Review: Alfredo's Satisfies For Quick Lunch
Alfredo's Pizza Cafe
1012 Eastwood Festival Center
Open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Carry-out and catering available.
By Deborah Lockridge
Meeting my friend Patti for lunch on the east side of town, I was relying on her recommendation for a good locally owned place. Alfredo's Pizza Cafe did not disappoint for a casual lunch.
Alfredo's is located at the back of the Eastwood Festival Center, near the movie theater. You order at the counter, where you can see the traditional pizza ovens and food being prepared in the kitchen. On the walls is a mixture of Italian decor and sports memorabilia, including old Sports Illustrated covers in inexpensive wood frames that are amazingly like the ones at the old Petrucelli's on Hwy. 280.
A big attraction at lunch is pizza by the slice. We're not talking about a limited selection of two or three flavors kept warm under heat lamps. These are cooked to order (we suspect they probably partially pre-bake the crust, then add toppings as ordered and pop in the oven.) We had one slice with Italian sausage and one with artichoke hearts and black olives. ($1.45 for a slice, 40 cents for each topping)
Another specialty, my friend told me, is the calzones, so we ordered a Veggie calzone ($4.99) plus a small tossed salad ($1.75).
The young man taking our order at the counter was friendly and efficient, cracking jokes and giving us our self-serve styrofoam cups, the prepackaged side salad and our tabletop number. We served ourselves drinks and helped ourselves to plastic silverware and paper napkins. It was at least the heavier-duty plasticware, not the flimsy stuff.
The salad was in a small plastic to-go container with a small plastic cup of the house (and only) dressing. It consisted of fresh, crunchy romaine lettuce with olives, onion, and tomato. Sadly, it was a mushy winter tomato, but the rest of the salad was quite tasty with its balsamic vinegar dressing.
We had a little time to talk before the rest of lunch arrived on styrofoam plates. The calzone was hot and steamy, the dough tender and flavorful. It was filled with a blend of ricotta, Parmesan, romano and mozzarella cheese, with spinach, mushrooms, tomato, and bits of crisp-tender broccoli. There was a small plastic cup of marinara sauce to go with it, but really the calzone was plenty flavorful on its own. It was served with a pasta salad that didn't have much in the way of vegetables other than finely chopped olives, but had a nice little peppery bite to it.
Both slices of pizza were quite good with their thin crust and tasty toppings. Some pizza lovers might like to see a little more pizza sauce, but that's a personal preference.
You can also get whole pizzas with thin (Neapolitan), stuffed, or thick (Sicilian) crust. The stuffed and Sicilian pies only come in one size, large. There's a nice selection of both traditional and gourmet toppings, and you also can choose pesto or white sauce.
In addition to pizza and calzones, Alfredo's offers sandwiches and heroes such as muffaletta, Philly cheese steak, meatball hero and Italian combo. There are also pizza rolls -- rolled-up pizza filled with mozzarella and other pizza toppings. Entrees include spaghetti or fettucine with your choice of tomato sauce, meat sauce, and meatballs or sausage; fettucine alfredo; baked ziti with or without meat; lasagna; and chicken, sausage, meatball or eggplant parmigiana. In addition to the tossed salad we had, you can also get a tomato and feta cheese, Caesar, or pasta salad in regular or large sizes.
Overall, Alfredo's was a great fast-service alternative to the usual chains. The food was good, the atmosphere casual but pleasant enough, and the service fast and friendly. A notch above average and worth a visit if you're in the area.
Published March 18, 2005
(Update, August 2007: We eat fairly regularly at the newer Alfredo's location in Pelham. While it's not the best pizza in town, it is good, cheap, and convenient for busy people on their lunch break or busy families on the go in the evening.)