First Taste

Giant Rustic Pizza's Second Location in Arcadia Doesn't Measure Up

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See Also: California Pizza Kitchen Reintroduces Gluten-Free Pizza

Unlike the other pizzerias listed, Giant Rustic Pizza's small dining area and counter service mean a much more casual experience. One wall is devoted to a large chalkboard with the menu scrawled across it. After ordering, we watched customer after customer stream in to pick up orders they had called in and then leave. The ambiance isn't conducive to family dining, but, unlike the other pizzerias, Giant Rustic Pizza offers slices for a quick lunch and actually caters to to-go customers.

The menu features pizzas in 20 or 14 inches, sandwiches for under $8, chicken wings, $9 salads, spinach artichoke dip, and a $7 "garlic and cheese bread blossom." For gluten-free folk, there also are crustless pizzas, which is pretty much a casserole-like plate of cheese, sauce, and toppings, as if going GF wasn't bad enough.

Ordering the Thursday special, which includes one 14-inch three-topping or specialty pizza and a salad for $19.95, we immediately were handed a pre-packaged salad, which again is ideal for grab-and-go but not too great when you're looking for a fresh, dine-in experience. The California Dreamin' salad, which is the only salad of six to be vegetarian, certainly isn't a grownup salad. Despite having artichoke hearts and roasted red peppers, the whole thing tasted like a mediocre Italian salad with chopped rectangles of pre-sliced mozzarella cheese on top (please refer to the video clip below -- we know it's Family Guy, but it nails it). The dressing seemed to be little more than slightly dressed up ranch, even though it was billed as "Cilantro Lime Dressing."

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Heather Hoch is a music, food, and arts writer based in Tucson. She enjoys soup, scotch, Electric Light Orchestra, and walking her dog, Frodo.
Contact: Heather Hoch