(Relatively) new pizza in Cincinnati

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Wallyum
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2004/07/12 03:38:26 (permalink)

(Relatively) new pizza in Cincinnati

Friday at dinnertime, everyone in my household answered "PIZZA" when the time came for me to ask about dinner. I've been eyeing this new restaurant that has sprung up in one of the old Mio's locations since I noticed it a couple of months back. It's called Portobello's and as I mentioned, it's located in the old Mio's location in Mt. Carmel. It's one of the nicer of the Mio's stores, with an unusually large seating area compared to some of the others we've been in. The first thing that caught my eye were the Saratoga Chips listed in the Appetizers section. I ordered a basket of chips with our drinks, (wondering if the new place had picked the idea up from the oddly legendary Montgomery Inn, where Saratoga Chips were one of the only high points of several below average meals I've eaten in the past,) and they were an excellent start. Served with Baby Ray's Barbecue Sauce, I think they finally helped convince my daughter that barbecue sauce is a legitimate threat to ketchup as a condiment. When the time came to order, none of us were in a similar mood and we all wound up ordering our own pizza. My daughter picked the thin crust pepperoni pizza off the kids menu. My son had to have the "Atsalotta Meat" pizza, also thin crust. My wife ordered a thin crust Mexican and I went with the Portobello Mushroom deep dish. Everyone but my wife came away satisfied, and my wife was only disappointed in herself for not choosing the Spinach & Bacon pizza. Speaking for myself, my Portobello Mushroom deep dish was excellent. It looked and tasted much like one of Mio's Stuffed Crust pizzas, never a bad thing to be compared to, with the toppings buried below a thick topping of cheese and tomato sauce. Service was good, not great, but they seemed fairly busy despite the water main break out on the street. (While we were happy to have found a new pizza place to add to our list, on the way home we were disappointed to find that the Hibachi Master, a Japanese fast food style restaurant that we enjoyed, had closed it's doors.)
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    TJ Jackson
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    RE: (Relatively) new pizza in Cincinnati 2004/07/12 08:32:50 (permalink)
    Don't worry overmuch over Hibachi Master.

    Same style food, but prepared freshly rather than steam tabled, can be found in the lower level food court of the Carew Tower downtown Cincinnati. Called Sakkio of Japan.

    As an aside, I think 4 or 5 different restaurants have failed at the HM location since it originally opened as a Bruegger's bagels

    We've tried but were not overly impressed with Portabello's, but I think we'll give it a second chance based on your review, Wallyum. They do regularly appear in the local coupon books (Reach, etc)
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    Wallyum
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    RE: (Relatively) new pizza in Cincinnati 2004/07/13 04:34:39 (permalink)
    I liked the people as much as I liked the food at Hibachi Master. I just wanted to see them make a go of it. I liked Pizza Nova also. Pizza the way it's supposed to be; greasy and cheesy. As for eating downtown, I manage to get to Tower Place once a year on the day after Thinksgiving. I'll try Sakkio this year. And you're right about the Hibachi Master location. I swear it's jinxed. Beechmont Avenue in general has been a death knell for a lot of our favorites. (So why does TGIF keep hanging on?)
    We're going to try Portabello's at least once more so my wife can try the Spinach Bacon pizza. That will tell us if our visit last week was a fluke or not. I was wrong about her choice on Friday. She had a vegetarian pizza, largely because it featured something called basil cheese. Turns out that basil cheese isn't enough of a draw for her. I'll look for the coupon for our next visit.
    #3
    TJ Jackson
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    RE: (Relatively) new pizza in Cincinnati 2004/07/13 08:27:24 (permalink)
    What do you think of Mio's? And have you tried a Mio's with the sesame crust?

