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Restaurants & Bars

Boudin and Collard Greens Are Toppings at This Southern-Style Pizzeria in Duncanville

Soul Circles Pizza Kitchen blends Italian and soul food together to make the ultimate comfort pizzas in the heart of Duncanville.
Marlon Jackson on the left and Sirr Rhodes on the right. Soul Circles Pizza Kitchen

You’ve heard of New York, Chicago, and even St. Louis-style pizza. You may have some strong opinions about them. But have you ever heard of a Southern-style pizza? Marlon Jackson and Sirr Rhodes of Soul Circles Pizza Kitchen are betting you haven’t, because they’re likely the first to craft this new pizzeria concept that serves Italian favorites with a soulful twist inspired by their love of the South.

“I think people would be surprised to know that Marlon and I have an extensive background in the Italian food distribution industry,” says Rhodes, a Texas native. “We’ve both built an extensive list of clients in our professional careers and Marlon has five years of experience working at an established pizza restaurant. We’ve also put a lot of thought into our business plan and the menu.”

Jackson and Rhodes decided to open their restaurant in Duncanville in August 2023. The city is part of a thriving cluster of Dallas County suburbs that includes Cedar Hill, Lancaster, and DeSoto. In 1986, the four cities created a partnership called the “Best Southwest,” allowing them to work on events and projects together. It’s within this pocket of the region that businesses such as Soul Circles Pizza Kitchen have begun to flourish. Alfonso’s Breakfast Burritos, a 2023 Best of Big D winner, is in Duncanville. Brunchaholics, which got a seal of approval from TikTok food critic Keith Lee, moved from Dallas to DeSoto.

What makes their pizza “Southern-style?” It’s all in the crust, they say, plus their soul food toppings. The crust is a honey-wheat blend made in-house daily, and it is the foundation for their over-the-top pies. Southern flavors come alive with toppings such as cast-iron skillet chicken, brothy collard greens steeped in potlikker (also called “pot liquor,” which is the broth left behind after boiling greens), and slow-smoked brisket.

Other Southern-style pizzas include boudin and shrimp, which tops the Bayou Classic pizza, a nod to Marlon’s alma mater, Grambling State University. The hearty After Church pizza features meatloaf, garlic oil, and a drizzle of their signature “soul sauce.” All those toppings you’ve had separately, but most likely never layered generously and gloriously on a chewy pizza crust.

In the true “soul” tradition of not wasting any food, Soul Circles Pizza Kitchen even finds an inventive way to incorporate the potlikker into a menu item: chicken wings. The chicken wings are fried and then tossed in a sauce made of earthy potlikker and a heaping of seasonings.

Although the two are passionate about recreating iconic Southern staples, they honor the precision and craftsmanship Italians have used for generations when crafting an authentic pizza. Some traditions the pair refuse to stray away from, such as using only the freshest meats, cheeses and vegetables. The partners source ingredients locally and the sausages used on their pies are from an iconic Dallas favorite: Jimmy’s Food Store.

“I made pizzas for five years, so I understand the science behind making pizzas, but it’s the ingredients that make them the best,” Jackson says. “Jimmy’s has the most authentic Italian foods you can get locally.”

The pizzeria currently shares space with Smokey D’z BBQ, but Jackson and Rhodes hope to have their own brick-and-mortar location some day. They both agreed that they were in no rush.

“We’re in it for the long haul,” Rhodes says. “We have big plans for Soul Circles Pizza Kitchen, so we’re OK with taking our time before we expand or franchise.”

Soul Circles Pizza Kitchen, inside Smokey D’z BBQ, 215 W. Camp Wisdom Rd., Ste. 4, Duncanville

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