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Pizza Barbone-Hyannis....disappointing.

CapeCodGuy Jun 23, 2012 11:52 AM

I want to like this place. I REALLY want to like it. The build out is beautiful. The Italian wood burning oven is one of a kind. The service help is plentiful and seemingly happy. The ever present owner clearly works hard and has put his heart and soul into the place.

The pizza? It's absolutely delicious and unique to the Cape. The ingredients are first rate. The crust has a nice flavorful chew with a slight char. The romaine salad had a wonderful house made Caesar dressing, with house made garlic ciabatta crouton and a high quality Parmesan.

So what's the problem? One shouldn't have to leave hungry after splitting a pizza ($15) and a salad ($8) for a lunch for two. Add in 2 sodas and a 20% tip and the bill is $34. For a tiny pizza. that is maybe 12". And the salad portion was downright insulting. The lettuce barely covered the bottom of a small oval plate. To call it a side salad would be an insult to side salads everywhere, but it's not a side salad. In fact, one could have supposedly made a meal of it by adding say, chicken, for an additional $4. Honestly, a four year old would go away hungry after that meal. We mentioned our displeasure to the waitress, who admitted the portion was tiny and promised to tell the owner of our displeasure. Her only answer to us to rectify our displeasure, however, was to ask if we wanted to order another one? I really can't comprehend the thinking. We're only talking lettuce here. It needed about three times the portion to be semi-reasonable. And the pizza is very good, just priced about 30% too high for what you get. It's not like there are no alternatives on Main Street. I'll stick with Palio's and Colombo's for now. Hopefully Barbone starts to "get it" or Main Street will see another vacancy in short order. Shame really. Just finished lunch about 30 minutes ago. Gotta run and go make a sandwich.

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  1. s
    sakeandgin Jun 24, 2012 05:15 PM

    I would voice my displeasure directly to the "ever present owner". I never take the no (do you want to order another?) from someone not empowered to say yes

    2 Replies
    1. re: sakeandgin
      CapeCodGuy Jun 24, 2012 06:43 PM

      That's a fair point, but I think it would be inappropriate to have a discussion regarding price/value of his menu while the man is working a 1000 degree wood burning oven. I sent him a private message after the fact, and he responded. I will refrain from publishing it, however, as it what was a private correspondence.

      1. re: CapeCodGuy
        kevinricci Jun 25, 2012 04:37 AM

        Thanks, CCG, for the review. It will makes my decision easier with only two excellent pizza options.

    2. d
      Dave_in_PA Jun 25, 2012 05:32 AM

      12 inches is a pretty small, "personal" pizza. Was it billed as such on the menu? I wouldn't expect to be able to split something like that.

      Of course, that makes your issue with "value" only worse. If they can continue to get $15 for a artisanal wood fired pizza in this resort town, let them.

      1. n
        Newenglander2 Jun 25, 2012 06:13 AM

        I agree. My husband and I went for dinner on Saturday June 23. We ordered two salads and a pizza, and two beers. The whole meal cost $50 and we left hungry. The pizza and the salads were good, but extremely small and very expensive. These are probably NYC prices at best, but surely not for the cape! My sister and brother in law and their two kids went for dinner the same night-$70 and left hungry! None of us have big appetites, either. $15 for an individual pizza is very, very expensive. We ordered the mushroom one-it had maybe 4 regular cutup mushrooms as toppings and a nice cheese. Big deal. Who ever heard of a caprese salad that is individual? THat's meant to be shared.
        It's too bad-this is the kind of place that one tries once, but not again. Palio's has NOTHING to worry about. With these prices and the size of the meals, Pizza Barbone will not make it. Either he drops the prices considerably by 30% or he increases the size considerably. It will cost him pennies to make a bigger pizza, but it will save his business.

        I just hope the owner reads these reviews and gets it. No, really, he will lose his shirt over pennies worth of pizza dough.

        PS: the crostini sounds good, but why would you want to have a pizza and crostini?! How much bread can one eat?!

