Pizza buffets, God love ‘em, are almost always the worst. So many of the times I’ve visited them, the stainless-steel trappings are a marinara-soaked wasteland where chefs send their worst pizzas out to die, typically opting for lesser spices and even lesser sauces to make a quick buck on people who simply cannot control their basest of pizza cravings.
But, you know, I’m a good soldier and, under orders from Patrick, an admitted fan of their carry out specials, I went and tried out Luigi’s Pizza, 7901 North May Ave., last Friday night. And besides—at a price of $6.99, even if the whole thing was a bomb, at least I’m only out $6.99 and maybe just a little self-respect.
Grabbing a plate from the large warm stack, I decided to start off with a salad; I hate to say it, but the salad bar was completely mediocre, basically just iceberg lettuce and about four or five varieties of creamy dressings. Thankfully, I was able to add on enough solid onions, saggy tomatoes and sliced beets for something of a somewhat healthy number.
Looking around the room though, I’m not going to give Luigi’s too much grief for the sparseness of their greens—not to be too presumptuous, but this is sadly some of the only salad some of these people will ever eat on their own accord. So good on Luigi’s for at least providing this healthful attempt at culinary diversity, no matter how wilting.
There were about two or three pizzas laid out on the large buffet at this point; maybe they’re waiting until the room gets a bit more crowded before they set out the extravaganza, right? No matter, with the provided tongs, I quietly grabbed individual slices of pepperoni, sausage and hamburger, the only pizza choices available, but solid ones nevertheless.
Regardless of choice (or the lack thereof), this really was some on-the-mark pizza; the thin crust on the pepperoni was buttery with a great cache of cheese and pepp, while the toppings on the hamburger seems to be literal slices of ham and burger. The sausage was more of the same, featuring fat pockets of grease burying the thick nubs of sausage deep.
I gotta say: despite having the most stereotypical pizza-place name on the planet, Luigi’s Pizza, admittedly, does a good job of serving fat slices of wholly traditional pie, which is really the only job a pizza buffet has to accomplish in life. But that wasn’t all, was it?
Usually, every pizza buffet has a couple of square side items to make people happy, here being the spaghetti and no meatballs with canned marinara—although they do use their own secret blend of spices, I was told, but didn’t try. And, of course, the quintessential dessert pizza, an apple-cinnamon treat that I just had to say no to, knowing full-well that an achingly sweet bite is just a little too much on this already full day.
Even though I remember the building being home to a rather sub-par Pizza Inn for years, Luigi’s Pizza has apparently been around for quite a while which, in this world of $5 corporate buffets that threaten to knock Mom and Pop pizzerias out, it’s good to see the little guy, covered in flour and sauce, succeed for once or, at least, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from five to eight. Cómpralo ya!