As summer approaches, travelers are beckoned to one of America’s premier hideaways, well known for family fun, beautiful beaches and delicious cuisine: Seaside.
Dave Rauschkolb, the forward thinking restaurateur and the owner of the now 30-year-old Bud & Alley’s Waterfront Restaurant, added a Rapido window (Italian meaning quick or rapid) to sister restaurant Pizza Bar last season making it easier for those wanting to enjoy great pizza without the wait.
The Pizza Bar was conceptualized by the cucina’s of Naples, Italy, where Rauschkolb was visiting with his wife Carol, and renowned architect and friend, Leo Casas. They discovered a wonderful cafe on the island of Ischia off the coast of Naples overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, had an a-ha moment and brought the inspiration home to Seaside, opening Pizza Bar in 2008 next to the Obe Pavilion.
In 2014 Rauschkolb’s quest for perfection led him to hire longtime local chef Phil McDonald who had just returned to South Walton after honing his culinary skills with some of the best restaurants in New York. It is an exceptional collaboration, as McDonald and Rauschkolb have elevated the cuisine and creative preparations offered.
The pizza is still the top priority with the staff making fresh batches of pizza dough and mozzarella cheese by hand daily. Each 11-inch Neapolitan-style pizza pie is created to order and topped with local produce, along with imported meats and cheeses for the most authentic taste.
The pizza is hand shaped and baked in a wood-fired brick oven, stoked with southern oak at temperatures nearing 950 degrees, creating a thin crust that is cooked and served in minutes. “Our menu showcases those rustic dishes. I’m all about keeping the food simple, seasonal and delicious.” McDonald explained.
In the pale green board and batten building, staff greets customers though the fire red Dutch door, and sells the perfectly charred wood fired pies as they exit the recently installed 2nd pizza oven. General manager, Jay Etheridge, says, “The Margherita & Felino Salami with fresh mozzarella and basil is very popular, but the the Jalapeno & Pepperoni is also making waves. Topping the pizza with our house made pickled jalapenos really makes a difference. The Rapido window has also shown success in that we can provide even better service to our seated patrons that are ordering off the full menu!”
A tin roof shaded common area just steps away allows hungry diners to enjoy their carry out in Seaside splendor, or they can kick off their flip-flops and savor a slice by the surf.
A bevvy of refreshing drinks are available, from tall tumblers of iced cold sweet tea, to imported waters, domestic and craft beer, as well as a fine wine list of perfectly chilled red and whites.
Where wind bent magnolias meet raggedy palmettos, enjoy a taste of Italy in old Florida style at Pizza Bar located on 30A. For more information on Pizza Bar or To-Go orders, call (850) 231-3113.