Boulevard Pizza, Sparks, Nevada’s oldest pizzeria, has been a fixture in my mind and memory for more than two decades. They offer fantastic food, what looks like an awesome bar and just about everything that I enjoyed from my childhood.
Knocking the Dust Off Some Memories
I grew up in Sparks my first twelve years. I went to Kate Smith and Lincoln Park elementary schools. Then I went to Dilworth Middle School (so did my mom).
In eighth grade, I moved to Reno with my mom where I attended Pine Middle School. Then I headed to Galena High School. I ended my formal education at the University of Nevada, Reno where I got my B.A. in English Writing. Between ages 14 and 25, I loved living in Reno.
At age 25, I returned to Sparks to purchase my first home with my then-girlfriend. Three years into owning our home, I asked her to marry me. She wasn’t sure how she’d like Sparks before living here, but I assured her that I loved my childhood and I thought she would learn to love Sparks, too.
After living in Sparks for the last four years, my fiancé and I agree that Sparks and Reno have both offered us lives that we’re thankful to have.
I’m sharing my roots, because they run deep in Reno and Sparks. My mom went to Reed High School and then UNR. My dad went to Hug High School and then UNR. My family has loved these cities for a long time, and our local pizzerias provided us with some of our fondest memories.
If I’m honest, Boulevard Pizza was not the pizzeria my family went to when I was growing up. I can’t say why. I was a little kid, and my family took me where they wanted. Despite not dining at Boulevard for many years, I saw the restaurant all the time when I was a kid. The restaurant resides on an iconic part of Rock Boulevard. My family frequented a different pizzeria that had cool arcade games, great food, and long tables to house the whole family.
I still sometimes enjoy the pizzeria of my childhood, but they don’t have the same games, the food takes a really long time to cook, and it just doesn’t feel like the pizza spot from my memories anymore.
Last night, I found the pizzeria of my childhood inside Boulevard Pizza. The awesome arcade games, exceptional food, temporary tattoos, and my gorgeous dining companion all created for me one of the best times that I’ve had in a restaurant.
I treasure the sometimes salty, sometimes sweet memories of my childhood, but I also relish the opportunity to create new ones with my soon-to-be wife. We don’t have plans yet, but when the time comes, I hope our future child loves Boulevard Pizza as much as I do.
Enough Mushy Gushy. Let’s Talk Crispy, Fried Goodness.
Besides the awesomeness offered by Pac-Man, air hockey, pool, sticky hands, and temporary tattoos in the quarter machines, great music (Johnny Cash’s cover of “Ghost Riders in the Sky” and the Zombie’s “Time of the Season”), and names carved into the wood of the booths, Boulevard delivers on the food, too.
We ordered the small combo plate at $5.45, ten hot wings for $8.95, a medium pepperoni pizza for $13.10, and fountain drinks at $2.50 each. The portions were generous across the board. Ranch was available in their salad bar, and we snagged an extra serving.
The small combo plate included three ounces of fried mushrooms, three ounces of mozzarella sticks, three ounces of onion rings, and three ounces of zucchini sticks. Every item had breading tightly adhered to the fungi, cheese, and produce. The breading was brought to a beautiful crisp in every case. The cheese was melted and stringy. The mushrooms were wonderfully juicy. The onion rings offered clean bites without pulling the onion out. The zucchini were cut really thin with the seeds removed, so the sticks got extra crispy with strong zucchini flavor shining through. This plate, given my particular financial vantage point, is an outstanding deal.
The ten hot wings were served with a side of garlic bread. The bread was pretty standard with no fresh garlic, but my fiancé appreciated the heat-relief it offered after she dove into the wings. “As a help to your tongue as it’s inflamed, it’s good,” she said while describing the bread. She wasn’t lying about the heat in the hot wings. I love heat in my food, and the wings delivered the Scoville units that I desired. The wings were wonderfully crisp with a thin, vinegary, high-heat, chili flake-laden sauce applied to them. These wings are award-winning, and I can definitely see why.
The pizza hit all the notes that I sought. The crust was somewhere between thin and standard. It was crisp, browned, and blackened in all the right spots. The red sauce was mildly flavored and slightly sweet. The cheese was stringy, and the pepperoni offered the right amount of grease (people that dab their pizza with napkins are missing the point of pizza). A few shakes of powdered Parmesan and red pepper completed a great pie. This is not artisanal pizza made with local produce blessed by organic monks. The pizza at Boulevard is tasty, unpretentious and just want you want when you’re sharing a family meal.
Boulevard Pizza is located at 1076 North Rock Blvd. in Sparks. Call in your order at 775-359-2124. They’re open Saturday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and open on Fridays from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Visit them online at boulevard-pizza.com.