Decent Service

The cost of goodwill: priceless.

Oh, Coward! Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens, 714 North Portage Path, Akron Through August 17, 330-836-5533
Shabby service is something we've all grown accustomed to. You know, the server who responds to a problem with a shrug and a stare, or the manager who would never think of adjusting a check -- even after you've found his toupee in your tomato bisque. So that makes a recent experience at Decent Pizza (2768 Mayfield Road, 216-321-3800) all the more remarkable.

A big ol' rec room of a pizza, pasta, and sandwich emporium (conveniently located right next door to a laundromat and equipped with televisions, a jukebox, and a bank of video games), Decent Pizza opened last month in Cleveland Heights, just around the corner from Coventry. The brainchild of Cleveland restaurateur David Cameron, co-owner of the first-rate Hunan by the Falls and Hunan of Solon, the 80-seat, nonsmoking restaurant has a menu that wanders from noshes like garlic-parmesan fries to gourmet pizzas such as the Maui-Wowie, a lush pileup of freshly sliced baby 'bella 'shrooms, ham, pineapple, cheeses, and sliced almonds on a thin, thin crust.

We rassled up a couple of slices at the order counter and headed for a booth, to await the arrival of our Veggie Supreme calzone. We had been told it would take about 15 minutes to bake the giant turnover; after 20, my companion wandered back to the counter to inquire. An abashed worker admitted they had burned the first calzone, and were just throwing a second one in the oven. But giving more than the usual shrug, this fine fellow followed up with a) an apology, b) a full refund of our calzone cost, c) a complimentary bottle of Corona, and d) a yummy new calzone, overstuffed with cheeses, spinach, broccoli, sun-dried tomato, and mushroom. All of which cost Cameron and his co-owners, Lawrence Lake and Scott Silver, maybe $10. But the goodwill it purchased? Priceless.

Decent Pizza is open 11 a.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday, until 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, and noon to 10 p.m. on Sunday.

Dish of the week . . . Lure Bistro's chef-owner Nick Kustala has a new signature dish on his menu, and it's killer. Imagine a thick filet of pearly baked grouper, topped with spicy crabmeat (a mix of crab, cream cheese, Old Bay, and Cajun spices), settled onto a mound of breathtakingly buttery Yukon Gold mashers, and finished with lobster sauce and béarnaise sauce and a few drops of red pepper coulis ($25). Now stop drooling, drive to Lure (38040 Third Street, Willoughby; 440-951-TUNA), and order up one of your very own.

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