Monks Oven Offers Creative Pizzas and Fun


Genevieve Cunningham

It is pretty safe to say that most people love pizza. What’s not to like? At the basic level, there’s a pile of favorite toppings and cheese on top of crispy bread.

There is much debate however over styles of pizza and types of crust. The New Yorkers of the world prefer a thin, crispy but bendable crust (they like to eat pizza like a taco) that has little sauce and real mozzarella cheese. Additional toppings are added but the crust and sauce are the key players.

Although Mike and Shannon Monk aren’t from the Northeast, their pizza comes close to the New York style. Teaming up with Shannon’s brother, Scott Smith, they opened their dream place last year in Winnsboro: Monk’s Oven. The pizza place has hit its stride. Decorated with old church windows and equipped with an array of games, Monk’s Oven is a place not just to eat, but also to hang out. Nearby guests eagerly assembled a Lincoln Logs cabin.

“We have chess, checkers, backgammon, and a 1940s ViewMaster with reels available upon request. We love for people to come enjoy the games,” Shannon said.

The menu is fairly simple offering a few house pizzas and a build-your- own option. Appetizers include cheesy breadsticks and an antipasto platter with three kinds of cheese, fruit, crackers and olives and there are salad and soup options to get started. There is a significant price jump from a small to a large with nothing in between but the small is the perfect size for one and the large is large enough that it’s worth the money. There is also an extra large that serves five. All of their dough is made from scratch and there is a 12-inch virtually gluten-free option as well.

“We pride ourselves on creativity with pizza. We also have a few secret menu items. Ask us about the Ainsworth pizza, that is named after some dear friends, or the Big Salad, a nod to Seinfeld,” Shannon said.

Smith is responsible for the eclectic beer selection and typically is found in front of the stone deck pizza oven.

“It isn’t a wood-fire oven, but it is the closest thing to it,” she said. “Scott has been very thoughtful in the beer choices. Peroni is what we like to call the Italian Corona.”

Monk’s Oven also offers a small but thoughtful wine selection.

The restaurant is located at 204 Market Street in Winnsboro. It is open Tuesday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 11 a.m to 9 p.m. with extended hours in the summer. As if anyone needed another reason to try this gem, children get a free kid slice with each paying adult Tuesday through Thursday. Call 903.347.1282 or visit for more information.

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