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May 16, 2008 11:21 AM

Phoenix Pizza - Oreganos?

Looking through azcentral's "Best of 2008" list, Oreganos was chosen in just about every category for best restaurant. Of course I laughed that it was picked as best date place and best dessert, but after the 6th time seeing it I started wondering. Is this place any good, or is it just a trendy chain pizza joint that non-foody arizonans like? Worth a try?

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  1. A discussion of those topics from earlier in the week:

    Mostly about the poll, but with a smattering of opinions about the food at Oregano's.

    1. If you are looking for a cheap inedible pie, Oreganos is the place to go. The crust is soggy cardboard and the toppings are devoid of flavor.

      On the other hand, the salad that we had was pretty decent.
      We have been to Humble Pie a couple of times in the past 2 weeks and it is excellent. The crust is puffy and lightly charred in places and the version with Schreiners Italian sausage was one of the best pies that we have had in the PHX area. Don't miss the green bean app. We have been to Bianco's and it is a great pie, but no pizza justifies a 2 hour wait.

      1. I would not call it trendy, but I find it a good place for lunch or a laid back dinner with friends. The atmosphere is casual dining and the decor is a little retro chic. think framed Rat Pack albums and old magazine covers. It is definitely cleaner and hipper than most national chains.

        The food is better than average, but not haute cuisine of Italy. Portions are generous and they have a variety of pizza, pasta, salads and sandwiches based on Chicago style dishes and recipes. They also do a half baked cookie dough and ice cream desert that is thorough comfort food enjoyment.

        It is not what I would call a destination restaurant, but as a place to have a good quality meal with friends on a weekday night, I think it's fine.

        And as for the Republic reader's poll, if you saw the other choices they gave you to pick from in the category lists, Oregano's winning so much makes sense. The poll had a lot of real low end stuff listed as options, so Oreganos was like a filet in a pile of hot dogs in many categories.

        Mmmm, hot dogs ... gotta go ...

        1. Oregano's is a chain pizzeria. Enough said.

          9 Replies
          1. re: firecracker

            Hardly enough said. Is 8 stores in Arizona enough to push a decent local brand into the same category as a Domino's or a Pizza Hut? I don't think so.

            We complain alot on this board about the lack decent local food not affiliated with big corporate chains, then when a concept actually works and they are able to open up more than one location, everybody starts wagging their fingers and saying "chain" like they sold out somehow.

            I say good for them and I hope they open more stores, and try other concepts. And the same for Fox, LGO, Arriba, and any other independent, family operator that can save us from Applebee's and Cheesecake Factory.

              1. re: kmarg

                Call it personal preference, but I just try to avoid chains. Food at chain restaurants has a sameness about it and is usually unremarkable. The fact that Oregano's is an Arizona based chain is fine, but it doesn't change my opinion of their product.

                1. re: firecracker

                  Yet you recommend Anthony's on another thread regarding waterfront dining in Kirkland. My husband and I very much miss walking down to the Kirkland location for Sunday brunch as a matter of fact, however Anthony's is in fact a long established local chain in Seattle, n'est-ce pas? Even an airport location these days!

                  On topic, Oreganos can be a fun place to go. My folks love it so we all go as a group a couple times a year. The wait drives me buggy however and on my own don't find it worth the wait...though I can't really think of anywhere I'd wait that long for.

                  1. re: ziggylu

                    Actually, I believe the question was on outdoor dining when the weather is good in the area. There simply aren't that many places with an outdoor patio and for good reason! Eight months of showers!

                    I agree with you, ziggy, on waits anywhere simply not being worth it!

                    1. re: firecracker

                      Give me the Slip in Kirkland for burgers and beers on the patio!

                      1. re: azhotdish

                        I agree, azhotdish! Tiny little place with a great selection of burgers and brews!

                        1. re: firecracker

                          We used to love the Slip as well.'s going to be 108 this week here, this is the time of year we REALLY miss living up there and being so close to the water...

                  2. re: firecracker

                    Keyword: Usually. There are some amazing things to be had from chains, you just have to know where to look. It's OK to like chains; Thomas Keller loves In-N-Out Burger, and Julia Child carried in her purse a list of every In-N-Out in California.

              2. I like Oregano's, but not for their pizza. I don't know if its the cheese they use or what, but its incredibly salty, and I'm not someone who has a problem with salt. I really like their salads, and most of the pastas I've had have been pretty decent, as well as the appetizers. The wait can be incredibly long, and to me isn't quite worth it. I find that the best times to go are RIGHT when they open, the middle of the afternoon, or later around 8-9, as by then most of the families have left.

                1 Reply
                1. re: meleyna

                  I'm in your camp, the pizza really isn't anything special, but the Beefstro Classic and Big Kahuna Tuna sandwiches are pretty tasty. If you go when there's no line, it's at least worth a shot.