Looking around Slab Town Pizza in Cashiers, Peterkin is still in the beginning stages of a dream that is now a physical, shiny reality. Launched this past January, the restaurant has rapidly become a centerpiece of culinary delights, camaraderie and community within the mountain town.
“We felt that Cashiers needed an inexpensive, family oriented restaurant that locals and tourists can go and feel comfortable,” Peterkin said. “During the wintertime up here, everything is closed down for the season, and we wanted to create something year-round, something for locals and visitors alike.”
Several years ago, Peterkin was visiting a friend in Alabama who was an engineer. The friend had become fascinated with the idea of homemade pizza, and with that, hand-built his own oven on wheels. Peterkin saw the potential in the design and one was constructed for her to push further into her pizza endeavors.
“Then we really started getting into making our own pizza,” she said. “And soon the right property was located and we decided to launch the business. We wanted our place to be fun, hip and different, where anybody can walk in.”
Peterkin then got hold of her son John in Colorado to came back east and help get the family business off the ground. He and his friend, Randy Brown, headed for Cashiers, with both of them becoming the chefs for Slab Town.
“Pizza is something everyone can relate to. There’s really no one you meet that doesn’t like pizza,” Brown said. “There’s just something immediately rewarding about the moment it comes out of the oven and is placed in front of you.”
Brown pointed out how Slab Town concentrates on the crust. When you have a quality, New York style thin crust, the other ingredients carefully fall into place.
“I like doing the more pure style of pizza, by not necessarily adding so much, but focusing on the crust and how it compliments our fresh ingredients,” he said. “Pizza can seem so simple, but there’s so much to it when you actually get really into it.”
“Our style of crust works so well when you pick it up,” Peterkin added. “The slice of pizza doesn’t lean over or is soggy in the middle.”
The name Slab Town comes from the geographic label given to Cashiers during its years as a logging town. Freshly cut trees were cut into slabs within the community and then were driven down the mountain to the lumberyards where they were cut into boards. The restaurant was officially ready for business during a haphazard Appalachian snowstorm this past January.
“We opened during the big snowstorm. We were opened for three hours and then closed for two days,” Peterkin laughed.
But that snowstorm is just one of the innumerable reasons Peterkin and the folks at Slab Town enjoy living in Western North Carolina. The region is home to four distinct seasons, unimaginable mountain adventures and a sense of community often lost in a fast-paced modern world.
“I love this small town, knowing everybody and being in the mountains,” Peterkin said. “When people come to Slab Town, I want them to leave full, happy, that they had a good time and a good laugh.”
“I would have never known a place like this existed if I hadn’t gotten the opportunity to work here,” Brown added. “It’s tucked away, pure and unspoiled.”