The Mystery Diner has seen many a pizza parlor come and go.
They pop up at every corner, touting the newest craze in crusts, add-ons and appetizers. Some make it. Others don't.
Few, though, possess the staying power of Uncle Lar's Pizza.
An institution in Plano for over three decades, Uncle Lar's first opened its doors on the corner of Main and West streets next to the Plano Bowling Alley in August of 1983. Larry Albright, or "Uncle Lar," and his wife, Norma, realized their dream of owning a pizzeria. Larry passed away in 2003 and the establishment eventually moved to its storefront location at 108 W. Main St., right across the street from the train station. Today, the restaurant is owned and operated by Jerry and Selaine Stegmann who keep the the same famous recipe that the Albright’s passed down.
The Mystery Diner made a drive out to Uncle Lar's one recent evening to sample the pizza he's read glowing reports of on Facebook.
Uncle Lar's exterior is cozy, and quaint. Inside, Uncle Lar's walls are adorned with pictures of classic Chicago sports heroes from when the restaurant first opened its doors, from the 1985 Bears to the 1989 Cubs.
Uncle Lar's menu is simple and straightforward.
There's pizza, cheesy bread sticks, and Italian beef sandwiches.
We went with all three.
The bread sticks are full of all the gooey goodness that you would want out of this popular appetizer. The Italian beef, served with potato chips, is covered by a generous helping of green peppers.
The main event, of course, is the pizza.
Uncle Lar's has a plethora of toppings available, from standard issue pepperoni and sausage to pineapple. Specialty pizzas range from BLT and taco to Uncle Lar's own "Triple J" meat pizza. Gluten-free crust is available. Uncle Lar's pizzas come in small, medium and large – the Mystery Diner recommends to go with the large for leftovers.
We went with a classic sausage pizza.
Uncle Lar's is a thin crust variety, and came out piping hot. The crust is soft and chewy, the tomato sauce a sweet sensation to the Mystery Diner's taste buds. Enjoying our in-house dining experience, we couldn't help but notice Uncle Lar's bustling takeout and delivery business.
If you're looking for a deep dive back in time for an intimate pizza parlor experience – or just in the mood for some good pizza – Uncle Lar's is the place to go in Plano. The family-owned tradition is still going strong.
• The Mystery Diner is a newsroom employee at the Shaw Media. The diner’s identity is not revealed to restaurant staff before or during the meal. The Mystery Diner visits a restaurant and then reports on the experience. The Mystery Diner is not intended to be a restaurant critic but does highlight the parts of a dining experience that he/she can recommend.
If you go
What: Uncle Lar's Pizza
Where: 108 W. Main St., Plano
Hours: 4 p.m to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday; 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Information: Call 630-552-3535.