My choice was the daily special pie topped with house made roasted fennel sausage, roasted crimini mushrooms, and red onion. The first bite of sausage is an immediate hit of intensity, ever so slight heat, and full fennel flavor. Red onion is always a perfect condiment with meats, and the mushrooms were pre-roasted just enough to give them great texture. Other meats like felino salami make for great pies as well, and the fresh mozz is also worthy. The underlying sauce is flawlessly simple.
These guys are cranking out over a hundred pies per day even at the slowest times of year, and the all wood burning Woodstone oven is kept a little low to keep a consistent, but not super-fast cook. The crust doesn’t have a very open crumb, or a lot of char on the bottom, and works well as an enjoyable delivery vehicle for some great flavors. Nothing about the crust is a big negative for me, but it might not wow someone looking for a Neapolitan pilgrimage. Overall, this pizza is very Italian and would hold its own against many good pies in Italy outside of Naples.
Seaside in general is pretty expensive; Bud & Alley’s 11” pizzas are in the $15 range, with a gratuity added on take out pies. The Seaside experience is always worth the expense to me, and eating in the restaurant is most fun in the evenings when it’s crowded. A full Italian menu and bar also add to the draw. My stops here have become a little less frequent simply because the nearby area actually has competition doing interesting things with pizza. Currently this area of Florida is the real pizza gem of the Gulf Coast, and Bud & Alley’s Pizza Bar is one of the top attractions.
Seaside Florida’s storied Bud & Alley's Restaurant launched their wood fired pizza offshoot in 2009 to much anticipation, and it has been one of my regular stops ever since. Busy pizzaioli are steadily assembling pies using an abundance of Mediterranean ingredients.
Italian design, and sea foam Florida beach colors meet in the kitchen which could easily be mistaken for one in Italy. The subway tiled walls, matte finished metal lamps and matching bar chairs create a cohesive atmosphere that works for best of both sensibilities. A huge display of San Marzano tomatoes lines the wall to the left of the oven, underneath them lies a mound of the fresh plum variety, and other ingredients are stored in uniform white ceramic bowls. Everything is fresh, out in the open, and the fact that no modern prep coolers are visible lends to old world Italian charm. Perfect mid-February beach weather on this visit has the restaurant full of sandy toed residents and guests.
2236 E. County Hwy 30-A, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459