Tortugas Homemade hits your eye like a big pizza pie

When $5 pepperoni pizzas loose their appeal, Tortugas Homeade Pizza can fill the desire for more flavor.

Right in Shelby County you can find out the meaning of &8220;pizza pie&8221; by trying out the restaurant&8217;s Chicago-style stuffed pizzas.

&8220;A lot of people want to say stuffed crust, but (a stuffed pizza) is more than that. Its built like a pie,&8221; owner Clint Dollar said. &8220;It takes a long time to make but it&8217;s one of the best in Birmingham.&8221;

ATMOSPHERE

Tortuga means turtle, which explains the atmosphere of this self-described, slow-paced pizzeria.

The Pelham restaurant is set in a small strip of restaurants, a quarter of a mile off U.S. 31.

On a weeknight you won&8217;t have a problem finding a table but many weekends the place could be filled with a baseball team or family gathering.

The restaurant offers the opportunity to come in and watch a game with a slice in one hand and cold beer in the other.

It also has the room and family atmosphere to bring in 20 kids, birthday cake and all.

MENU

Back to the pizza pies. The stuffed pizzas are what bring the place good word of mouth.

Just like classic Chicago pizzas these can be filled with combinations like the carne special or the pizza mexicana. One has Italian sausage, bacon, Canadian bacon and pepperoni, the other includes a homemade Mexican salsa, chili beef, a blend of mozzarella and cheddar cheeses and is topped with black olives.

Do not be fooled by the term thin crust as your other option. Thin crust here actually is about the same as a regular hand-tossed at other places.

SERVICE

Servers are mostly local teenagers and are friendly and helpful. Be mindful that these pizzas take their time.

Even if the place is empty, menus warn of a minimum 25-minute wait for thin crust pizzas and a 45-minute cook time for the stuffed pizzas.

Other options allow for you to pick up an uncut stuffed pizza to reheat when you get home. You can also grab a partially baked pizza to take on long trips. There are two other restaurants in the franchise, including one on Hwy 280 and Hwy 155.

FIND IT

3221 Hwy. 52 West

Pelham, Al. 35124

Hours:

Sun. 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Mon.- Sat. 11 a.m. to 9 p.m