MASCOUTAH — Situated near the busy corner of Illinois 4 and East Main Street, Pizza Market has a unique slice of the restaurant business in town. All it takes is one look at the menu.
"The Buffalo Chicken (Bacon Ranch) and the Gyro pizzas are our top sellers -- more than pepperoni," said co-owner Adam Calvert, 28, of Trenton.
Even those choices aren't as unusual as the Chili and Cheese Pizza, the Potato Soup Pizza or the Thanksgiving Pizza.
Yep, think sliced turkey on top of gravy topped with peppery potatoes, corn and green beans. All on a hand-tossed crust.
Who came up with the idea of classic food as toppings on a pizza?
"We did," said Adam with a laugh. The Mascoutah restaurant opened July 31, but Adam spent a decade working at the Trenton location before stepping up to co-ownership with Jason Metcalf, who owns the Trenton eatery as well as one in Breese.
On the menu, these unusual culinary concoctions are called Employee Creations "because over the years we would get bored back in the kitchen making the same pizzas all the time," Adam said. The six pizzas in that category -- there's also Stroganoff, Pulled Pork and Italian Beef Alfredo --come in four sizes, ranging from $6.75 for a 7-inch to $19.50 for a 16-inch.
Those who like traditional pizza can get a classic Italian sausage and cheese, veggie pizza, or any other of a dozen or more combinations for $4.75 to $13.50. Extra toppings are 25 cents to $1.25 each, depending on the pizza size. You also can choose a thin crust, but the hand-tossed is the more popular.
"It's St. Louis style crust: medium thickness. Fluffy, flaky," Adam said, adding that all the dough and sauce are made there.
Signature Pizzas -- there are 13 of them -- are priced $5.75 to $17.50. The Gyro Pizza, for example, was Adam's creation. It has creamy tzatziki sauce, topped with , onions, tomatoes, feta and mozzarella.
The premium pizza is the Market Crusher ($12.50 to $20.50). Marinara sauce is topped with pepperoni, sausage, beef, bacon, ham, onions, mushrooms, bell peppers, black olives, jalapenos and pineapple. Two hands required.
Can't decide what you want, or you want to do some sampling? The lunch buffet is 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily and offers 10 pizza choices by the slice for $8 -- and that includes a drink.
The salad bar, $5 including a drink, is open daily until 9 p.m.
If you don't want pizza, you can indulge in several flavors of wings, 12 for $7.50, nine pasta dishes that come with breadsticks ($6.50 to $8.50) and 10 toasted subs and sandwiches in 6- or 12-inch sizes for $5 to $8.
Delivery goes west to Illinois 158, east to New Memphis and south to Fayetteville.
Mitch Fallow, of rural Belleville, and his wife, Kim, settled into a booth at the restaurant on a Friday night. It was their first time in.
"It's very nice-looking. I like the tall ceilings and the wood floors," said Kim, who added that she liked sitting by the big windows that looked out onto Main Street.
Mitch was more focused on food. He admitted to polishing off most of a Meatball Marinara Pizza, plus salad. Kim was full after one slice.
"I'm glad we only ordered a medium. I probably could have eaten a large," said the 32-year-old, rubbing his stomach and laughing.
Location: 200 E. Main St., Mascoutah
Offers: Delivery, dine-in or carry-out
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; to10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Lunch buffet daily 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.