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Friday, May 21, 2010

Cici's Pizza Buffet In Downers Grove

Place: Cici's Pizza Buffet
Location: 1340 Butterfield Rd, Downers Grove, IL
Type of Place: Pizza buffet restaurant
Secret: Kids three and under are completely free! This is nice for those of us with little ones who are old enough to enjoy a slice or two of pizza but young enough to not have to pay!
Appropriate ages: Anyone old enough to eat solid foods.
Cost: $4.50 (plus about two dollars for a drink) for adults, $3.00 plus one dollar for drinks for kids between four and twelve. For kids three and under, it is free!

I always see the commercials for this restaurant, and I'm a pizza lover, so I've been wanting to check it out for a long time. Recently Diana, Jimmy and the kids went there on a night while I was at school, and Diana and Jimmy said it was horrible. But I wanted to see for myself! So yesterday Pufferfish and I decided to go there for lunch. (Okay, so I decided. But Pufferfish thought it was a great idea!)
The first thing I noticed was that the guy at the counter gave us a cheerful greeting and a smile as we walked in, asking us how we were doing. I know, that seems like a small thing, but you don't really get that much anymore! So many people just hate their jobs and let it show. I appreciated the friendliness here!
The buffet consisted of about ten different kinds of pizza, plus one pasta dish, and a mini salad bar with different toppings and dressings. One thing that I wished was that the items at the buffet would have had labels of some sort, the way Old Country Buffet does. It was hard to tell which kind of pizza was which. Of course, some were obvious, like the vegetable pizza, sausage, pepperoni, etc.But others were less obvious. For instance, I had always wanted to try the macaroni and cheese pizza, but I wasn't sure which one it was (and I was too shy and socially awkward to ask!) I think they don't put out all of the pizzas on their menu at once. I didn't see the deep dish kind either, or the Mexican style, or some of the other kinds that are on the menu.
I got Pufferfish a couple slices of the cheesiest-looking pizza, and I loaded up my own plate with about six different slices. (I didn't bother with the salad or pasta, although it looked good! I wanted to try all of the pizzas!) We found a table, and sat down to eat.
The pizza was... not spectacular. It wasn't horrid, either. It didn't taste old or greasy to me, but it was more like regular frozen pizza you get at the grocery store. It was tasty, but definitely not awesome. But... buffet food never really is, right?
Pufferfish liked it though! She ate half of each of her two slices, which is really good for her. (She eats like a bird!)

We moved onto dessert, my favorite part of any meal! The dessert had three choices... cinnamon rolls, brownies, and some sort of apple pizza. The cinnamon rolls and the applie pizza were delightful! Especially the apple pizza. It was thin but sweet, apply and cinnamony, and had icing on top. I could have eaten forty pieces of it! The brownies were a little weird though... sort of bitter and chalky. (I ate three of them. I have no idea why.)

Finally, Pufferfish and I checked out the little arcade in the back of the restaurant. The arcade games were a little above Pufferfish's little. There were driving games and shooting games and things, and an air hockey table... things more suited for the eight and older crowd. But they also had one of those games where you lower a claw into a bunch of candy and try to grab as much as you can. Pufferfish loves candy more than life itself, so she was ecstatic to play this game! I had four quarters, so she got to play four times, and won a bunch of candy.

My overall opinion? If you're going on a date or having an adult night out with friends, choose a nicer restaurant. But if what you're looking for is a clean, cheap, family-friendly restaurant where you know your kids will eat and enjoy most of the food and where five bucks in quarters will give your kids half an hour of fun in the arcade, then Cici's Pizza will really fit the bill! (By the way... little kids will probably enjoy the pizza here more than they would like more expensive, fancier pizza from a regular restaurant. Kids are weird that way. I mean, they think the pizza at Chuck E. Cheese's is terrific, right?)


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