Every once in a while, I am pleasantly surprised by my dining experience in my quest for the best food in Wilson County. And one place that will surprise you with its great fare is a place hidden around the corner from the Subway Restaurant located at 6650 Eastgate Boulevard in Lebanon. And it is called K.O.'s Pizza. You won't be terribly impressed by the ordinary appearance on the outside, but like they say, it's what's on the inside that counts!
To be perfectly honest, you may not be all that impressed when you take your first step inside. But once owner, cook, waiter, and bus boy Omar Tahat greets you with his warm smile, all your trepidations will quickly subside.
The name on the outside may just say ‘Pizza’, but nothing could be further from the truth because Omar, who originally hails from Jordan, has one of the best, most varied menus of anywhere around. I have eaten at Omar's establishment countless times and have tried something different every single time … and have yet to order a pizza! Now I must admit, I have tried a piece or two when the people I was dining with ordered one of his large, hand-made pies. And one thing I can promise you, when you eat at K.O.'s Pizza, you will never leave hungry, even if Omar has to bring you a taste of one of his newest creations for you to “taste-test” for him!
One of my favorite things on the menu is the Stromboli. You would think Omar hailed from Sicily … it is that good. And you can have it SO MANY ways … steak or chicken with green peppers and onions, spinach with feta cheese and tomatoes, or you can just create your own by telling Omar what three pizza toppings you would like … my favorite is Italian sausage, mushrooms and black olives. He even has a meatball or a Rueben Stromboli (you won't find that even in Sicily!) He also makes a great Calzone, which his menu states is “Like a pizza … but portable”. His threecheese Calzone is a combination of mozzarella, Parmesan, and ricotta cheeses along with his homemade tomato sauce all stuffed in his handmade pizza dough for a mouth-watering experience. Other “Italian” offerings include spaghetti and homemade meatballs and a very tasty lasagna.
Some of Omar's middle-eastern roots show in some of his other offerings. He makes a delicious Gyro with your choice of grilled chicken or beef. Or for the Gyro purist, he also serves lamb. And he serves a delicious Greek Platter with any of the aforementioned meats along with seasoned rice, salad and garlic bread. One of my favorite things on the menu is Omar's Italian Hoagie, which Omar says is like a sub, only better! One thing that makes Omar's sandwiches stand out from your typical sub sandwich is the homemade bread that he makes fresh daily. And if you are in search of a good (and large) hamburger, look no further. And if you dare to order one, bring a friend or two, because Omar's burger weighs in at a full ONE POUND!
Omar came to the United States over 30 years ago to get a higher education. And he received a very good one, earning his Civil Engineering degree from Tennessee Tech University. But Omar's passion lies not in Engineering but in cooking. And his career choice is our good fortune. He met his wife, Hasanat, many years ago, and they have been happily married for eleven years now. They have three very cute children. I asked Omar if the kids are any help for him at the restaurant yet (since he is a one-man show), and he replied that they only help EAT the food. He does get some help from Hasanat, who makes all the dessert options which include a very tasty and unique version of Baklava, as well as a sweet little cake called Namora.
Omar first opened K.O.'s Pizza in Hermitage some 20 years ago. He moved eight years ago to his current location in Lebanon on East Gate just off Highway 109 (Gallatin Exit). He still has patrons who drive from the Nashville area just to get some of his delicious food. I took my staff to eat at Omar's establishment recently, and they were very impressed with everything we ordered. It took a little while to get ALL our food as Omar was having one of his typical lunch rushes. After we finished eating and the restaurant had cleared, a tired, but ever-smiling Omar asked if I knew of anyone who would like to become a working partner in his business. I promised him that I would spread that word as I spread the word of his great restaurant.