Guido's Pizza

Serving Italian family recipes for more than 20 years

Posted: June 6, 2014 at 6 a.m.

In a time where quantity and quality are often mutually exclusive, it is a welcome surprise to visit a restaurant that serves generous portions of a quality product. One may expect to pay top dollar for these offerings, but at Guido's Pizza the entire menu is priced under $20, and many items hover around $6-$8.

The restaurant has two locations, in Springdale on South Thompson Avenue and Tontitown on U.S. 412. Both locations offer full-service, sit-down restaurants and carry-out options. The menu is built upon four pillars of Italian-influenced fare -- pizza, pasta, subs and salads.

There is handmade thin-crust pizza loaded with toppings; toasted Italian sandwiches; flat pasta noodles topped with housemade meat sauce; and heaping bowls of crisp, fresh salads.

Papa Guido's, Uncle Tanoose and Cousin Vinnie's are the top selling pizzas and are available from "mini" to a large.

The Papa Guido's layers pepperoni, sausage, Canadian bacon, Italian sausage, green peppers and onions.

The Uncle Tanoose is topped with pepperoni, hamburger, onion, green pepper and mushrooms.

Cousin Vinnie's is all meat and no veggies with hamburger, pepperoni and Italian sausage.

It is not uncommon for a grown person with a healthy appetite to ask for a box even with the "mini" pizza size.

A "mini" pizza, which is a generously sized personal pizza rolled out to 8 inches, starts at $5.50 for a single topping. A large pie, cut into 12 slices, measures 15 inches and rings in at $13.95.

Owner Mark Zulpo has maintained comparably fair pricing throughout the years, and some adjustments may be necessary to reconcile rising prices, but changes will be slight.

"We've been trying to hold it down... We keep saying, we're gonna have to... and I just hate to do it, but sooner or later you've got to," owner Mark Zulpo said.

One thing that won't change, however, is the service and quality of food.

"That's always what we go for, quality -- that's our game," Zulpo said.

That is one of the many reasons Guido's has built a loyal following for more than 20 years. The Tontitown location celebrated 20 years in April. The Springdale location will celebrate 12 years in July.

Other factors include the handmade crust, housemade spaghetti sauce and kind, family atmosphere.

The pizza dough is prepared fresh each day. It is stretched and fit to a pizza pan, sauced, then heavily loaded with toppings and finished with shredded cheese.

The pizza is baked in a classic deck oven on a lightly oiled pan to get a crispy crust with a soft, chewy center.

"The [deck ovens] are harder to cook in, but you get a much better quality of pizza," Zulpo said.

The spaghetti sauce is prepared in house from a family recipe passed down through generations. It is slowly simmered for several hours and served atop thin, flat spaghetti noodles.

The family atmosphere begins with the ownership and expands to the cafe-style booths and tables.

The Tontitown location is owned and operated by Zulpo and his wife, Paula. Their daughter, Jenny, manages the Springdale location, which is co-owned by Paula's brother, Tom, and his wife, Diane.

The restaurants are named after Paula's and Tom's father, Guy, which is Guido in Italian.

Both settings incorporate a neighborhood cafe feel. The Tontitown location is a bit more intimate and has black-and-white photographs from the area's residents. There is a bar set at the back of the restaurant and a television cradled in the corner.

The Springdale location has high ceilings, a larger bar area and a room with several video games. The dining area is larger, and a full-length mural expands to the back of the restaurant. The mural depicts rolling hills, streetside cafes, a lake and a brick courtyard. The people in the mural are representatives of family members.

Customers can call in their orders to pick up, and with the exception of Friday and Saturday nights, calls to pre-order and dine-in are also welcome.

The pizzas typically take 20-25 minutes to cook. Sandwiches, because they are also heated, take about 10 minutes.

Hours for both locations are 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday.

The Springdale location is across from Furniture Row at 4275 S. Thompson Street. The phone number is (479) 750-7775.

The Tontitown location is 363 W. Henri De Tonti Boulevard, approximately three miles west of Interstate 49. The phone number is (479) 361-9101.

NAN Dining Guide Cover on 06/06/2014

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