Owner Frank Faridi and manager Deni Ballard are with a traditional Italian pizza, hot out of the oven and among customer favorites. Photo by Pete Zamplas.
Avery’s Creek Pizza and Ribs strikes pleasant cords in customers’ tummies with unique pizza varieties and mouth watering ribs, their ears with weekend music and minds with weekly trivia challenges.
Owner Frank Faridi opened the pizzeria at 1937 Brevard Rd (N.C. 191) in Arden 10 years ago, as Hot ‘n Spicy. He changed the name three years later.
What has not changed is the vast variety and flavors of pizza, as well as delicious ribs up to a full rack, a steak and shrimp combination, wild salmon filets, burgers, sub sandwiches, calzones, ravioli, shrimp tacos and other meals.
“My passion is to create new pizza” including a sweet “dessert” pizza with a base of sweet cream and fluffy ricotta cheese, Faridi said. Manager Deni Ballard said “he puts his heart into it. For him, it’s an art form.”
Other unique pizza varieties include BBQ, Mucho Meat, The Sheila with rib-eye steak slices, and Maui Wowee with baked ham and pineapple. Traditional Italian pizza is a popular choice. A pizza buffet runs 11-2 p.m. daily and costs $9.
Faridi said of his “home-styled pizza” that “we make our own special sauce from 10 ingredients, and we use fresh dough. It’s crispy, not soggy.” He is among five chefs there in evenings.
While living in Manhattan, Faridi learned the art of pizza making from an Italian chef. He ran a pizzeria in Ohio, before coming here. Faridi has a very interesting history. The Pakistan native was a professional cricket fast-pitch pitcher for 19 seasons until 1992. Faridi played for teams mostly in England, where cricket is as big as baseball is here. He traveled to games in 32 countries. His father was a brain surgeon. Frank has four children. His one son Jeeshan, like him, is athletic.
Ballard books the bands. A local singer-songwriter such as acoustic guitarist Tony Ballew plays hits on Friday nights. His full band, the rock-pop covering Free Flight, is among bands that play about 8:30-11 p.m. on Saturday nights. The bands vary in style between country, bluegrass, rock and alternative rock. The restaurant’s Facebook site lists upcoming acts. Karaoke is on Wednesday nights, when there are senior citizen, family and other discounts. A team trivia contest highlights Tuesday evenings, offering $10 to $30 gift certificate as prizes.
Ballard points to the outdoor patio seating and said, “it’s so beautiful here.” Diners’ dogs are allowed, tethered by leash. She noted many regulars live in the area, work in nearby corporations along 191. To get there, take I-26. Go south on N.C. 146/Long Shoals Road away from T.C. Roberson High School, all the way to Rt 191. Turn left on 191. The restaurant is a couple of blocks on the right.
Avery’s Creek Pizza and Ribs is open 11-10 daily, and handles deliveries and take-out. For more information, call 687-2400 or search on Facebook.