CiCi’s Pizza the good bad and the ugly

We have been to CiCi’s Pizza Buffet in Florida and in the Carolinas over the past few years. Our kids love it, and I think Eilis would rather eat there than just about anywhere.  We pretty much know what to expect when we go, and the only absolutely horrible time we’ve ever had was with my stepmom, who realized on our way to get CiCi’s that she did not have her passport or travel documents to board a cruise ship the next morning.  I don’t think we ate a thing that night.

Eilis was invited to a birthday party, and to soften the blow for Granuaile, who was not invited to a birthday party, we let her choose what she wanted for dinner.  Pizza.  Swell.

As we were driving home, Jim saw a sign at the recently opened CiCi’s Pizza in Cherry Hill that said “3 for $9.99”.  Ever the bargain shopper, he told me to pull in.

And this is where the scales of good and bad started swinging violently in both directions.

First, on the plus side, this is a really convenient location.  It’s located right near the mall we go to most often, and just around the corner from the movie theater we go to most often with the girls.

Unfortunately, on the minus side, the convenient location made for a crowded Saturday evening.

It’s okay, though, because on the plus side, Granuaile has fallen asleep, and the 3 for $9.99 is a carry out deal.  You can’t beat that in this economy!

Oh, but wait, on the minus side, when you try to order the carry out deal, they tell you it’s no longer available.

On the plus side, the staff here is damn friendly, and you almost don’t mind being told you’re not getting your pizza deal.

On the minus side, when Jim asked how much the Mexican Ole specialty pizza was, the friendly girl didn’t know. She told him to look on their sign.  Their sign is missing prices.

That’s okay, though, because on the plus side, two large pizzas rang up for less than $13, so it’s still a good price.  And the friendly girl at the cash register offered him a complimentary soft drink while he waited for the pizza to cook.

Blech.  On the minus side, the sweet tea he got from the beverage bar was weak, unsweetened, and tasted like dirty water.  You can’t really complain when you get something for free 🙁

Fortunately, on the plus side, another customer walked up and let them know that their sweet tea was a puddle of nastiness, thereby saving other unsuspecting sweet tea drinkers the fate of pond scum sweet tea.

The handsome manager in the yellow shirt, on the plus side, said he would have someone take care of it right away.  He is another friendly staff member!

If you’re considering eating in, the pizzas were replenished quickly with hot stock, and the restaurant was quite clean, especially considering how busy they were.

Unfortunately, Mr. Yellow Shirt has to inform Jim that somehow, in their rush to get our pizza ready, they accidentally flipped it upside down in the oven.  It’s ruined.  They have to start over.

But, if you’re still keeping score, on the plus side, he offers us a dessert on the house, which turns out to be a pizza box FULL of CiCi’s cinnamon rolls, which really are the only reason some people even go to CiCi’s.


Now, if you’ve hung in through the good and the bad, let me reveal the ugly.

I know – it doesn’t look ugly from here.  It’s not a pizza I would have normally ordered anyway, but Jim likes to try new things – it adds spice to his life.  But the picture doesn’t look half bad.

Ummm, ewwww.  There’s my review of the Mexican Style Ole Pizza.  It was a wet bottomed, soggy mess of a pizza with nasty old bagged salad thrown on top (you know, the kind you buy with the carrots and red cabbage?  That’s what was on top of the pizza – since when is red cabbage Mexican??).  Blech would be a compliment to this pizza.  It was inedible, so we let Jim eat it.

Gastric bypass folks – you know the drill with pizza.  Sometimes the crust is too doughy, but CiCi’s is a thin crust, and it never gives  me any trouble.  Go for pizza selections at the buffet that have more lean proteins – they do have some topped with chicken as opposed to pepperoni and sausage, and that will save you some fat and calories.  This isn’t the worst pizza, and it’s one of the few pizzas I can consistently eat without agonizing later.

