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Monday, Aug. 10, 2020

Notini’s ‘Pizza King’

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The return of a long-time favorite and it is still a hit

For close to 40 years, Bob Huck was “The King” of Shreveport pizza.

Heck, most folks called him “PK Bob.” From 1967 until 2005, Huck owned Pizza King on Kings Highway – thus, the PK. If you wanted the best pizza around, you went to Pizza King and had a pizza made by PK Bob.

Fast forward 15 years. Like father, like son.

Tim Huck, who bought Notini’s Italian Restaurant in Bossier City late last year, has brought his dad out of retirement. Scratch that: He’s brought his dad’s pizza recipes out of retirement. That’s right. Just when you thought you would never again be able to treat your taste buds to a Pizza King pizza, now you can.

“I knew the day I bought Notini’s I was changing the pizza,” Tim said. “I called my Dad to get his dough recipe and a couple of pointers from him immediately upon signing the deal.”

“It took a couple of days to put it all together because it had been a while since we had done it,” Bob Huck said from his home in Florida. “We did it for over 25 years, so it didn’t go away, but me and my wife had to think about it, think about it and think about it.”

Truth be told, Tim already had a pretty good idea of how to replicate his father’s pizzas. After all, Tim grew up at Pizza King.

“Any time we weren’t in school, we were at the restaurant,” Tim said of him and his three siblings. “That’s just what we did. We folded pizza boxes. We pulled the dough. I remember as a young child we used to make games of it – race each other to see who could make the most pizza boxes. All of us would fight over who got to pull the dough. … Mom and Dad would drive us around and drop us off on streets, and we would pass out flyers throughout the neighborhood. By the time I was 6, I was able to make my own pizzas.”

Tim is making his own pizzas again. He’s a little older (46), a little wiser (20 years as a bar and nightclub owner), and just as particular as his dad was.

“I changed pepperonis a couple of times,” Tim said, thinking back to when he was tweaking recipes before putting the “new” pizzas on Notini’s menu. “I changed cheese three times to get my favorite cheese – to get the cheese to come out exactly as we had. We had to make minor adjustments to the dough – the amount of salt we used, the amount of yeast we used.”

And then there are the toppings. “I use better quality meat than most places – it costs more,” Tim said. “The pepperoni is more expensive and less greasy. The hamburger meat is high quality as well – we don’t consider anything that is the cheapest you can find. I base everything off taste, not price.”

But those aren’t the only things – and maybe not the most important things – that make Notini’s pizzas taste just like the ones you enjoyed at Pizza King.

“It’s the crust and the oven,” Tim said. “I can’t make you a pizza in 10 minutes. I don’t have a 10-minute pizza. I don’t use a conveyer belt oven. I use a brick oven that cooks a pizza the way a pizza is supposed to be cooked – the way they cook a pizza in Italy.”

And as fate would have it, “Actually, the oven (Notini’s previous owner) had already was the same brand oven my dad had originally at Pizza King. I didn’t have to change ovens.”

But the oven is only as good as what you put in it.

“The crust we make is a flour and yeast crust,” Tim explained. “We let it rise, punch it down, let it rise again, cool it off, and it’s ready to go. Most people don’t take the time that we take with the crust, and don’t use the same type recipes that we use.”

Apparently, former Pizza King customers and new Notini’s customers approve.

“We sell about 175 pizzas a day,” Tim said.

But what about the critic of all critics, PK Bob? What does he think about the “new” Pizza King pizzas? Is his son the new “King” of Shreveport pizza?

“I had two of them,” Bob Huck said. “One was very excellent. One was only good.”

Hey, sometimes it’s easier pleasing the masses than pleasing The King.

To learn more about Notini’s, you may go to Facebook and search “Notini’s Italian Restaurant.”

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