    This is our favorite right now for good basic pizza, with ZZ's in Clifton as our favorite "gourmet" pizza
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    Wallyum
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    RE: (Relatively) new pizza in Cincinnati 2004/07/13 23:59:57 (permalink)
    I like Mio's. That's actually where my first thought was going to take us on Friday, but then I decided to be daring. We ate there once last winter at your local Mio's and they made me two BarBQ Chicken pizzas because they said the first one was burnt. They were both great. Losing Mio's was one of the worst things ever to happen to Ft. Thomas.
    I hate sesame seeds. When I was a kid I ate many a cold Big Mac because I insisted on picking them off.
    I don't think we've tried ZZ's. I've had some bad experiences in the past few years in Clifton. Where exactly is it? I've heard that Zino's reopened down in Covington, so I'll have to check that out some time before summer ends.
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    45013
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    RE: (Relatively) new pizza in Cincinnati 2004/07/14 00:51:31 (permalink)
    Wallyum, Portobello's has its own website at http://www.portobellospizza.com/!
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    Wallyum
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    RE: (Relatively) new pizza in Cincinnati 2004/07/14 04:09:07 (permalink)
    Thanks for the link. It says they've been there since 2002! Can that be right? I think I'm going to try the Trivoli on my next trip.
    Shoot. Now I'm hungry for pizza.
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    TJ Jackson
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    RE: (Relatively) new pizza in Cincinnati 2004/07/14 08:27:01 (permalink)
    ZZ's Pizza

    http://www.cincinnati.com/dining/zzspizza/
    http://www.citybeat.com/2002-05-16/diner.shtml
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    Wallyum
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    RE: (Relatively) new pizza in Cincinnati 2004/07/14 22:54:01 (permalink)
    I thought that sounded familiar. We were there years ago when my wife worked just down the street. I'd consider that East Walnut Hills as opposed to Clifton though. We'll have to give it another try. It's been too long.
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    Wallyum
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    RE: (Relatively) new pizza in Cincinnati 2004/07/14 22:55:48 (permalink)
    Great. Now I went and read the menu. Where am I going to find a Greek pizza at 11:00 at night?
    Sounds like a Whitey's night to me!
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    Shelma9
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    RE: (Relatively) new pizza in Cincinnati 2004/09/12 23:03:21 (permalink)
    Wow...I never thought I would find such great reviews re: restaurants in my lil' ol' neighborhood (Cherry Grove/Beechmont). I agree with just about everything I've read, but thought it would be fun to post my two cents.

    Best Pizza: Papa Murphy's, hands down. This is the new take & bake place that opened near Chipotle and Skyline in the Cherry Grove Plaza. Quality ingredients, cooked fresh and hot at home, and incredibly cheap. Plus they will gladly do half & half pizzas, light sauce, all the nitpicky stuff. Addictive -- similar to Pizza Nova, but I think better.

    I love Hibachi Master and hope it survives on Beechmont. It moved away from the more Sakkio-style format to a more traditional Japanese resturant menu, now serving a full sushi menu. The only sushi place I know of in this area, and delicious miso soup, salad and chicken teriyaki. Quite reasonable as far as Japanese food goes, and you feel great after eating it (not over-full or guilty). By the way, you mentioned Sakkio in Tower Place downtown, where I eat several times a week. Perhaps more convenient if you don't want to venture downtown is a sister location called "Sarku" in the food court of Eastgate Mall. Same Japanese fast food menu, same company, same employees, just a different name.

    Another great new restaurant is Royal Taj. We're lucky to have finally have Indian food come to Anderson and it is DELICIOUS. The lunch buffet is the best way to go, but there are endless options for dinner as well (never miss an opportunity to get the garlic nan -- soft and fresh, practically like pancakes). This resturant opened just a few months ago behind Kinko's on Beechmont near 5-Mile. Delicious food, very reasonable pricing, a welcome addition among the usual chain restaurants and predictable food. It seems to be catching on pretty well with the locals, so I hope it will be around for a long time.

    Thanks for the forum -- this was fun!
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    Wallyum
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    RE: (Relatively) new pizza in Cincinnati 2004/09/13 03:32:58 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Shelma9

    Wow...I never thought I would find such great reviews re: restaurants in my lil' ol' neighborhood (Cherry Grove/Beechmont). I agree with just about everything I've read, but thought it would be fun to post my two cents.