In Summary, CiCi’s is fun, a good value and okay food. Don’t expect to be in Italy eatting Pizza Margherita next to the Vatican. I’ve done that, and its unrealistic to expect the same experience at a value buffet chain in America. You go for the value to CiCi’s.

CiCi’s Pizza
818 Haddonfield Road
Cherry Hill, NJ 08002

(856) 910-2424

CiCi’s Pizza Gastric Bypass Restaurant Review

CiCi’s Pizza, for those unfamiliar with the place, is a pizza buffet restaurant.  For a set price – around $6 or $7, depending on the CiCi’s you go to – you can eat as much as you want of their many varieties of pizza, macaroni with a red gravy or an alfredo sauce, and two or three kinds of pasta.  They also have a small selection of desserts – a dessert pizza, that is kind of like an apple pie on a pizza crust; cinnamon buns; and chocolate brownies. 

In terms of the gastric bypass patient, CiCi’s might not be your first choice.  Pizza is high in fat, after all, and fat is one of those foods we should avoid.  Pizza rests on pizza crust, and that is another thing that for many gastric bypass patients is not a safe food.  But I say go, my fellow WLS buddies!  Enjoy the pizza, have some salad, skip the pasta, and you’ll come away happy.

The pizza at CiCi’s is mostly thin crusted (although you will see one or two Sicilian varieties), and if you don’t eat the back of the crust, you really shouldn’t have any trouble at all with the bread part of the pizza.  You can skip the pizza with tomato sauce (although I do not know if CiCi’s uses sugar in their sauce, I always assume that any place that serves red sauce uses sugar), because you will find many options without red sauce.  But even the pizza with the red sauce doesn’t overload the crust with the sauce, and for most of you, it should still be a safe bet.

The cheese, as we all know, is chock full of protein, and some of the CiCi’s toppings are added protein.  There is a ham and cheddar, chicken, BBQ chicken, as well as the more traditional pepperoni, sausage, beef, and ham and pineapple pizzas.  You can make a good choice even at the pizza buffet, and they are really very accomodating, so if you want them to make you something, they will. 

The salad bar varies from restaurant to restaurant.  Some of them have two or three pre-made, pre-dressed salads, usually including a pasta salad, a caesar salad, and a mixed green salad.  Other CiCi’s have a regular salad bar.  This one we went to had the pre-made, pre-dressed salads, and I stuck with the mixed green salad with an Italian type dressing.  You can certainly skip the salad if you fear the fat content in the pre-dressed salads, but I had no trouble with it.  I even had a little bit of a bacon ranch salad that was offered – a mixed green vegetable salad with bacon, a little cheese, and ranch dressing.  It tasted good and I didn’t dump, so I was pleased with that.

If you’re craving dessert, this is not the place to find happiness.  Your options on the dessert buffet are limited to ooey gooey chocolately delicious looking brownies; ooey gooey sticky sweet cinnamon buns; and ooey gooey caramely delicious apple pie type pizza.  I would guess that the sugar content in any of the desserts is enough to send you into some kind of serious, laying on the floor, begging for mercy dumping situation, and if the sugar doesn’t bother you, the fat likely will.  But if you are the kind of WLS patient that can handle that stuff, they do cut the brownie pieces into small squares, and the apple pie pizza thing into thin slices, so you may be able to get away with a taste of either of those.  The cinnamon buns are much smaller than those you would get at the mall Cinna-Bon store, but they are the most generously sized dessert, so you might want to skip those.

You can add whatever kind of drink you want to the buffet, and they do have water at no additional cost.  I stick with unsweetened iced tea.

CiCi’s is certainly not gourmet pizza, but it is good tasting pizza, and it’s a great restaurant to take a family with kids.  For those of you who hesitate to go to a buffet with your family because you know you can no longer eat your money’s worth, CiCi’s is a reasonably priced enough option that even if you can only eat one or two slices and a bit of salad, you won’t feel you’ve wasted money. 

I highly recommend CiCi’s pizza to those of you who have had Gastric Bypass surgery – and to those who haven’t.  It’s enjoyable for the whole family.