Telling me to go in and find a table, my dining partner began car-stalking an elderly couple who were making their way with all deliberate speed toward their own vehicle.
Leaving my dining partner to enjoy the thrill of the hunt, I entered a restaurant packed with happy diners. A busy and smiling manager Mike Orzechowski greeted me, saying they were running shorthanded tonight so I could pick any table and was welcome to get my drinks.
I spotted a table being cleaned and quietly claimed it as my dining partner’s. Speaking of which, through the windows I could see her piloting our car, still tracking the elderly couple’s parking spot like a lioness after her dinner.
Though Pizza Plus resembles most buffet-oriented pizza parlors in design and operation, it differs from that mediocre norm in three important respects.
First, their menu is more eclectic. Yes, there is pizza, but the pizza at the Jonesborough Pizza Plus is way above the norm in both quality and variety, and all created with the freshest of ingredients. Pizza Plus also offers a number of hoagie-style sandwiches (fresh ingredients again) as well as several pasta dishes built upon spaghetti-style pasta and the house’s excellent marinara sauce.
Salads are available, though most patrons prefer to build their own from the diverse and fresh offerings found on the salad bar portion of the buffet line. On the heated portion of that buffet line, I saw between six and eight medium-sized pizzas laden with all manner of condiments, vegetables, meats and cheeses, alongside two pizza pans containing the dessert offerings.
Second, Jonesborough’s Pizza Plus is the cleanest of any restaurant I’ve seen that sports a pizza buffet. Not only were the bathrooms spotless, but the dining room floor was swept, the tables free of dirty dishes and wiped down, including the seating.
As for the buffet line, yes, there was some minor spillage of ingredients but this is expected, especially when parents allow small children to serve themselves. Said spillage was collected frequently by the wait staff, all of whom made sure both the buffet line and salad bar were replenished just as frequently.
The third difference is the professionalism of the Jonesborough Pizza Plus wait staff.
If you’ve never waited tables for a living, it is one of the toughest “Serving the Public” jobs on the planet. Your typical restaurant server rarely makes minimum wage, and is dependent upon their people skills for the tip money that supplements their income. In addition to taking orders and customer relations, servers are also responsible for busing tables, restocking and keeping clean the buffet line and the salad bar, keeping the parking lot clean and tidy and last but not least, taking orders for takeout over the phone and in person.
This particular evening, the server team at Jonesborough’s Pizza Plus were doing all of these tasks while being half-staffed. What is more, they were doing their duties with a smile and a good attitude.
Liking what we saw, my dining partner and I decided to dine from the buffet line and salad bar at $8.75 per person. As is our custom, both of us created a tasting plate for the other.
The tasting plate I created for my dining partner included the classic pepperoni and mozzarella, a slice of hamburger, onion and mushroom, one of ham and sausage with mozzarella, one of their Meat Extravaganza specialty pizzas, and some of their cheese stix, pizza dough baked with mozzarella melted on top and then sliced into long, thin churro-like strips.
My dining partner loaded my tasting plate with a BBQ Chicken specialty slice, one of the Veggie D’Lite specialty, two of their Classic Deluxe pizza slices and (ah, yes) my favorite, a sausage, mushroom and onion with extra black olives.
Ever observant, Taylor kindly brought us some extra marinara sauce and some garlic butter for dipping (3 for $1.59). We each had a salad of mixed greens and more with Italian dressing from the freshly-restocked-by-Taylor salad bar.
Our favorites from the Jonesborough Pizza Plus buffet were, in order of preference: Classic Deluxe, BBQ Chicken and the “My Favorite” (especially good, since it had only been moments out of the pizza oven). Next was the Veggie D’Lite, followed by the Meat Extravaganza (too much meat for me though our friend the Carnivore would have loved it), and then the hamburger onion & mushroom. The rest of our choices rated a bite or two each, but didn’t make the cut. We also sampled their cinnamon stix ($3.95 for a regular order), the cinnamon rolls ($5.99/order) and the dessert pizza. Our favorite was $5.99 for a small one with black cherry fruit topping. Very nice indeed.
Finishing our meal, the two of us, bellies bulging, tottered to the door. The supper crowd had thinned out, though you wouldn’t know it from Taylor and her team-mates. They were still busy cleaning, restocking and seeing to the remaining diners. Taylor herself gave my dining partner and I a cheery “Thank you, come back and see us again, won’t you?”
Now, my dining partner and I just had an excellent meal prepared from fresh ingredients, served in comfortable and clean surroundings by a hard-working wait staff who all have a good attitude toward their job and their customers, and being short-staffed on top of it all? You bet my dining partner and I will be back for a return visit to Jonesborough’s Pizza Plus.
Jonesborough’s Pizza Plus
211 Headtown Road
Sun-Thu 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Fri Sat 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
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Credit cards accepted