    Best Pizza: Papa Murphy's, hands down. This is the new take & bake place that opened near Chipotle and Skyline in the Cherry Grove Plaza. Quality ingredients, cooked fresh and hot at home, and incredibly cheap. Plus they will gladly do half & half pizzas, light sauce, all the nitpicky stuff. Addictive -- similar to Pizza Nova, but I think better.

    I love Hibachi Master and hope it survives on Beechmont. It moved away from the more Sakkio-style format to a more traditional Japanese resturant menu, now serving a full sushi menu. The only sushi place I know of in this area, and delicious miso soup, salad and chicken teriyaki. Quite reasonable as far as Japanese food goes, and you feel great after eating it (not over-full or guilty). By the way, you mentioned Sakkio in Tower Place downtown, where I eat several times a week. Perhaps more convenient if you don't want to venture downtown is a sister location called "Sarku" in the food court of Eastgate Mall. Same Japanese fast food menu, same company, same employees, just a different name.

    Another great new restaurant is Royal Taj. We're lucky to have finally have Indian food come to Anderson and it is DELICIOUS. The lunch buffet is the best way to go, but there are endless options for dinner as well (never miss an opportunity to get the garlic nan -- soft and fresh, practically like pancakes). This resturant opened just a few months ago behind Kinko's on Beechmont near 5-Mile. Delicious food, very reasonable pricing, a welcome addition among the usual chain restaurants and predictable food. It seems to be catching on pretty well with the locals, so I hope it will be around for a long time.

    Thanks for the forum -- this was fun!


    I've been wondering about Papa Murphy's. Wednesday is my birthday, so maybe I'll treat the family to a couple of pizzas. (Great. Now I'm hungry.)
    My son loves Hibachi Master. It upsets my wife's stomach and my daughter claims that it does the same to her, but I love it. Sam and I usually hit HM on nights when the ladies are elsewhere engaged.
    I'm familiar with the Kinko's. Is this in the plaza with Kinko's and Panerra Bread? (Years ago there was a Camelot Music there. I miss Camelot.)
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    TJ Jackson
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    RE: (Relatively) new pizza in Cincinnati 2004/09/13 15:14:32 (permalink)
    Wally, keep in mind that you can't eat in at Papa Murphy's - they only sell unbaked pizzas that you have to take home and bake. You prolly knew this already, but on the off chance you didn't, I figure it'd save you some aggravation (showing up with a hungry family) otherwise. I haven't been there yet, can't speak to the quality of the pie.

    I have a coupon for the Indian place and will (am on vacation this week alone doig honey-do projects) prolly hit it for lunch this week.
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    Wallyum
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    RE: (Relatively) new pizza in Cincinnati 2004/09/14 01:50:59 (permalink)
    I knew that. We've eaten at Skyline, Chipotle's and Smoothie King often enough to be curious, but just haven't managed to give it a try. I'd love to give the Indian place a try, but I'm not sure what to order. We ate at one of the Indian places in Clifton with one of my wife's co-worker's, who happens to be a native Indian. He ordered everything we ate that night and while I enjoyed some of the dishes, the only thing I can remember with any clarity is the pickles. :-o I'd do those again in a heartbeat. If either of you care to make a recommendation, I'll be ready with pen in hand.
    TJ, enjoy the vacation.
    BTW, what's the story on Pizzaville in Mt. Washington? Ever tried that?
    #14
    TJ Jackson
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    RE: (Relatively) new pizza in Cincinnati 2004/09/14 11:25:05 (permalink)
    Pizzaville is amazing

    A long time ago, Pizzaville was the only pizza place in Mt Washington. It has somehow survived the arrival of chain pizza places as well as the big blow, LaRosa's moving in right next door.

