Old Chicago Pizza Lunch Buffet

This week’s pizza review took me down to Old Chicago, home of a million and one different beers.

Ok, maybe it is just 110 brews, but it felt like a million because I was on official work business so I didn’t have even one.

Once again, everyone was going to do the buffet, so I went along.  That didn’t turn out so well last week for me, maybe Old Chicago could do a little better.

First look at the buffet was so much more promising than what I witnessed last week.  They had an actual variety of pizza, and enough people that it wasn’t going to be 45 minutes before a fresh pizza showed up!

I started it out with a slice of pepperoni and a slice of unidentified pizza that had lots of onions on it.  There was some type of meat at well, it might have been dog for all I know.  It was kinda rough and might not have been to good to eat by itself.  It was fine on this pizza because I had plenty of Tabasco Sauce and peppers topped on.  Pizza was pretty good, but the crust was pretty thick and kinda crispy.  I actually left the crusts on the plate.  I think the waitress came and ate one of them.

There was also that stuffed breadstick things there.  I don’t know what was all in, but it was better than a plain old breadstick, just barely though.

Next up apparently I had one huge piece of pizze topped with bacon and mushrooms I think.  Next to it was a very cheesy thing with green peppers, black olives and maybe more mushrooms.  All those mushrooms and not even a hint of any hallucinogenic effects.  Sad really.

What the hell is this?  I came for the pizza buffet, not a soup bar.

Waitress: What do you want?

Me: I’ll have the pizza buffet.

Waitress: Do you want soup or salad with it?

Me: I guess I’ll have the green chili chimmy-chonga whatcha-ma-call-it soup.

It was lackluster.

Holy crap, I’m full already, but now I get free fried pickles because I was one of the first 10 people to check-in on Four Square at Old Chicago for the day!  Fried Pickels don’t sound good at all, but I still got them so others could have them.  I didn’t even try one.  I bet they were horrible.

At this point I’m pretty full and ready to go home.  But then someone comes back to the table with some Hawaiian!

Finally I get some Hawaiian.  I was sure it was going to be 2 weeks in a row with no Hawaiian – that just can’t happen.  So this was much like everything else on the buffet, thicker crunchier crustier pizza than I prefer.  But I did finally get hawaiian, so I’m happy with that.  You can even see on this picture some black spots on the pineapple where it started to burn.  Not too good Old Chicago.

Overall for a buffet it was pretty good.  They kept fresh pizzas coming out all the time, and they had an actual variety.  It wasn’t like some places that have pepperoni and 3 different variations of supreme.

The reason for this trip to Old Chicago was our intern’s last day at work with us for the summer.  She pointed out something that she thought should be in the review.

I know it is almost impossible to see in the image above, and I don’t remember exactly the wording, but it is something like this:

RUSH STREEP PIZZA BAR

  •  Pizza varieties change daily
  • Chef’s choice, varieties change daily

That was too redundant for her so I’m calling out Old Chicago on this. WTF man, why the redundant redundancy?

So lets get down to the pizza rating:

I highly recommend the Old Chicago Rush Street Pizza Bar if you are going to fast for an extended period of time right after the pizza bar.  I am writing this at almost midnight and I haven’t eating anything since this pizza.  I still feel so full I don’t know if I’ll have to eat anything tomorrow, or this whole weekend for that matter.

Lucky day, I got a pizza badge on FourSquare for this visit!

I guess I have to check-in more often on these pizza trips.

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Grazies Lunch Buffet

Today we hit up Grazies Italian Grill.

Grazies has come up on the random pizza place picker before, but it has always been vetoed by one of the other guys that usually comes with us. He is in San Diego all week so we thought we’d get it out of the way.

I was slightly disappointed to see they don’t have pineapple on their list of toppings.  When I say slightly, I mean I cried a little bit and wanted to go home crawl in bed and call it a day.  I stuck around, mainly because I didn’t drive and the other guys still wanted to eat.

It turns out everyone else was going to do the buffet, so I figured I’d also hit the buffet and not make everyone else wait for me. The pizza portion of the buffet was a pretty sad sight.

