February 2, 2012
Glenn Truelove and his girlfriend Kathy McIntyre decided to add an updated version of a southern favorite and a highly popular food item as the main draw in opening a new restaurant.
Thus was born Truelove’s Pizza & Grits.
Located on a hill, it opened October 25 of last year at the former Sam Hill’s restaurant location on Riverside Drive in Columbia. Not long after its opening the eatery was featured on Bulger’s Beat, a program on WSMV-TV in Nashville hosted by Terry Bulger.
I caught the enterprising couple on a Monday when the place was closed and they were both preparing for the next day’s business.
“Business has been great,” said Truelove, a Central High School grad.
“Do you specialize in having a pizza with grits on it?” I had to ask.
“No,” Truelove responded. “But people do order pizza and a bowl of grits to go with it.”
“So, how did the pizza and grits concept come about?”
It turns out that Truelove worked at a place “up the road” in Columbia as a young man called The Pizza Maker, a popular eatery owned by the Hines family. He even has a framed art work depicting that building hanging on a wall, and on his menu he offers the Pizza Maker Special. Truelove has extensive experience in the restaurant business and a varied career. McIntyre has much restaurant experience as well, mostly in her native Southern California.
“I’ve been involved with just about every type of restaurant there is,” she said, “from seafood to Mexican, you name it.”
Truelove knew he wanted to open a pizza place. McIntyre knew he also had a grit recipe he made that was popular at his family gatherings. “I said why don’t you add that to the menu and call the place Truelove’s Pizza and Grits?”
Southern tradition or not, not everyone cares for grits.
“People come in and tell me they do not like grits,” he said. “They look at mine, sample them and they change their minds. Our grits are cheesy tomato grits. They have a little spice added to them. They’re not your regular grits.”
The menu lists the various grits items as “True Grits.”
Some of the menu items include an appetizer named True Blue Wings and there is a True Meat Lover’s Pizza. About the only menu pun missing is having a delectable named after Tess Truelove, Dick Tracy’s girlfriend in the old comic strip.
The place is spiffy clean and has a nice atmosphere. A couple of framed football jerseys autographed by Brett Favre and Steve McNair hang on a wall, along with one of Dean Martin (remember his song “Little Old Wine Drinker Me” from golden days past?) holding a bottle of vino.
The restaurant serves beer and wine and offers carry-out but not delivery. It has occupancy for 120 and is closed on Mondays.
Bryce Martin may be contacted at email@example.com.