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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.
818 Haddonfield Road
Cherry Hill, NJ 08002