I’m pretty sure they just covered up what was left on the buffet from yesterday’s lunch and uncovered it right before we got there, cause there was no one else in the place.  I had a single slice of that pepperoni and it tasted about like it looked.  I figured I’d just have more salad if they didn’t bring any new pizza but it must have been my lucky day. The brought out guess what, another pepperoni pizza.  Oh joy…

This was so much better. This pizza was super cheesy. I think they forgot how much cheese to use so they just used all the cheese on this one pizza.

Overall Grazie’s was pretty boring.  I had One slice of terrible pepperoni, and two slices of slightly above average pepperoni pizza along with some pretty average salad and pasta.  So I’m not sure how to rate this place.  I’d give my first slice a rating of 1, and the next two extra cheesy ones a 7.  That makes an average score of:

How should buffets be scored?  Based on the worst pizza, the best pizza, or an average like I scored here?

One more thing – if you are scared of the dark, don’t go to Grazie’s.  They didn’t have any lights turned on in the place.  It was really dark.  Maybe they do that so you can’t see your food.  They figure it is bad enough that you have to taste it.

Sammy's Pizza

With the Olympics on I’m almost a full week late on this review.  It was a week ago we headed to downtown Fargo to hit up historic Sammy’s Pizza.

Ok, I don’t know if there is anything historic about it, but it has been there for a long time.  And I’m only guessing that too.

Like most good pizza outings, this one started with a tiny beer.  Usually a much larger mug is desirable but you gotta take what they have.  The beer selection was kind of odd.  They had 3 or 4 of the exact same shitty light beers, and this New Belgium 1554.

They have a funky ceiling in that place.

And kinda an odd location for a little TV in the back of the place.  I think golf was on while we were there.  You can tell from the following picture how busy the place was.  For most of the time we were there we were the only people.  For a while there was one other table, but they arrived after us and left before us.

So first the meat house special showed up.  This wasn’t my pizza but I tried a piece.  This is not my kind of pizza but I had a piece and it wasn’t bad.  The place was reminding me a lot of the last place that was reviewed – Duane’s House of Pizza.

Now we get to the good stuff.  Here is the Hawaiian.  I think the pizza’s were 14 inches, I shared this with one other guy.  Just like Duane’s, this pizza was really freaking hot.  I felt it for days on the roof of my mouth.

On of my co-workers asked about different crust types.  Our server, who was also the pizza maker, told us that thick crust was an American invention and wasn’t real pizza.  And besides, you don’t need that much bread.  He hand tosses all the crusts dammit!  He did do a really good job at it I think.  It was the type of crust I like, kinda thin, not cooked too much.  But it did have a slight problem.

Here is a close up of my Hawaiian.  Can you tell what is wrong with it?

It looks like a plain old cheese pizza, doesn’t it?  It tasted almost like a cheese pizza.  There was some pineapple and ham under the cheese, but it was very skimpy on the toppings.  Very skimpy.

On the way out I asked the 1 guy working there if it was always that busy.  He said yeah it is typically pretty dead in the afternoon but gets busy in the evenings.  He said he likes it that way because there is a lot of preparation work for the evening crowd.

I would change 2 things about Sammy’s Pizza that would give them a much better rating.

  • Don’t be scared to use more than a small handful of pineapple on the Hawaiian
  • Larger beer mugs, preferably for the same price (it was expensive for a tiny mug)

Besides the almost lack of pineapple and ham on the Hawaiian, it was a very good pizza.

6 pizza slices isn’t bad.  It could have easily been a couple more than that.

Duane’s House of Pizza

Today Urban Spoon directed us to Duane’s House of Pizza.  The guys walking in are total strangers, or part of the normal weekly pizza crew.

We were not really sure what to do when we walked in.  It was kinda like walking into the front door of someone’s house except instead of a living room they just put a large pizza making area with several pizza making machines.  We must have looked lost because eventually the guy making the pizza just said “Just sit down somewhere if you are gonna eat here”.

So we sat down and it was immediately creepy.  Kinda like your grandma’s house in the 80’s.

This picture looks about as quality as your digital camera from the 80’s as well.  What the hell…

So eventually after we figured out that no one has an appetite small enough for a 6 inch pizza, we were all going to order individual 11 inch pizza’s.  Very well then I’ll have the Hawaiian!