        3 Replies
        1. re: Newenglander2
          CapeCodGuy Jun 25, 2012 07:21 PM

          Thanks for the post. I was starting to think maybe it's just me. I do hope he figures it out as I'd love to see him make a go of it.

          1. re: CapeCodGuy
            phelana Jun 26, 2012 06:10 AM

            I hope folks contacted the owner direct to offer this important constructive feedback. I know I prefer hearing from my clients direct vs reading their complaints..change can only happen this way...wishing Pizza Barbone great success.

            1. re: phelana
              CapeCodGuy Jun 26, 2012 06:52 AM

              Fair point Ann, and yes, I have contacted Jason O'Toole, the owner privately and directly. Like you, I hope he has a longtime successful business

        2. foleyd7 Jun 26, 2012 06:42 PM

          Wow. I whole-heartedly disagree that this was a disappointment. Best pizza on Cape Cod. Hands down.

          Just went yesterday (Monday) for lunch for the first time and everything was awesome. The mozzerella, the ricottoa, the house made sausage, the perfect red sauce, the crust, the char (from the 900+ degree wood fired oven). The quality of ingredients (and cooking technique) are unparalleled at any other pizza place I've been on Cape Cod.
          I also had a salad at lunch.... it was heaping off my plate and would easily have been enough for 2 people to share.

          Pizza size? These aren't family sized pizzas - - - they are built for individuals, so figure you need 1 per person. And to me, $15 per adult doesn't seem too pricey for what amounts to an entree - - - because at this place, the pizza is the entree. I'm completely willing to pay an extra $3 or $4 for something of this high quality and preparation.

          The decor was great. The staff was very nice. The owner very friendly and engaging (he let my kids come behind the counter and check out the oven and he let my son measure the temperature of the oven with a heat gun!). They even have a smaller 8" pizza for kids. And they offer shredded mozzerella on the kids pie instead of whole slices; the same mozz, but shredded so it is easier for the kids to cut and eat. Great family friendly touch there!

          Add it all up and no other Cape Cod pizza compares. In my 15 plus years of visiting Cape Cod I have always been disappointed in the pizza options. Now I'm actually telling people I can't wait to get back to Cape Cod for the pizza!!

          For all that, an extra couple bucks is completely worth it.

          3 Replies
          1. re: foleyd7
            CapeCodGuy Jun 27, 2012 04:27 AM

            NIce follow-up report foleyd, thanks for posting. I'm very happy to hear that the owner has responded positively to the criticism regarding the size of the salads. Had ours been "overflowing off the plate" as yours, instead of barely covering the plate, it would have gone a long way in starting our meal off on the right foot. And we seem to agree that the quality and taste of the pizza, the decor, the owner and the staff are all first-rate.

            Pizza size? Perhaps this boils down to expectation. Had you read my report beforehand so you knew what to expect? I ask because we went in blind. Nowhere on his web site, nor on the menu, does it say that these are "personal" pizzas. In fact, neither location even mentions that these are tiny 12" pies. So we were a bit taken aback by a place that one must spend over $50 for a lunch for two of a simple romaine salad and pizza, no matter how yummy. That's a bit more than just a "couple of extra bucks". It's still mostly lettuce and dough after all. The only description of a "personal" sized pizza is the weekday $9 lunch special of the 8" pizza and side salad or soda, so it would appear that the owner believes his pizzas can be shared.

            That said, the product is very good. My wish is that there was a large available for extra $$, but maybe that's just me. I do wish Pizza Barbone success.

            1. re: CapeCodGuy
              foleyd7 Jun 27, 2012 04:40 AM

              I didn't read your report before hand, but I did see the pizzas served to the table next to us, so we knew the size that was coming. We ordered a margherita and a sausage/ricotta for me and the wife, a sopresata for my son (8 yrs old), and a kids margherita for my daughter (6).
              For lunch, we were completely full and there was still a piece or 2 from the kids pies remaining.
              As for the salad, I'm curious if they did get feedback somewhere based on your experience and then adjust accordingly... when I got mine I actually made the comment that it was too much salad for 1 person (though that didn't stop me from finishing it!)

