Restaurants inside of strip malls are generally inexpensive with mediocre food. La Mesa’s Chicago On A Bunmanages to reverse the stereotype, offering good food, but not great for the price.With so many pizza places offering massive pies for only $10, it seems pretty silly for a place like this to charge $15-$20 for a medium thin crust. As if that weren’t expensive enough, sandwiches are $7-$9 without even coming with a side of fries or chips.
To be fair though, the pizza was quite good. The cheeseburger pizza was loaded with cheddar, red onions and hamburger meat and the thin crust was perfectly crunchy without being too hard. The Italian sub was good, loaded with wonderful meats, but it needed far more veggies and way less Italian dressing. In face, I had to hold it sideways just to drain off the extra dressing so I could taste the actual sandwich instead of just dressing.
While the dogs all sound good, they are also expensive and given the value of the food I did try, I don’t intend to go back just to try a hot dog.
When Dominos redid their formula, I was extremely skeptical and hesitant to try the new recipe. But I did like what I had, and at $5.99 for a large two topping, their price simply can’t be beat. In fact, it seemed to spurn a race with most pizza chains trying to have the best value for the price. Both Papa Johns and Pizza Hut have turned to offering unlimited toppings for $10 (although Papa Johns has since canned this promotion). And Little Cesaers has continually been pumping out $5 cardboard circles for mass consumption.
While there is still plenty of room for gourmet pizzerias and even neighborhood spots, can a massive chain that refuses to drop prices even hope to compete for value? Round Table better hope so.
To review the chain, the BF and I ordered two large pizzas from the Round Table in Santee last night, both of which were on special. Even though they were on sale, the total still came out to $30 without any tips. At more than twice the cost of two large Dominos pizzas, the chain seemed to be losing right away. But then we looked at the sizes. The Round Table pizzas were at least two inches larger in diameter and they were significantly thicker, so realistically, you are getting more pizza at least.
But when it comes to toppings and flavor, Round Table blows the competition away. We ordered their Italiano pizza for $11, which has a slightly different crust than usual and comes in either cheese or peperoni. The crust was good, well seasoned and thick. Both my boyfriend and I probably could have ate no more than a third of the pizza each, which is a lot less than the full Domino’s pizza it takes to fill us each up.
Then came the BBQ chicken pizza. This had their traditional cheese-laden crust and an array of toppings, including chicken, bacon, green onions, garlic sauce, BBQ sauce and red onions. It was just as filling as the other pizza and $5 more, but the flavor was incomparable. The combination of toppings blended together perfect, it was sweet, savory, tart and heavenly.
After a full investigation, I think it’s safe to say that Round Table certainly holds its own against other chains, even if the price is significantly higher. So next time you’re ordering, consider more than price, consider the fillingness of the pizza and the flavor. Round Table just might be the best value for your dollar.
I’d give it a 4.5 out of 5, because, hey, it could still be a little cheaper.
It’s been years since I stopped by BJ’s in La Mesa, but I always knew they had a great happy hour, so we headed out there yesterday to see if it was still around. As luck would have it, the restaurant’s happy hour hasn’t changed a bit. All of their mini pizzas are half price, drinks are a dollar off and appetizers are two dollars off. Of course, the prices for everything are on the expensive side, so this just means everything is reasonable instead of over-inflated.
We went ahead and ordered the piranha nachos as an appetizer and I ordered their Irish Root Beer. The nachos were good, but a few chips were burned and their salsa has always been a bit strange. The smokey chipotle flavor is just a bit off when paired with the sweetness of the rest of the flavors. Unfortunately, you can’t have nachos without salsa, so we just tried to go light on the salsa. While the chili, cheese, olives, sour cream, tomatoes and other toppings were tasty, I think I’d skip this $9.25 appetizer ($7.25 during happy hour) in the future, unless they get a new salsa.
As for my drink, the Irish Root Beer was pure heaven. With the restaurant’s own root beer, Baileys, BOLS butterscotch schnapps and Jameson whiskey, it was the perfect blend of sweet and bitter. Over all, it had a taste of a root beer float, but the sweet bite of the Jameson made it all the more delightful. At $7.75 per glass ($6.75 during happy hour) it’s a little on the pricey side, but the size and flavor made it worth the expense.
For dinner, we went for the mini pizzas. BJ’s specialties are its beers and pizzas, so I knew we’d be in for a treat no matter what we ordered, so we went for the exotic and tried the Mediterranean, with Kalmata olives, grilled chicken, tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, pesto, feta cheese, peperchinis and garlic, and the bacon cheeseburger, with ground beef, red onions, bacon, pickles, tomatoes, cheddar cheese and thousand island dressing.
Both of the pizzas were tasty, but the Mediterranean had quite a few less toppings than one would expect, although the taste was still an excellent blend of all the ingredients. The cheeseburger pizza was a treat for the tongue as the flavors of the pickles and dressing were unexpected, but entirely pleasant. I would highly recommend either pizza, particularly for the price of $5 each during the happy hour special.
I ended up with enough left overs to have lunch the next day, which meant I was too stuffed to try the pizzokie, which looked quite tasty. But, to correct that omission in our meal, I’ll be making home made pizzokies later and then sharing the recipe with you all soon.
If you get the chance to stop by BJ’s, give it a try. You won’t be disappointed.
I’d give the restaurant a 3.5 out of 5 right now, but if they reduced their prices a bit and got a better salsa, that could easily become a 5 out of 5.