Tuesday, Apr 24, 2018
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio

Dan Neman

A persnickety pizza parlor? Peculiarly, no

I recently was asked what I like most about Toledo. Without hesitation, I said, "The food. The restaurants here are all great."

I'd like to amend that statement, if I may. Not all the restaurants are great.

Allow me to explain.

On a recent Friday, my wife and I were in the mood for pizza, so we decided to stop by the pizza parlor recommended by my friend Skip. He said it is the best in town. I'm beginning to wonder about Skip.

The first clue that things were not going to turn out well came when we were met at the door by a young man who said, in the most discouraging manner he could muster, "Do you want to dine in?" It was at least three hours before the restaurant was supposed to close, so obviously he wasn't hoping to leave soon. We said we did want to dine in, so he told us to take any seat we wished.

After a longer wait than the relatively empty restaurant warranted, our server deigned to visit. My wife asked about wines, and the server said they do have some, but she didn't know what type they had (it's possible she was new, but if so she didn't mention it). I asked about beer, and she listed three brands. I ordered one. Later, I saw that they actually serve seven brands.

We ordered our food, and she didn't write down the order. I always find that worrisome. Sure enough, a couple of minutes later she was back to ask, "Was that a Greek salad you wanted?"

Um, no, actually. We wanted a garden salad. Seriously, we won't think less of you if you write down the order.

Several minutes later -- longer than the relatively empty restaurant warranted -- a young man tossed a plate of salad on the table. That must be why they call it tossed salad. Anyway, he turned and was about to leave when we asked him for, you know, forks. He was a bit sullen about it, but he left and sauntered back to hand me two forks. He didn't even put them on the table.

The waitress drifted past, and we asked her for a knife and spoon. A few minutes later, the young man ambled over with one knife and one spoon. One. But that was our fault. We should have specified two knives and two spoons.

Eventually, the pizzas arrived. I don't want to say "gross." But they were gross. They were sweet, diabolically sweet. Pizza is designed to be savory; it's not a dessert. These were disgustingly sweet, but they were otherwise flavorless.

My wife's had plenty of olives on top, but that was all. She had ordered a vegetable pizza, which is supposed to come also with mushrooms and onions. She went up to the front to complain, and was told that the mushrooms and onions were under the cheese.

I looked. There was a slice of mushroom, perhaps one micron thick. Maybe less. I didn't see any onions, but I suppose there could have been a few onion atoms scattered around.

The young man returned to check on us. I asked if I could have that beer I ordered.

After we choked down as much as we could stand -- in my frustration, I ate far more than my wife -- we asked for a check.

And we waited. We waited longer than the relatively empty restaurant warranted. Eventually we went up to the front, where the waitress, who was manning the cash register, managed to find our check.

Near the door, there were suggestion forms asking for comments. With a gleam in her eye that I am afraid was not at all pretty, my wife picked up one.

You think this column is rough? You should see what she wrote.

Contact Daniel Neman at: dneman@theblade.com or 419-724-6155.

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