Pizza is coming to the Vestavia City Center, and not just any pizza: Davenport’s Pizza. The third-generation, family-owned pizza eatery has had a strong following since it first opened in 1964 in Mountain Brook, and now everyone in Vestavia Hills will have one closer to home, with a location right next to Taco Mama. In other Vestavia City Center news, Crumbl Cookies opened this summer, and Chop’t was scheduled to open by late summer. To tide us over until the new Davenport’s opens in early 2022, we chatted with is current co-owner and granddaughter of the founders about what’s in store.
Can you recap the Davenport’s history from your perspective as the grandchild of the founders?
My grandparents Rex and Ardyce Hollis started Davenport’s in 1964 in Mountain Brook Village. Rex named the restaurant after his childhood friend, Jim “Peanut” Davenport, who was a professional baseball player with the San Francisco Giants. It was one of the first pizza restaurants in the area, and people took a liking to the pizza. When my grandmother passed away, my mom and my aunt took it over, and now my cousin Yates Norris and I run it.
There was a Davenport’s location in Vestavia too at one point, right?
There was a second location in the 1980s on Columbiana Road near its intersection with Highway 31, and it was successful. My grandfather sold the building, and that was the reason it closed. So many people have asked us about that location and if we’d open another location.
What was the appeal of the new location you have chosen in Vestavia City Center?
We looked at a few locations that didn’t feel right, but when we saw this spot, Yates and I we felt like it would be a great fit. It’s a family-friendly atmosphere, and it’s packed with families when we go there. It’s a lively outdoor space and adjacent to the movie theatre, so we expect to have families going to the theatre eat with us before or after. Vestavia is a big baseball community, so we expect it to be a great spot for team parties and birthday parties. We already have so many Vestavia customers, and this is closer to them.
What will be the same or different from the Mountain Brook location?
We want to keep as much the same as we can to make it feel like it’s Davenport’s, so a lot of the décor will be the same. The architects have visited the original Davenport’s and know it’s important to pull in those elements. The menu will be the same: pizza, salads, cold beer, drinks. We will offer outdoor seating and TVs for watching sporting events, so we are hoping to be a great game day destination. We are planning to have a game room too.
What’s your go-to pizza order for your kids and for you and your husband?
My kids are still stuck on cheese pizza. Our go-to is the Rex Special, which is sausage, green pepper and onion and named after my granddad. I also love our garden salad with our homemade Italian dressing, which has a following of its own. People will come in and buy individual cups of that dressing and our homemade French dressing too.