Faced with a gray and rainy Sunday, the hubby and I decided to venture out to Sunrise Pizza & Cafe. It was a meandering sort of morning, so it was nearly 2pm when we arrived and we were the only customers. The staff was incredibly solicitous, greeting us warmly, offering samples, bringing out premade crusts so we could gauge the various sizes.
The concept is similar to Subway. You select what you would like off the menu and then direct the staff in assembling it to your specifications. They have a conveyer based heater/oven which the pizzas ride through to cook. This allows them to have incredibly quick turn times for custom pizzas, but left me a little dubious as to how the final product would taste.
We opted to split a large single meat pizza. The crust was retrieved from a rack, already rolled out with vent holes in place. We were given the option of adding “garlic” which looked to be garlic butter. Being big garlic fans, we happily accepted. The garlic butter was brushed onto the crust and sauce applied on top. After verifying sauce levels, cheese was added and we were onto toppings. We selected bacon for our meat, and precooked strips of bacon were hand torn into smaller pieces and generously applied. Each meat pizza also includes unlimited veggies, which we took advantage of by requesting spinach, tomatoes, and olives. The spinach was also hand torn and applied, somewhat sparsely, and the tomatoes and sliced olives sprinkled on top.
From there, our pizza was whisked into the conveyer oven, while we moved to the cash register where we added a fruit cup and two soft drinks. After paying, we filled our drinks and settled into a table.
We had only been seated a few minutes when our food was brought out to our table. The pizza featured a thin crust which was a touch chewy. The garlic butter was, sadly, undetectable though the sauce had a nice flavor. The toppings extended nearly to the edge, with no real “crust” to speak of. The bacon was the bright spot of our pizza, clearly of good quality and not overly salted. The fresh tomatoes were slices of Romas and , as fresh tomatoes are wont to do when cooked, they released their juice, leaving a few watery spots behind. Flavor-wise, they were unremarkable, fairly standard supermarket quality for Romas in winter. The black olives had the tinny taste that comes from being canned. The small pieces of spinach wilted nicely, but added little other than color. For the most part, the cooking method didn’t seem to affect the taste. The only exception to that was the cheese–I felt that it was more rubbery than gooey–like it hadn’t quite melted all the way through. My husband didn’t notice it being significantly off, so your mileage may vary on that one.
I am forever trying to work more fruits and vegetables into my diet (someday, I am going to find a good justification for needing more cream and chocolate in my diet…) so I was happy to see the fruit cup offered. It was a medium size, smaller than a standard parfait cup, but larger than the usual “side” cups. The strawberries were firm, but nearly tasteless. The canned pineapple, fine, and about what you would expect for canned pineapple. The red grapes were happy little globes of color and were firm, not mushy, but they weren’t quite ripe and had a sting of tartness.
Sunrise Pizza will appeal greatly to certain groups. Parents with young kids who love pizza but hate waiting? Bingo. Those looking for a filling meal at a low price point? Bingo. Compared to other pizzas at similar price points, our pie was happily grease free. The staff was friendly and the menu includes flatbreads, salads, and frozen yogurt, all at killer prices. There are even gluten free options. However, like most other quick cooked foods, while this is serviceable, it’s not pizza at it’s finest.
Total for the meal: $14 (includes one large pizza, one fruit cup, and two fountain drinks)
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