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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Fazoli's - pizza baked pasta

  Their website still has the motto "Fast, fresh, Italian", but Fazoli's isn't quite as fast as it used to be.  I remember the first time I walked into one of their restaurants, back in ~1993, that I was impressed by the endless breadsticks, and the concept that the food was pretty darn quick.  Since it was considered a fast food restaurant (pay up front, wait in line for your food), you were expected to bus your own table, and no tip was needed.  However, they still came around every 8-10 minutes or so and asked if you wanted more breadsticks.  Ah, those breadsticks - endless if you sat around long enough!

  A few years back they tried doing away with the endless breadsticks, and offered them only as a side item choice where you paid a certain amount, and got a couple of them.  That went over like a lead brick.  Today the company seems to have undergone a change where they are trying to become less of a fast food restaurant, and more of a traditional one.  The lines at the front are gone, but you still pay up front.  Now you go wait at a table instead.  My wait this time around was about 10 minutes for lunch.  Instead of serving yourself, they bring the food to you.  I also no longer saw a convenient place to dump my own trash and put my tray afterwards, so it appears that they are now expecting to clean up after you, which would mean that tips are expected.

  Although I usually try some lasagna when I eat Italian food, this time I decided on a new offering, "Pizza baked pasta", for $3.99.  They implied that the price may be going up soon, so it may be a bit higher.  When presented with a choice between pizza baked spaghetti, ziti or ravioli, I went with the latter.  The Pizza baked ravioli is essentially a dish of cheese ravioli topped with what you would traditionally think of as a pizza topping.

  If I'm thinking of Italian food, I often at least consider dining at Fazoli's.  They were playing a mix of 1940's, 50's and Italian music in the background this time, with very occasional advertisements.  The place was very clean, and they brought me some breadsticks within a few minutes of sitting down, while I was waiting for the food.  They even offered to let me have more than just 2, which was great.  The chairs in the place are a nice touch, with the backs formed into large red hearts.  About the only tiny complaint I can come up with is that perhaps the interior could use a new paint touch up - the walls had a good number of scrapes from people backing their chairs into them.

  One thing that I thought was funny is that they offered to let me add Parmesan cheese to my pizza baked pasta for an extra dollar.  Parmesan cheese is already readily available at all the tables for free, so why would I do that?

  The Pizza baked ravioli arrived in an extremely hot ceramic dish.  The mild cheese worked very well with the pepperoni topping, which was essentially ~1/4" of cheese and sauce on top.  It was hot enough that I was able to sample the occasional bite by blowing on it on a spoon, but it was another 4 or 5 minutes before I could really dig in.  Once I had finished, I noticed there were self serve doggie bags.  I didn't need them this time, but it was a nice touch!

Fazoli's - 5230 Cobblegate in Moraine  (just off of Springboro Pike, not far from the Kroger's)
telephone: 299-3457
hours: Sun.-Thur. 10:30am - 10pm, Fri. & Sat. 10:30am to 11pm
delivery available at most locations (there are 4 in the Dayton area)

copyright 2010 by Dayton Dining

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