When Hendersonville native Jeannie Honeycutt overdosed in 2006, she says God pulled her from the harrowing depths of addiction. But pizza kept her on the straight and narrow. Or, in this case, the round and cheesy.
“I didn’t know if I was going to live or die,” Honeycutt remembers. “I cried out to the Lord. I said, ‘Please take pity on me. Save my life.’ And he did.”
After leaving the hospital, Honeycutt knew staying busy was the key to staying clean. So, she got a job at the now-defunct Pizza Inn off Upward Road. She was hired as a server but soon worked her way up to cook, then shift lead, then manager. Then, in 2014, Honeycutt assumed ownership of the franchise, which she promptly turned into an independent restaurant called Flat Rock Pizza.
Though the COVID-19 pandemic forced her to shutter the buffet in 2020, she’s now slinging pies out of a winsome wagon called Jeannie’s Hometown Pizza Girls. (Honeycutt originally ran the business with her daughter, who now has her own ice-cream and snow-cone vending operation, Allie’s Sweet Treats.) Parked at Johnson Family Farm off Kanuga Road, the food truck offers a small but mighty menu anchored by four mainstay pies: cheese, pepperoni, meat (pepperoni, Italian sausage, and bacon), and the Briar Patch, which is essentially a supreme named after Honeycutt’s spunky three-year-old grandson, Briar. “He’s a little bit of everything,” the restaurateur laughs.
To keep customers on their toes, Honeycutt also concocts specialty pizzas like cheeseburger, Buffalo chicken, and taco. Sweet flavors like chocolate chip, farm-fresh strawberry, and cinnamon apple frequent the menu, too. But as any pizza pundit knows, the secret to a good pie is less about the toppings and more about the base. Luckily, Honeycutt has spent the past 17 years perfecting her secret dough recipe.
A mixture of flour, yeast, sugar, and other confidential ingredients, the crust comes out of the oven with a quip of crunchiness and a satisfying chew. It’s the perfect partner to Honeycutt’s homemade marinara, which features chunks of vine-ripened tomatoes and plenty of fresh herbs. “My sauce is sweet and savory with a little bit of bite,” she explains.
To round out a meal, the wagon also serves garlic knots, a side salad, medallions of zucchini and squash fresh from Johnson Family Farm, and a docket of deep-fried delicacies, among them bone-in wings and chicken tenders. However, Honeycutt’s focus is, and perhaps always will be, pizza — and with good reason.
“When I overdosed, God spared my life,” says Honeycutt. “But pizza helped me turn my life around. I truly believe that.”
Jeannie’s Hometown Pizza Girls, 1202 Kanuga Road, Hendersonville, open Wednesday through Saturday, 11am-7pm. For more information, call 828-329-1408 or find “Jeannie’s Hometown Pizza Girls” on Facebook.