Ciciís Pizza is cheap. Itís unashamedly, unpretentiously, unceremoniously cheap. (For those of you in a hurry, that sums up our entire epinion. You may click HR now and move on to something else.)
Recommend this product?
We stopped in at Ciciís because we were intrigued with the concept of a $2.99, all-you-can-eat pizza buffet. We found it to be exactly what one would expect from a $2.99, all-you-can-eat pizza buffet. The concept is simple: walk in, pay, and join the chow line.
The day we stopped in, we counted eleven different varieties of pizza on the buffet. At first glance, all the pizzas on the buffet appeared the same, but since we were caught in a lemming-like wave of greedy pizza-grabbers, we didnít have time to try to distinguish one from another. Like the rest of the herd we piled pizza willy-nilly onto our lightweight plastic plates and figured weíd sort it out later. We poured ourselves some water, spiked with lemon, to cleanse our palates between pizza hunks.
Squeezing our way through the tight maze of tables and chairs, we found a seat near the window which gave us a scenic view of the parking lot, and dug in. Ciciís actually had a pretty good variety going, so we had all sorts of various sub-par pizzas to delight our taste buds. Besides the standard pepperoni and sausage pizzas, we also tried Hawaiian pizza, spinach pizza, pizza topped with barbecue sauce and some anonymous cheese substance, Alfredo pizza, and jalapeno pizza.
There is no crust selection on Ciciís buffet Ė all the pizzas had identical crust types, which resembled that which comes out of a Chef Boyardee box. Pizza crust should have a light, yeasty, crunchy consistency. This crust wasnít quite like that. It had the flavor and consistency of matzo bread. The thinly-applied, sweet tomato sauce also had a quality of Chef Boyardee blandness about it, with no hint of oregano or garlic to titillate the taste buds. The cheese also was not memorable Ė it was basically there for decorative purposes. It had poor texture, and did not resemble something manufactured from dairy products. Toppings were rather sparse; for example, individual pieces of pepperoni pizza contained not in excess of two pieces of pepperoni. The veggie toppings were not bad; they seemed reasonably fresh and tasty, although rather sparse.
The Alfredo pizza was quite a shock to the system. Instead of tomato sauce, it was topped with Alfredo sauce and cheese. We had no idea what it was until we bit into it, and nearly spit it out because it tasted so bizarre. Alfredo sauce is not something one expects on a pizza. Anyway, once we got used to the concept, it was a bit easier to handle. If you enjoy Alfredo, itís not that bad.
An especially evil concoction was the jalapeno-topped pizza. In contrast to the other pizzas, this particular pizza was quite spicy and flavorful. However, jalapenos and pizza, to us, are the antipodes of the food world. Itís like going into a Mexican restaurant and being served your meal with chopsticks.
So letís say this review has turned you off on the idea of getting pizza here. Well, in addition, Ciciís buffet also offers a couple pasta dishes and a salad bar. When we were there, the pasta of the day was ziti drowned in oregano-laced Chef Boyardee-type sauce. The pasta was not bad, and at least the sauce contained oregano, although it was just about enough oregano the blow your nose off your face. The salad bar consisted of the following items: lettuce, onion, tomato, and mushrooms, with four dressing selections. (This is a working manís salad bar; none of those hoity-toity carrots or cucumbers to grapple with.)
For dessert, we had our choice of various hunks of pizza dough smothered in sugary substances, such as apple cinnamon, maple, chocolate, or just plain old powdered sugar.
The dťcor at Ciciís is basically a gaudy purple-and-green motif, with lots of fake plants thrown in to give the place an upscale quality. The tables are packed very tightly together, with only about a foot between tables. This is fine for the kiddies, but is a problem for those of the larger persuasion. Also when someone sits at the table beside you, you may as well just introduce yourself and join in their conversation, because you are each going to hear everything they say anyhow. Two televisions Ė a big-screen and a smaller one Ė are there for your dinnertime entertainment. When we were there, the T.V.s were playing CNN coverage of the post-election muddle, but we were not able to hear the television because of the noise level in the room.
The atmosphere was quite friendly. When we walked in the door, we were greeted with an enthusiastic ďHEY! Welcome to Ciciís!!!!!Ē Itís a family-oriented restaurant Ė which is to say, the place is dominated by rugrats. Ciciís provides a video-game arcade to keep them busy when theyíre not stuffing their faces with pizza.
The dining area was pretty clean, considering the number of customers coming in and out. The buffet was a bit sloppy, but thatís to be expected, and it wasnít so dirty it made us want to run in the restroom and heave our guts out.
One notable missing element of Ciciís was the total absence of aroma. The air was not filled with the scent of baking pizzas, ingredients, or spices. We found that mildly disturbing, like the pizzas were not made there, but were shipped in from a sweatshop in the Philippines and just thrown out on the steam table for the consumption of the masses.
This is Ciciís Mission Statement, as spotted on the wall near the cash register: ďWhatever it takes to exceed each guestís expectations with the highest quality, fresh, hot food, and a never-before experienced level of service in a sparkling clean restaurant. Whatever It Takes!Ē
Well, for $2.99, our expectations really werenít very high, but Ciciís didnít manage to exceed them by much. Overall, it was quite mediocre, and we canít really recommend it as a culinary destination. But if youíre hungry and broke, and especially if you have kids, then head to Ciciís to get a gutfull of pizza.
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