    I don't know how the owner - Len - does it. The place is all but empty most of the time, with occasionally groups of kids sitting down at one of the few tables inside, ordering a 1$ calzone and a drink, and playing cards and yakking for hours. He runs the place by himself with no help whatsoever. He's still putting money and effort into the place, for example putting in a new marble tile floor in the past 6 months. Amazing. I hope he is open for years to come, but I have no idea how the business is sustained

    The pizza? I think it's pretty good. My wife, a lifelong LaRosa's addict, tried it once and pretty much prefers it (and Mio's) to LaRoas's, but still gets LaRosa's from time to time. If I am ordering, she always asks for Pizzaville, tho. He also offers a calzone (sans ricotta, rally just a pizza foldover) and a hoagie which are decent. Of course, no delivery is available.

    Now my question: I thought you lived in Ft Thomas? You seem to be in the Cherry Grove/Eastgate area a whole lot for a Ft Thomas resident....
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    Wallyum
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    RE: (Relatively) new pizza in Cincinnati 2004/09/15 00:31:09 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by TJ Jackson

    Pizzaville is amazing

    A long time ago, Pizzaville was the only pizza place in Mt Washington. It has somehow survived the arrival of chain pizza places as well as the big blow, LaRosa's moving in right next door.

    I don't know how the owner - Len - does it. The place is all but empty most of the time, with occasionally groups of kids sitting down at one of the few tables inside, ordering a 1$ calzone and a drink, and playing cards and yakking for hours. He runs the place by himself with no help whatsoever. He's still putting money and effort into the place, for example putting in a new marble tile floor in the past 6 months. Amazing. I hope he is open for years to come, but I have no idea how the business is sustained

    The pizza? I think it's pretty good. My wife, a lifelong LaRosa's addict, tried it once and pretty much prefers it (and Mio's) to LaRoas's, but still gets LaRosa's from time to time. If I am ordering, she always asks for Pizzaville, tho. He also offers a calzone (sans ricotta, rally just a pizza foldover) and a hoagie which are decent. Of course, no delivery is available.

    Excellent! I'm glad to hear that it's a worthwhile pizza. We try every new mom and pop pizza place that we can find in the area, so I'll have to move this one up to the on deck circle. Now that I think of it, we MAY just celebrate my birthday there on Saturday with my family. That'd bump his bottom line up some.

    Now my question: I thought you lived in Ft Thomas? You seem to be in the Cherry Grove/Eastgate area a whole lot for a Ft Thomas resident....

    Easy answer. Ever been to Florence? Bleah.
    I've been going to Beechmont since I was a kid, so that has something to do with it, and I'm sure working over here helps. One of my co-workers complained about this years ago. He couldn't understand why we would consider going to the Beechmont area when Florence was so close. Well, it isn't, and it's a night and day difference in traffic and food quality. I never could make him understand that. Take Donato's for instance, we not only miss out on a lovely journey on I-75 if we pick Beechmont over Florence, but the Donato's on Beechmont is far superior to the others we've tried. (That was my grandparent's favorite before they passed away. We'd take them out on Saturday nights and Donato's was almost always their first choice, then Bill Knapp's. My wife can't stomach the thought of Donato's now.) It always bums me out when the Beechmont area loses an eatery because it cuts down on our options. It killed me to see Fuddrucker's go, as well as Bill Knapp's and Ditto's.
    That's about it. Short drive. Less traffic. Familiar turf.

    #16
    TJ Jackson
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    RE: (Relatively) new pizza in Cincinnati 2004/09/15 00:44:13 (permalink)
    Wally - good to know.

    Keep in mind that Len has like, oh, 12 chairs total at three tables, so there isn't a lot of seating room even assuming the place is empty when you arrive. Maybe call him in advance to see if he can reserve some seats for you or something? He's pretty flexible/amiable.

    I am suprised I haven't heard you mention the lone Roy Roger's Cincinnati location just a tiny bit north from Portobellos on old SR74. Easily my fave cheap hamburger and fries place in town. Another good burger -- had my first one yesterday -- is at Salem Gardens on Salem road not far at all from the Mt Washington Mio's. It's a bar that happens to serve food, lots of TVs with mostly sports on, that sort of thing.

