza and the sandwich.
That reminds me, do not rest on the Loki Turkey, a delightful sandwich with house-baked bread, smoked turkey, avocado, tomato, aioli, and greens. Think of it as a sophisticated Club, and, with chips, it costs $10. If you are looking for a slightly lighter lunch, the Loki is a nice option, and I imagine one of Valhalla’s salads is as well. If you don’t want to commit to an entire pizza, I believe you can even get a slice of cheese or pepperoni as a part of a lunch special.
One thing is for certain, while still fairly new, Valhalla is an absolute gem for the Benton food community. I wish it were just a little closer to Little Rock, but beggars can’t be choosers. I am thankful it is only a short drive from the capital city. Maybe next time, I will try my hand at a little axe throwing in one of their two upstairs studios that seem to be every bit as well-received as the pizza.
We shall see.
Valhalla Restaurant & Axe Throwing
224 W South Street (Benton)
Hours: Wednesday & Thursday 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Friday & Saturday 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sunday 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
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