WEEK 10 — PIZZA PIE CAFÉ
After another month long hiatus, our famous men of the Munchmobile are back on the road in the search of quality food here in the greater Provo area. In this week’s edition, our munchers sought out a restaurant that has claimed to complete the trifecta of the dining experience. This trifecta is defined as a restaurant that provides a) quality food with b) good quantity at c) a reasonable price.
For years we have seen buffets and eateries that can perfect two of these categories, but have never solidified all three. We have places like Tucanos that offers an unlimited smorgasbord of delicious Brazilian meats, but you have to fork over a pretty penny to gain entrance. Then there are the typical Chinese buffets that give you all you can eat at a friendly price, but you always have to question if the beef really is beef and if the chow mien is more than a week old. The list of these kinds of restaurants goes on and on.
Just recently a pizza place has come to town claiming to offer a buffet of quality food at a low price. The Pizza Pie Café, located on University Parkway near Albertson’s and 24 Hour Fitness, is a replica of the Rexburg favorite Craigo’s. They offer a sizeable pizza buffet, along with a salad bar and some pasta options. Is the food good enough for Pizza Pie Café to complete the fine dinning trifecta? Our munchers Ben Wagner and Jake Welch give their two cents.
I once had the chance to sample Craigo’s Pizza in Rexburg (I saw a mouse there by the way, as well as fitting eight people into the back of my jeep liberty on the ride over, but that’s another story) and, if you’ve been there, it’s impossible to try the Pizza Pie Café without comparing the two. They are, for all intents and purposes, identical. In fact, I’m unsure as to why the owners (who own Craigo’s as well) named the new restaurant the Pizza Pie Café instead of just naming it Craigo’s. Besides being snappier and rolling easier off the tongue, many of the students at BYU have been to Rexburg and I’m sure many have sampled Craigo’s or at least heard of it. The title Craigo’s would have evoked memories of the classic Rexburg college dive.
Despite the owners’ lack of imaginative marketing, PPC (at this point I’m just sick of typing the whole name) met all three qualities of “the trifecta”. While the pizza was not as good as that found at Brick Oven or SLC’s The Pie, it was good and there was a wide variety of selections — including my favorite, a pizza with potatoes and bacon on top. PPC also offers pastas and salads on the buffet, along with a great selection of dessert pizzas. The meal cost me about $7 and was well worth the amount of good food I was able to eat. In short, PPC does what it does extremely well — an affordable buffet with good quality pizza. I challenge you to find another place in Provo where you can eat as much good food for as good of a price. 5 out of 5 pizza pies
As a disclaimer, I need to inform everyone that I am a pizza snob. For two years, I worked at a pizza place in New Jersey where I feasted on free pizza and other fine Italian foods. There I was able to discover that pizza is more than cardboard crust and flavorless sauce. Folks back east take pride in their pies and work hard to perfect their craft, and because I was spoiled by some of the best pizza on earth, I have a high standard for what makes a quality pie.
That being said, I didn’t have high expectations for the PPC. After all, it was an all-you-can-eat pizza place in Provo, where I have yet to find anything that compares to anything back east. I was, however, pleasantly surprised with what the PPC had to offer. The pizza wasn’t great, but it was better than another buffet pizza I’d tasted previously. There is a good variety of pizza, but after two or three slices it all starts to taste the same. The only pie that really stood out was the BBQ Chicken pizza, because of its tangy barbecue sauce. The dessert pies were also a nice surprise, my personal favorite being the apple cobbler.
Overall, the PPC is not a bad place to get some grub. It offers a whole lot of food for a pretty good price. Would I say that it completes the dining trifecta? No. As good as the pizza might seem, you get what you pay for. When I went, I felt obligated to eat more so I could get my money’s worth. When a buffet has truly great food, you can leave without having to justify your purchase by binge eating. 3 out of 5 pepperonis
All in all, our Munchers were pleased with the pizza at the PPC, unless you happen to be a pizza snob. They also offer a variety of menu items that are separate from the buffet, but the workers don’t really make an effort to up-sell anything. The price of the buffet is $6.99, with an additional $1.89 for a fountain drink. Overall: 4 out of 5 poorly named pizza joints
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