Thursday, October 22, 2009

Cardo's Pizza

by Rachel Godward

In 1989, Ohio University alumnus John Moore opened Cardo’s Pizza in a cramped 500-square-foot building on Broadway Street in downtown Jackson, Ohio. Today Cardo’s hosts parties and serves buffet-style pizza in a roomy, refurbished Henry’s grocery store decorated with movie posters, Ohio paraphernalia, awards and a spunky, old jukebox that surprisingly still works. An antique Cardo’s delivery car door even hangs from the ceiling above the condiments. Upon entering the restaurant, smells of fresh dough and spices fill the nostrils, and the tender smell of pepperoni surrounds the place like a solid brick wall.

As an Italian myself, with an Italian roommate, father and grandparents that spend hours slaving over traditional dishes in the kitchen, I feel fully qualified to answer the following question: Sure, this pizza shop’s atmosphere is superb, but are the pies just as nice?

Meh, I could do without this. = ©

Hmm, that’s not too bad, but I’ve had better. = ©©

Mmm, that’s pretty tasty. = ©©©

Woah! Can I have 20 of this? Or at least the recipe? Please?! = ©©©©

Let’s start with the sides:

Garlic Bread — ©

As with every buffet, food can get cold pretty quickly. However, this garlic bread could not afford to lose its heat. This generic-looking bread was cold and hard. It was yellow with something that definitely was not butter and sprinkled lightly with basic spices. In summary, the garlic bread looked and tasted store bought.

Cheesy Bread — ©©©

Is soft, doughy and super cheesy your thing? If so, this bread is a necessary addition to your buffet plate. It’s simple, but classic. The edges are lightly baked to a brown crisp, but the middle retains its chewy, “melt in your mouth” appeal. Just make sure to grab this special side when it comes right out of the oven.

Now, on to the crispy, thin-crusted pizzas:

BBQ Chicken — ©©©©

This pie is covered edge-to-edge with chicken bits and crispy bacon crumbles, smothered in a deep brown sauce. The flavor is subtly smoky, just like it was cooked on the grill. It’s super tasty and not too filling, so you could afford to grab seconds. And trust me, after trying this divine pie, you’ll want more.

Cheeseburger — ©

This pizza is covered in a generic red sauce with a blend of cheeses on top. Sounds pretty normal, right? But instead of using ground beef, this pizza substitutes with sausage. It looks the same, but it doesn’t taste the same. It’s definitely a let down for cheeseburger lovers everywhere.

BLT —©©©©

This one took me by surprise. As a BLT lover, I had high expectations and the pie didn’t look all that impressive, but once I took a bite I realized my first impression was wrong. This pizza is, in fact, a BLT. It’s covered in crispy bacon pieces with a mayonnaise base, and topped with heaping amounts of lettuce and tomato. And no one flavor is overpowering; they all work together to recreate that classic sandwich taste.

So, are the pies just as nice as Cardo’s refurbished location? I’d vote yes. Sure, the place has a couple taste bud downfalls, but as long as you stick to the Cheesy Bread, BBQ Chicken and BLT pizzas, you’ll probably be so enveloped in delicious flavors that you’ll forget all about the mediocre pies. Just remember: It’s an all-you-can eat buffet for one flat price, so be sure to grab seconds, thirds and fourths of all your favorites!

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