Written and Photographed by Barbara King
You will want to make this eatery your new favorite, as you discover all the new shops at The Villages at Cumberland Park in Tyler. Nestled in the corner next to Bed Bath and Beyond, Rotolo’s Pizzeria beckons guests with an outdoor patio, and is perfect for a leisurely break from shopping, a quick bite, or a full-on Italian dinner.
“The restaurant has been open almost a year,” said Assistant Manager Joshua Roper, “and was the first franchise in Texas, out of a grand total of 29 sites across Louisiana, Alabama and Texas.”
In 1996, Mitch Rotolo opened the first restaurant in Baton Rouge, just a ‘pizza-throw’ away from Louisiana State University. The casual Italian restaurant has grown into a huge franchise, serving up fresh ingredients and superb service.
“We like to think of ourselves as a family-friendly sports bar, where the game is always on, and the atmosphere is friendly and laid back,” explained Roper.
The afternoon that I visited, all 10 large screen TVs were on, patrons lined the bar, and you could also see families enjoying the gorgeous weather on the outside patio. Bob Gray from Tyler was sharing a pizza with his son Clayton and said, “We spied the restaurant one afternoon coming down South Broadway and thought it looked kind of neat, so we gave it a try. We love it!”
Assistant manager Roper says the restaurant prides itself, “on delivering fresh ingredients and local produce. Our dough is made fresh every day and we strive to bring healthy choices to the menu.”
For starters, you can feast on either bruschetta, an eggplant stacker, roasted pepper hummus, or their trademark flatbreads (an original, thin crust with mozzarella and marinara for dipping). Two flatbreads on the appetizer menu are The Chalmette, which comes with thin crust, hot sauce, garlic butter, feta, cheddar, mozzarella, and parmesan; or the Krewe with thin crust, pepperoni, bacon, feta, cheddar, mozzarella and parmesan. The Garlic Parmesan bites will melt in your mouth and are a warm “lump” of freshly-baked dough basted with garlic butter and parmesan cheese, and served with marinara for dipping.
Buffalo Wings are a favorite, especially on game day. They are available in garlic parmesan, Joe Horn’s BBQ, medium, spicy, spicy BBQ, sweet heat, and teriyaki flavors.
Dig into some pasta made perfecto: chicken or eggplant parmesan, shrimp scampi, classic lasagna or spaghetti and meatballs. The Parma Rosa is a favorite, with sautéed shrimp and Italian sausage with penne tossed in a creamy tomato sauce.
The salads are scrumptious, featuring Caesar, Italian, Greek, muffuletta, spinach, or walnut cranberry. Rotolo’s features 17 vegetarian items on their menu, including tomato basil soup, a garden Alfredo wrap, and roasted red hummus.
If wraps and sandwiches are your thing, you’ve come to the right place. Take your pick of buffalo chicken, chicken Florentine, Italian club, meatball, or Philly cheese steak.
Pizzas are their specialty and can be savored on either white or wheat crust, or upgraded to a gluten-free crust. Traditional and non-traditional options are available, featuring uniquely named fare such as The Angry Pig, (spicy BBQ sauce, Italian sausage, bacon, jalapeños, and cheddar cheese) to The Krewe (pepperoni, bacon, cheddar, feta, and parmesan cheese).
Other stand outs on the menu for pizzas are the “Sgt. Pepper,” with banana peppers, green peppers, roasted red peppers, and Italian sausage. The Italian Club Pizza is a favorite, with pepperoni, Canadian bacon, salami, and bacon (try this with added kalamata olives).
The “5lb 18” Pizza” is perfect for a group or your next football party. This pizza feeds up to six people for only $27.99. The pizza comes with bacon, Canadian bacon, cheddar cheese, green peppers, ground beef, Italian sausage, kalamata olives, mushrooms, pepperoni, and red onions.
You can also create your own pizza or calzone with a plethora of toppings like bacon, cheddar cheese, fresh spinach, Italian sausage, pineapple, Italian meatballs, Philly cheese steak, or shrimp…the possibilities are endless.
Try Rotolo’s own Tyler Rose Earl Campbell’s signature dishes, prepared with his delicious smoked sausage. You might even land a visit and autograph, as Earl comes in frequently.
Kids are king with a super selection all their own: one topping pizza, butter noodles, chicken tenders and chips, macaroni and cheese, or spaghetti and meatballs. Kids can get specialty Italian sodas like the Red Rotolo Razzle, Blue Arctic Blast, Green Apple-rific, and Pink Pom Pom.
While the kids are enjoying their drinks, the adults can savor a beverage from the amazing bar, which features 31 craft beers on tap, with selections from our own local True Vine and Old Omen breweries.
Rotolo’s is always about serving up a side of fun, so head there Wednesday nights from 7-9pm for live team trivia. You could walk away a winner, with 1st place garnering a $75 gift card. Visit their website and become an ultimate fan, and you will receive $5 off any food purchase and free pizza on your birthday.
If you like specials, look no further. Monday is Family Night, and with the purchase of one regular meal valued at $8.99, you get a free kids meal. Texas Tuesday means $2 off all Texas craft beer, wine, and liquors. Calzone Wednesday means $5.99 for any calzone, and you can even create your own with three regular toppings. Thursday is flight night, with discounts on beer flights. Happy Hour is on Monday-Friday from 3-6pm, featuring half-price drinks and half-price starters such as their unique flatbreads.
Hand-Scooped Gelato is a great addition to Rotolo’s. This truly-authentic Italian treat is prepared with all natural ingredients and a burst of fresh flavor. Get it by the scoop and you won’t be disappointed.
Call ahead for catering and they can take care of your office lunch, sporting event, or family celebration.
See for yourself why folks are loving Rotolo’s Pizzeria. Rotolo’s is located at the Village at Cumberland Park, 8970 S. Broadway in Tyler. For more info call (903)561-8805. Find them at www.rotolos.com and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/rotolos.tyler
Hours are Sunday-Tuesday 11am-9pm, Wednesday-Saturday 11am-10pm.