Thursday, July 12, 2007

Food for Thought: Fazoli’s new menu more Blah than Ahhh

A year ago when I should have written a review on Fazoli’s fast Italian restaurant, I would have given a much favorable view. Being a vegetarian for a few years now, I have come to truly appreciate the few eateries that accommodate my lifestyle. Fazoli’s USED to be one of my favorites.

A couple of months ago, Fazoli’s changed ownership. In turn, everything changed, and not for the better. I used to love the build your own pasta menu. An absolute gem for the meat eaters and vegetarians alike. For $2.99 I could choose whole wheat penne pasta over the less nutritious white in spaghetti, fettuccine or penne. I had the option of five different sauces and I could add meat or veggies for one dollar more. The small portion was more than enough, but if you had a serious hunger, the regular was a very reasonable $3.99. Being so satisfied with this section of the menu, I admit, I rarely ventured outside my usual except to switch up the sauces. My favorite part of the dine-in experience was the complimentary garlic breadsticks brought to my table by a very friendly and often talkative older woman. Whom I am sure loved the interaction with the wide variety of people.

With any regime change there is always a need to “revamp” what was already in place. In the case of the new “Ahhtalian” menu, that meant tossing the build your own pasta option, scrapping the whole wheat pasta, peppers & onions topping and two of five sauce choices, and raising the prices. Now if want spaghetti marinara I have to pay $3.49 for a small serving or $4.49 for the regular. Not to mention, my usual topping of broccoli is now $1.69! To make matters worse, on the 3 occasions I have visited Fazoli’s since the change, I have yet to see the nice old woman with breadsticks once. I certainly hope she did not lose her job, but it would not surprise me. Now if you want more than the one breadstick you get with your decidedly smaller meal, you have to go up to the counter, wait for someone to acknowledge you and ask for more.

I am a habitual carryout menu hoarder, so I dug into my pile of dusty old papers to find the old Fazoli’s menu I knew I had to compare to the new one I acquired on my recent outing. Without much surprise, 95% of the menu prices are more expensive now; the exception being 2 desserts which dropped 20 and 50 cents, however, the third dessert was raised 20 cents in price. As well, the price for whole pizza is down by $1 for cheese only and $2 for one topping. Gone are the Meatball Subs and Chicken Caesar Paninis. Say goodbye to the Deep Dish Pizzas and Pizzarinos. 

Arrivederci fast fresh Italian.