Mark and I had a pizza hankering a few weekends ago, and wanting to try some place new, we decided on Tony Sacco’s coal-fired pizza. Tony Sacco’s is a chain with establishments in the Midwest, Florida and North Carolina but that didn’t deter us because some chains (like Bertucci’s) can be really good. We had driven by Tony Sacco’s many times when shopping at Whole Foods, as it’s located in that strip mall’s parking lot, and always wondered how it was.
The restaurant atmosphere wasn’t anything special: standard large room with granite tables and typical black metal slatted-back chairs as you find in many pizzerias. Nothing on the walls to make it homey or charming, but there were some TVs if you wanted to go there to watch a game. What I did notice was that the tables were kinda long and skinny, so that Mark and I were abnormally far away from one another. I probably only noticed this because I recently read restauranteur Danny Meyer’s book Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business, in which he describes specifically picking wider tables that were shorter in length so guests would be closer to one another across the table and could speak more intimately without shouting. So that was one odd distinguishing feature of Tony Sacco’s.
Mark and I each ordered a personal pizza, and personal they were. On the small side, it was enough for me, but Mark was still a bit hungry after his pepperoni pizza….more on that in a minute.
I had a sun-dried tomato and banana pepper pizza, which was fairly tasty. They definitely did NOT skimp on toppings, which was appreciated, however we did remark that the toppings really gave the pizza flavor, whereas a plain cheese pizza without toppings probably would have been bland. They also put some sort of added butter or oil on the crust, which was unwelcome. The crust texture was well enough, but whatever they spread on there at the end just added grease and no flavor. At least if you are going to add all these extra butter calories, make it like Papa John’s garlic butter goodness. I feel like this “butter on the crust” thing is a new trend that I’m seeing in a lot of pizza commercials, and I don’t like it. Your crust should be delicious enough that you don’t need to slather it with butter. If I see you putting extra butter on your crust (of stuffing the crust with cheese for that matter), all I’m thinking is that your dough is sub-par and I probably should avoid your establishment all together. Just sayin’.
Overall, if I were on a road trip and were hungry, would I go to Tony Sacco’s? Yes. If I’m craving pizza at home, am I going to seek out Tony Sacco’s? No. (On a positive note, the waitstaff was very friendly, so good job to them.)
As I mentioned earlier, Mark was unsatisfied after his small personal pizza, so we decided to go elsewhere for our second pizza dinner of the night. Part II to come.