Talk of the Town Pizza Bar is the Place to Be for Pizza and the Blues


Zach Stuard

409717_282439985141165_1417686196_nIn 2000 RJ Rakestraw purchased a dilapidated, two unit -apartment building that was famously known as the bar on The Rosanne Show.  RJ purchased the building, located on Evansville’s north side, with plans to use his contractor’s license to renovate the property into a laundromat for the locals. It was not until RJ hung a picture of Elvis Pressley on the wall that his mind changed and he knew the building had to be a restaurant he says he was influence by Elvis. With the change of plans came the blueprint for talk of the town pizza RJ began renovations by completely gutting the interior & exterior of the building and adding steel support beams throughout, ensuring that it would be around for a very long time. He finished by adding appropriate décor, brick ovens for his pizza, and adequate seating for 30 patrons at any time. RJ credits his cooking skills to his mother whom he helped to prepare meals during his childhood. RJ also built a reputation within the community for the hard work and effort he put into The Deerhead during his time there. During his time as the general manager at The Deerhead RJ tended to the food, customer, and music. The blues that he is known for starting there is a feature that he brought with him when he finally opened the doors of talk of the town Pizza Bar in February of 2003. RJ has seen an incredible amount of support for his restaurant and plans to expand in the near future.

He has secured financing for and plans to add a family dining room and outside patio for customers to enjoy during the warmer seasons. Now seating thirty, he hopes to add another 40 seats in the expansion, bringing his total seating capacity to 70. He also has plans for an organic garden on the north side of the property that would allow him to grow most of his ingredients fresh and on site. RJs previously worked heavily in the contracting sector. He rarely does any contracting work anymore since the opening of his restaurant but he seeks out work from those in the Pizza Bar’s neighborhood when he has a job to offer. He sees this as a way for him to give back to the community and say thank you.  The neighborhood surrounding RJs Pizza Bar has noticed a significant turn in the right direction since his arrival and this may be largely in part to RJs outstanding relationships with his customers. Talk of the Town Pizza Bar is most known for their strombonis and gourmet salads with oil, garlic, mInt, lemon, the house dressing and red beans & rice. His best selling pizza, by far, is the loaded pizza and you can always count on hearing the blues while you enjoy your meal. RJ serves ice cold fishbowls of draft beer from a old antique brass beer tap and has no plans to either serve hard liquor or switch to smoking, ever. RJ wants to create a fun and healthy family environment where that everyone, young and old, can come to relax and enjoy great pizza.