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LLANO — Tommy Scott peered into his hand-built pizza oven. He slid a long-handled spatula under a pizza sitting on 800-degree bricks and gingerly lifted a side of the soon-to-be dinner.

“Just a little bit longer,” he said, taking a step back. “It’s almost there.”

But when he pulled out the finished pizza, the wait was worth it. The cheese melted around the toppings of pepperoni, onions, black olives, some feta cheese and a few other ingredients. The crust was crispy but not overdone.

“I built an oven for somebody else,” Scott said. “Then, I thought, ‘Hey, I’d like one.'” So he built himself one, set it up as a mobile pizza unit and took it to events at the Llano Community Center and other places. Eventually, the idea of opening a pizza place took hold. So, about six weeks ago, he opened Tommy’s Mesquite Fired Pizza at 312 Bessemer, located just off Texas 16 north of the Llano River.

He uses mesquite to heat the hand-built oven. The bricks inside where he or one of the other cooks set the pizza reach 800 degrees. So pizzas cook in about two minutes.

Diners can chose to take the pizza home with them or enjoy it in either the open-air patio on the north side of the restaurant or inside a small dining area. The patio gives folks a nice view of a wildscape planted across Bessemer.  Whichever way, patrons will find a mouth-watering pizza waiting for them.

Scott focuses on fresh ingredients.

Inside, Leticia Richardson cooks up the marinara sauce using herbs grown right there at the restaurant or plucked from a nearby garden.

“Nothing out of shakers goes into it,” Scott said.

Every day, Scott gets fresh meat and sausage from Miillers Meats in Llano.

With the exception of the pizza, the establishment is pretty much self-serve. People can pluck a coke or bottle of water out of a cooler in a room adjacent to the dining area. There are condiments and paper towels as well.

Outside, kids of all ages can decorate some concrete nearby with sidewalk chalk once they’ve finished their pizza.

Tommy’s Mesquite Fired Pizza cooks up a 12-inch pizza with two toppings for $10. But onions and jalapeños are free.

“So you could get a four-topping pizza for 10 bucks,” Scott added.

Tommy’s Mesquite Fired Pizza is open 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Though it’s a small restaurant, its pizza definitely packs big taste.