    Did you know Bill Knapp's chocolate cakes are still made? You can find them at Meiers, in the bakery area in a refrigerated case.

    Hey Shelma9! Is the pizza at Garzelli's, just barely on the other side of I-275 in Withamsville, any good? They've survived at that location for a good 5 years or so now.....
    #17
    Wallyum
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    RE: (Relatively) new pizza in Cincinnati 2004/09/15 02:49:10 (permalink)
    That small, huh? I guess maybe I'll save Pizzaville for a night when it's just my wife, kids and I.

    I've mentioned Roy's on several occasions. The Double R Burger is my all time favorite. Few treats bigger in my book than a Double R, Apple Cheese Crisp and an iced tea you could bathe in. My son shares my fondness for Roy's, but my wife and daughter aren't quite as thrilled when I suggest it.
    As for local burgers, can I assume that you've tried Zip's in Mt Lookout? We ate there for the first time on Saturday and it was everything I've ever heard it would be. Great burger done the old fashioned way. Salem Gardens sounds like the Skyline Tavern, an old bar that overlooks the NKU campus in Highland Heights. I played ball for them for years and we'd often eat there after our games. One of my favorite hole-in-the-wall burger places. (Very reminiscent of Zip's.)
    As for the Knapp's cakes, I'm not much of a dessert guy. I do my damage the old fashioned way; burgers, pizza, steak and ribs.
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    TJ Jackson
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    RE: (Relatively) new pizza in Cincinnati 2004/09/15 12:44:15 (permalink)
    I had forgotten that you had mentioned Roy's, sorry.

    I've tried Zips a couple of times, and have not been impressed. *shrug* I don't know what to tell you, they get rave reviews all the freakin time around here.

    It sounds like you son and ou like a lot of things, and your wife and daughter don't like anything. what DO they like? :-)
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    TJ Jackson
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    RE: (Relatively) new pizza in Cincinnati 2004/09/15 16:44:44 (permalink)
    I gave Zips another try today based solely on your praise of it, and the result was the same: for just shy of 4 bucks, a thin and fairly tasteless burger that seemed to be overcooked, on a bun that did not seem to have any substance, ie it wanted to fall apart. I can't even conceive of spending 7 bucks (!!!) there on a double zipburger.

    I had a 1.75 small order of fries as well, and was underwhelmed by these as well. I'll admit it was interesting to find shoestring fries in Cincinnati at a place other than Steak and Shake.
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    Wallyum
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    RE: (Relatively) new pizza in Cincinnati 2004/09/15 23:48:19 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by TJ Jackson

    I had forgotten that you had mentioned Roy's, sorry.

    It sounds like you son and ou like a lot of things, and your wife and daughter don't like anything. what DO they like? :-)


    No problem. I don't expect people to remember what I say. If they started now I wouldn't know how to handle it anyway. ;-)

    Oddly enough, they both liked Zip's. They'll also agree on LaRosa's, Mio's and Portabello's. My daughter loved Tony Roma's, but MAN! did she ever turn her nose up at a Krystal burger on the way back from the beach last month. In short, no telling. We have tickets to see Chicago at the Aranoff next Saturday, so I'm sure we'll find something my wife likes.
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    Wallyum
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    RE: (Relatively) new pizza in Cincinnati 2004/09/15 23:50:49 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by TJ Jackson

    I gave Zips another try today based solely on your praise of it, and the result was the same: for just shy of 4 bucks, a thin and fairly tasteless burger that seemed to be overcooked, on a bun that did not seem to have any substance, ie it wanted to fall apart. I can't even conceive of spending 7 bucks (!!!) there on a double zipburger.

    I had a 1.75 small order of fries as well, and was underwhelmed by these as well. I'll admit it was interesting to find shoestring fries in Cincinnati at a place other than Steak and Shake.

