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“Thanks for the memories, but Big Ed's has lots of room to improve” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Big Ed's Pizza

Big Ed's Pizza
101 Broadway Ave, Oak Ridge, TN 37830-5436
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Ranked #11 of 79 Restaurants in Oak Ridge
Cuisines: Pizza
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children, Large groups
Dining options: Dinner, Late Night
Knoxville, Tennessee
Top Contributor
128 reviews 128 reviews
71 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 45 cities Reviews in 45 cities
90 helpful votes 90 helpful votes
“Thanks for the memories, but Big Ed's has lots of room to improve”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 31, 2011

I started eating at Big Ed's Pizza as a child, when it first opened. I have warm memories of meeting friends & family there to celebrate special times and eat great pizza at reasonable prices. Back then, the employees were cheerful and made you feel like they were glad you were there. I didn't mind taking a flight downstairs to the basement to use the bathroom when I was a teenager. Big Ed himself would be sitting on a stool at the bar, making sure everything was up to par and meeting his standards, however, I’m not so sure what he was thinking when he first started using tiny dessert paper plates and flimsy plastic forks.

That was back in the 1970's. Today, the place is still packed with people, but the quality of the food and of the experience is just not the same. I can enjoy sharing a meal with friends and family anywhere, and today, it is still important for me to get good food at a good value. The last two times we've eaten at Big Ed's, we left saying, "What has happened to this place?" and vowed to not be so quick to return. The prices are much higher than other pizza places, and the quality just isn't there. The crust was thinner than it used to be, and the sauce lacked flavor. The ingredients were sparse and didn't taste fresh. We ordered 3 large pizzas and 5 drinks & our bill was $78.00. No joke.

Service was slow and the employees made us feel like we were a burden, not a guest. The tables are very close together, making it hard to get in and out of the chairs. I need some elbow room in order to really enjoy pizza with friends. With multiple pizza ovens baking at 500+ degrees, I pray this place never has a fire, what with only 1 narrow public exit door. Perhaps the new head of the Oak Ridge Fire Dept. will evaluate the situation.

I'm not apposed to eating on paper plates, but I'm a grown-up now, and I'd like to have a plate and fork that's my size. Two people at our table broke their forks and had to wait to get replacements. I'm used to eating pizza without a fork, but the crust was so thin, it was difficult to pick up a slice without the toppings falling off. I know I could order my pizza to go and use my own table service at home, but the thin paper bag the pizza would be covered with won't keep it hot like the boxes the other pizza places use.

I'm not afraid to write about the bathrooms. The population in Oak Ridge and surrounding communities has gotten older. Many people need a bathroom they can easily get to. The ADA folks should visit and evaluate Big Ed's for accessibility, or lack thereof. And the building was built back in the 1940's. The basement is dark, damp, and it smells. End of subject.

I am thankful that the laws forbid guests from smoking in TN restaurants. Now, if I want to feel warm and fuzzy, I can walk inside Big Ed's and smell the pizza, look at the fun stuff on the walls for a trip down memory lane, toss a quarter in the jukebox, and look back to the bar, longing for a glimpse of Big Ed himself. Then I'll go someplace else for great pizza at a reasonable price. Sorry.

RIP Mr. "Big Ed" Neusel. We miss you, and the way it used to be.

  • Visited July 2011
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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131 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Top Contributor
56 reviews 56 reviews
50 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
“Great pizza, as always”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 28, 2011

Been eating here since it opened and now I visit when in town. Nothing has changed, which is good. Good pizza and especially excellent crust. Would be great if they could step in the current trends and offer a few FRESH ingredients (other than onion and peppers). Canned mushrooms are gross. We will continue to eat here as I can still picture Big Ed sitting at the end of the bar..... good memories.

  • Visited July 2011
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oak Ridge, TN
Top Contributor
95 reviews 95 reviews
85 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 51 cities Reviews in 51 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
“Always a favorite of ours”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 30, 2011

We absolutely love the family atmosphere of Big Eds. The pizza is piping hot and you have to wait for it to cool or you'll really burn your mouth.

We love that they are generous about giving back to the community.

Yes, expensive and they only accept cash, but we are always prepared because the experience and comfort of Big Eds is always worth it.

It's a family favorite of ours.

  • Visited June 2011
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Athens, Pennsylvania
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Big Ed's some say it is the best in TN. Some not so sure”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 20, 2010

Recently went to Big Ed's for pizza while visiting in the area. We went on a Friday night, drove 1-1/2 hours to get there, waited 1 hour in line, and then our entire party could not sit together. Even though we sat at adjoining tables, they would not let us put the two tables together. We found to dining area to be too poorly lit and the tiny plates are annoying. The noise was also overwhelming to the point where you could not even carry on a conversation with someone on the other side of the table. The bathrooms leave a lot to be desired. You have to go the back of the restaurant and down a flight of stairs to get to them. They are only a singles one each for men and women so the wait in line while standing on the stairs was awkward. One the plus side, our server was friendly and the food came to our table quickly once we ordered. The pizza was OK but being from NY area, it just did not measure up to the "best" standards I am accustomed to. The place does have some charm and the walls do tell a story. The menu is short,, hey they sell pizza and drinks. No frills. So to sum it all up, if you want some decent NY style pizza while you are in Oak Ridge TN, then Big Ed's is the place to go. If you want great NY style pizza, then go to NY...

    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oak Ridge, Tennessee
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Pizza and beer do not mix if there are no ADA accessible Bathrooms”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed November 7, 2010

The best Pizza in Oak Ridge is Little Ceasars it has
more flavor besides that it is take out.

I am suprised at the Public that shows no concern for the disabled because Big Ed's Pizza has no ADA Accessible bathrooms. This is something that no one talks about this in public it is just wispered.
And just think I remember the big program that Oak Ridge City Council put on saying that they supported the 20 Anniversary of ADA nothing ever changes. Wonder why the health department does check for ADA compliant bath rooms they are are sure concerned about Hot Water.

Even this sujrvey avoids the subject of bath rooms??

Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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