Oh but wait, our waitress who is also one of the pizza making machine operators, asks us if we are in a big hurry.  Then tells us we are in behind a very big order and it’ll be 30 minutes at least.  This was after she had brought out drinks.  We decided to stay and there was plenty of complaining about the 30 minute wait.  I started a countdown timer on my phone.  We did manage to share an order of french fries that came out pretty quick.  I don’t think anyone paid for them.

My countdown timer still had just over 11 minutes when the first pizza arrived at our table. One guy got some house special, and another had the taco pizza.  I tried a slice of each of them.

There was nothing special about the house special, and the taco felt like cheese pizza with a lettuce dump on top.  There were a lot of tomatoes as well, but my piece didn’t have any.  I really wasn’t looking forward to the rest of this pizza adventure, but then my Hawaiian showed up!

Apparently Duane’s House of Pizza has the opposite policy of Happy Joe’s.  Happy Joe’s pizza is cold, this one was scorching hot.  I was able to prove that just waiting a while fixed the problem of this pizza being really hot.  Time did nothing to fix the cold pizza Happy Joe’s brought to my house.

This pizza was really good.  I think 1 minute less in the pizza heating machine would have made it better.  The crust was a little bit black in places, but it wasn’t burnt to a crisp.  Crispy crust is the #1 thing that ruins a pizza.  This pizza was good enough that I got a to-go bag, yes a bag, to take home the rest of my 11 inch pizza.

Besides the really good Hawaiian pizza I had:

  • I’m glad I’m not a pop drinker as they served cans which means no refills.
  • Taco pizza was just cheese pizza with lettuce on top. I wasn’t the only one who had that impression of the taco pizza.
  • Creepy atmosphere with about 7 tables in the whole place.

So after all that – I gotta go with a 7 slice rating because that Hawaiian was very good.

Goodbye Duane’s House of Pizza, I’ll see you again!

Xtreme Pizza Kitchen lunch buffet

The Xtreme Pizza Kitchen (XPK) lunch buffet is kinda a normal thing for a few guys that I work with. We might have gotten there about once a month for the past year or so, but that is enough for the XPK crew to know to put in a Hawaiian when I come in! That is awesome!

So if you haven’t been to XPK, it is a very small place that has only about 10 tables. It is a fairly small buffet, but they do have a salad bar, along with chips, nacho cheese, and chili. I think they only have 2 employees working there at any time.

I usually start with some banana pepper nachos while the Hawaiian is heating up.

After one trip to the salad bar nacho bar, my Hawaiian is usually ready. The place is usually empty enough that I can make a couple trips up to get more Hawaiian slices.

They do have some good veggie options as well, but often I can get enough Hawaiian to fill myself up.

If you like somewhat thin crust pizza, but hate the crispy cardboard crust, this is the place for you.  I’ve heard it described as undercooked or weak, but it is exactly how I like my pizza crust.  One of my co-workers shared his negative thoughts about the crust unintentionally with the staff.  I’m sorry, I won’t bring him back unless he apologizes.

The giant screen TV they have in the corner of the restaurant often has some interesting choices being shown. Last week it was The New Adventures of Old Christine or something like that. Sometimes is it SportsCenter, sometimes is it a cable news channel. It is kinda weird, but that doesn’t change the fact that the pizza is really good.

Overall they get a 9 pizza rating. The pizza is as good as any in town, the nachos are great, but the drink options are lacking. I’m honestly not even sure if/what kind of beer they serve.

Keep the Hawaiian warm for me!

Domino's asks customers for pizza photos

Saw this in the FargoPizzaGuy Twitter timeline today:

and decided to check it out.  It will take you to a facebook page where Domino’s is asking users to send in their own photos of Domino’s pizza.  They say:

We think our pizza looks delicious just the way it comes out of the oven. It doesn’t need those fancy food photography tricks. That’s why we asked our customers, the most authentic source for pictures of our pizza, to photograph and upload their own photos. Check them out below.

Thats kinda cool.  I scrolled through the images and they started to get kinda weird.  So now I have to think of something out of the ordinary to do when I get around to having Domino’s pizza.  Any ideas?