    HA! You and I must be from completely opposite ends of the burger spectrum. How do we agree on Roy's? My burger at Zip's was great, but those fries didn't do it for me either, but then I'm not a fries guy.
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    TJ Jackson
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    RE: (Relatively) new pizza in Cincinnati 2004/10/01 10:46:44 (permalink)
    Awesome! Finally a review of some of the best pizza in Cincinnati

    http://www.cincinnati.com/freetime/dining/reviews/100104_mios_yum.html
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    TJ Jackson
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    RE: (Relatively) new pizza in Cincinnati 2004/10/05 08:47:32 (permalink)
    Wally: I finally had pizza at Betta's in Norwood, just yesterday evening.

    Didn't much care for it. Good crust, I must admit, but the little sauce on it was somewhat bitter and it didn't have very much chese either.

    Also thought it was odd that they really lack a waiting area for carryout orders.
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    Wallyum
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    RE: (Relatively) new pizza in Cincinnati 2004/10/06 00:07:19 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by TJ Jackson

    Wally: I finally had pizza at Betta's in Norwood, just yesterday evening.

    Didn't much care for it. Good crust, I must admit, but the little sauce on it was somewhat bitter and it didn't have very much chese either.

    Also thought it was odd that they really lack a waiting area for carryout orders.


    I'm looking forward to a return trip. Which pizza did you have? I had a Four Seasons pizza, which was pretty good, but my son and daughter both had straight up pepperoni, which was great. As for the carryout, I noticed that also. I think the layout was done with the idea that they would be primarily an "eat-in" place. They maximized table space and completely forgot about the carry-out business.
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    TJ Jackson
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    RE: (Relatively) new pizza in Cincinnati 2004/10/06 08:05:02 (permalink)
    Plain cheese pie.

    I always tend to go with plain cheese when I am trying a place out, as I feel I get a more pure taste of what the place makes, with toppings just getting in the way.
    #26
    TJ Jackson
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    RE: (Relatively) new pizza in Cincinnati 2004/10/06 12:04:54 (permalink)
    Nice little article in[url='http://www.citybeat.com']Citybeat[/url] this past week on an assortment of non-chain pizza places in Greater Cincinnati.

    http://www.citybeat.com/2004-10-06/diner.shtml

    I really like the fact that Adriatico's and ZZ's did well, and that Fratelli's did poorly. I too did not finish my Fratelli pizza a few weeks back.....and that may be a first for me.
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    Wallyum
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    RE: (Relatively) new pizza in Cincinnati 2004/10/06 23:40:31 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by TJ Jackson

    Plain cheese pie.

    I always tend to go with plain cheese when I am trying a place out, as I feel I get a more pure taste of what the place makes, with toppings just getting in the way.


    Good idea. I usually go for the oddest pizza on the menu that doesn't feature green peppers, but straight pepperoni is always a good standby.
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    Wallyum
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    RE: (Relatively) new pizza in Cincinnati 2004/10/06 23:41:48 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by TJ Jackson

    Nice little article in[url='http://www.citybeat.com']Citybeat[/url] this past week on an assortment of non-chain pizza places in Greater Cincinnati.

    http://www.citybeat.com/2004-10-06/diner.shtml

    I really like the fact that Adriatico's and ZZ's did well, and that Fratelli's did poorly. I too did not finish my Fratelli pizza a few weeks back.....and that may be a first for me.


    Nice article, but I wish they'd have gone a little deeper. There are a bunch of mom and pop places in the area that I've always been curious about.
    #29
    ephus
    Junior Burger
    • Total Posts : 21
    • Joined: 2004/04/18 19:12:00
    • Location: Cincinnati, OH
    • Status: offline
    RE: (Relatively) new pizza in Cincinnati 2004/10/16 21:54:59 (permalink)
    mio's is pretty good when i'm in the mood for deep dish... wasn't that impressed with the regular...

    what i really want is a pizza place near hyde park square. i live just off the square and wish there were a new york style pizzeria somewhere within walking distance.

    where is zz's? i'm trying to picture it...
    #30
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