I felt like I was in a scene from Friends as I curled up on the overstuffed sofa at Hill City Pizza with six of my own good friends. We ordered martinis and imported beers and red wine as we caught up and laughed loudly because we could actually hear what each other were saying.
"What? I'm sorry, what?" Usually I just resort to nodding my head enthusiastically in agreement and hope whoever's talking didn't just ask if I thought they were miserable failures. Seriously, I can't remember the last time I was in a bar and could actually understand any comment on the first go.
The bar is officially closed during the day, but is unofficially open to small fry (anyone under the age of 21) who want to shoot pool or just stretch their legs. After four, its adults only, so you don't have to worry about howling babies when you unwind with your glass of wine.
This place is beautiful, with high ceilings and tables tucked up to banquettes along the walls, making for cozy seating. The In-Town Gallery displays art on the walls, and all the beautiful paintings are for sale. The new menu is fantastic and the staff is great, as is new manager Ben Keyes.
Ben has started bringing in live music on the weekends, mainly local bands, and is open to anyone interested in performing. "It's almost like an open mike sort of thing, but I'm approaching musicians about playing here," he says.
This bar is so appealing people have approached him about renting it out. But Ben wouldn't hear of it. "You don't have to rent it. Just come and eat and drink, and you can have the space at no charge," he says. It's perfect for almost any function I can think of. When doctors conduct review classes there, Ben has it set up like a classroom. When kids have birthday parties during the day, it's transformed into the perfect party room. My mind is spinning as I'm thinking family reunions, rehearsal dinners, milestone birthday dinners......
Hmmmmm. I have over 30 people on my husband's side of the family and how easy would it be to all meet up there for pizza and beer? Which brings up the pizza. It's good. I LOVE the crust, and I'm particular. It's light and chewy at the same time, not greasy and not too bready.
My friends and I finally all leave our cozy Friends-like coffee shop corner in Hill City, and meander over to a table to dine. There are eight of us, each one more headstrong than the last. We are a work-out. We demand separate tickets and half and half pizzas and the dressing on the sides of our salads.
And the folks at Hill City Pizza treat us like we are adorable, and low-maintenance and just as cute as Rachel and Monica and Phoebe. What more could you want?
PS (I can't imagine that you'd want to dine anywhere else, but remember, Hill City Pizza caters too!)
(Ferris Robinson can be contacted at email@example.com)