Overton Park Pizze Stone
1545 Overton Park
I've reviewed Overton Park Pizze Stone before, but now that they are offering a Kids' Night with a "Make Your Own Pizza" bar, I had to do another write up. First off, let me say that I think it's a great idea. My kids (Satchel, 7, and Jiro, 5) LOVE making their own pizza. They love doing it at home and they love doing it at Lou's. However, at Lou's you have to have a reservation and it's only offered once a month. At Overton Park Pizze Stone, it's every Sunday. And Wednesday. Or maybe just Sunday.
I don't live in the Evergreen neighborhood, but I get their emails, which is where I first heard about the Kids' Night. At first it was just Sunday, but then they added Wednesday. So I took the monkeys on a Wednesday. (December 30th, to be exact.) When we walked in (around 6), there weren't any kids and I didn't see a "Make Your Own Pizza" bar. I asked the waitress about it and she said, "Oh it's only on Sundays." I explained that the last email I saw said Sunday and Wednesday and she said that they had tried one Wednesday (the one before Christmas Eve) and didn't have a good turnout.
Needless to say, we were disappointed. However, I pointed the monkeys' attention to the kids' menu and asked them what kind of pizza they wanted. While they were still deciding between cheese and pepperoni, a man, presumably the manager, came over and apologized for the mix up. I told him that it was fine, but that they ought to give it more than a week, or at least stop changing their minds. He apologized again, and I set about figuring out what I should order. It was at this point that I realized I shouldn't have given the kids the choice of their own mini pizzas and instead ordered a larger one for us to share, but I didn't want to further disappoint them.
They both decided on pepperoni and I decided on some sort of turkey wrap with provolone. (I didn't grab a menu and it isn't posted online, so I can't tell you what else was in the wrap. The fact that I can't remember should tell you something. Maybe I got a salad too?) I put our order in with our very sweet waitress and attempted to engage the monkeys in conversation. Maybe I let them each have a notebook. I can't remember! A few minutes later, the man(ager) came out and informed us that the kids could go ahead and make their own pizzas.
At the table next to us they laid out a large marble board, sauce, cheese, and pepperonis. Each monkey was given a ball of dough to roll out and brief instruction on how to do it. I sat beside them and watched as they both every efficiently and effectively created their own mini pepperoni pizza. I'll admit that it seemed a tad anti-climactic. There were only a few other customers in the restaurant and it was very quiet and dark; not at all festive. Everyone was very polite and talkative and encouraging of the monkeys, but it was just a little weird. (In my opinion anyway. The monkeys seemed oblivious to any weirdness.)
Actually, the man(ager) was pretty excited about the whole situation and mentioned that he couldn't wait for his kid (who is apparently still in utero) to participate. I smiled and politely mentioned that it might be a while.
Since he was feeling chatty, I asked the man(ager) how they did it on Sundays, to get a feel for whether we were experiencing the true Kids' Night. He said that they set up two or three stations around the restaurant and that they let the kids use whatever toppings they want. He also mentioned that on the previous Sunday they had about 5 families. So I could imagine it being a bit more fun and exciting on Sunday.
However, I still feel like the inside of the restaurant has a fine dining feel to it, which I guess is fine, but doesn't mesh with the casual menu or the restaurant's seeming desire to cater to families. (They also heavily advertise family sized to go meals.) It just feels stuffy to me. Maybe it's the fact that the inside doesn't really seemed changed from what it was before? (It was previously two different fine dining restaurants.) Like they didn't make it fit their personal aesthetic or vibe (or whatever). Maybe I'm just being too picky?
It took about twenty minutes for the pizzas to cook, and the monkeys were antsy with excitement, and hunger, I presume. We didn't have any bread or crackers to tide us over, nor did we order any appetizers. I think I did actually have a salad (spinach, maybe?), but the kids were not interested in sharing with me.
When the pizzas did come out, both Satchel and Jiro were very excited. I couldn't tell which was which, but they knew exactly which one they had made. (Pepperoni placement, maybe?) I'll admit that their pizzas looked alot better than my wrap, which was actually served cold, instead of hot, much to my dismay. (Why do they have a cold sandwich on the dinner menu?) Luckily, I had my wits about me. "Who's is the best?" I asked. They looked at each other and then back at me. "Want me to judge?" I asked. They both nodded, and handed over a slice of their pizzas.
Now you may be thinking that this is pretty sneaky of me, but how was I going to handle choosing a winner? I'll tell you. Both pizzas were pretty identical, but Satchel had a bit more sauce, which I prefer. (If it were me, I would have put on way more sauce than either of them combined.) However, there was no way I was going to declare the 7 year old the winner, with the 5 year old in the running. When the asked who's was best, I simply said, "They're both really, really good, but I'm going to have to go with Jiro's." Now as I said it, I gave Satchel a wink. Being 7, he is cool with keeping the peace.
Once we finished all of our food, the very polite waitress came back and showed us the dessert menu. Since the boys had behaved so well, I offered to let them split an order of sorbet. Oops, they were out of sorbet. There was then a disagreement on what they should split now, so we ordered blueberry cheesecake for Satchel and something chocolate-y for Jiro. (Why can't I remember that either?)
The desserts ended up being HUGE, especially the cheesecake. But man, that cheesecake was SO freaking good. I asked if it was made in house and the waitress told me that all of the desserts were indeed made in-house. The super-yum desserts ended our meal on a very high note and we all left very full and happy.
I feel obligated to tell you that after eating 3/4 of a mini pizza and 1/2 of a giant piece of cheesecake, Satchel had a major stomach ache all night and ended up puking blueberries the next morning. I didn't get sick, so I'm not saying it was food poisoning or anything, just that you shouldn't necessarily take my decision to let a very skinny 7 year old gorge on pizza + cheesecake to heart!
FYI Chris Davis has a more favorable opinion