              1. re: foleyd7
                CapeCodGuy Jun 27, 2012 04:46 AM

                Yes, I know they got the feedback. I made sure to write the owner, who was nice enough to respond, regarding my experience. I didn't think it fair to post a review here, and not voice my issues directly while at the restaurant (he was too busy to do this appropriately) or follow up via email, which is what I did.

          2. The Chowhound Team Jun 28, 2012 11:34 AM

            Folks, if you have your own experiences to share, that's great. But we removed a number of posts debating whether other people should be sharing their opinions or if their opinions are legitimate. That sort of discussion is off-topic and it stifles discussion -- we want everyone to feel like their opinions on the chow are welcome.

            1. k
              kara2006 Jul 3, 2012 05:40 AM

              We went there last night. It was outstanding. We had the white bean crostini while we waited for our pizza. We had a nice conversation with the chef/ownner. The crostini was crisp with a nice hint of garlic and a perfect amount of arugula. We had the pizza with house made sausage and the pizza bianco verde. We also got the beet salad with goat cheese and the summer salad. Both were delicious. We had the benefit of CCG's post about the size of the pizzas and ordered two. Actually, we have a little bit leftover. We definitely will return.

              7 Replies
              1. re: kara2006
                CapeCodGuy Jul 4, 2012 06:49 AM

                The food is indeed very good, but I have two questions. Were the salads a reasonable portion? I ask as it would appear the owner has taken the feedback to heart and improved the portion control. This would be very positive news.

                Also, What is your honest opinion of the value of the meal? I assume that your dinner of salad, pizza, and bread cost over $70 with tip and not much, if anything, to drink. This may be more acceptable at dinner than it is for lunch, but I'm curious for another hound's opinion.

                1. re: CapeCodGuy
                  k
                  kara2006 Jul 6, 2012 06:21 AM

                  He obviously took your suggestion about the salad portions, the salads were a nice size: not too little, not too much.
                  As for the price - appetizer, 2 salads, 2 pizzas, and 2 glasses of wine was about $80, including tip.. Maybe we are used to D.C. prices, but that's pretty reasonable for dinner for all of that. That would be expensive for lunch. And, if he lowers the price point, I think we would lose quality and it would become yet another pizza jotint. Hyannis seems to be trying to become a tad more upscale to attract a different clientele (geezers like hubby and me) and that's a good thing

                  1. re: kara2006
                    CapeCodGuy Jul 6, 2012 09:28 AM

                    Glad to hear the update, especially regarding the salads. Thanks for posting.

                    And yes, Main Street is becoming more upscale, which is nice to see. God knows we have enough cheap fried seafood joints and many mediocre family style restaurants. Bistrot du Soleil features an upscale French/Italian inspired menu with fresh pasta, quality meats, plus affordable sandwiches and brick oven artisan pizzas. The Beech Tree Cantina features somewhat upscale and semi-authentic Mexican in yet another very nice build out. The new totally glassed in dining room addition to the Brazilian Grill is absolutely beautiful. The soon to be open Prava (?) at the site of the Asa Bearse House is most intriguing, billing itself as a Brazilian Steakhouse and Italian. The renovation is most impressive and looks to feature a marble outdoor bar, a first for main Street. And Barbones certainly fills a niche as well.

                    1. re: CapeCodGuy
                      k
                      kara2006 Jul 7, 2012 02:15 PM

                      Also, the chef at Pizza Barbone must have heard your suggestion, because he offers a pizza and salad for lunch for 9$. Barbones may be our first night on Cape dinner from now on. Fresh, local, and good.

                      Off topic, but augmenting your synopsis of Main Street in Hyannis, have you tried the butchery next to the Brazilian restaurant? Magnificent meats. (I wish Barbones would sell his house-made sausages for home grilling, but I'm sure that's asking too much)

                      1. re: kara2006
                        CapeCodGuy Jul 9, 2012 06:45 AM

                        To be fair, the $9 lunch option has been on his menu since day one. Unfortunately, it wasn't available to us on the weekend visit, as it's only available Monday through Friday for some reason. It features a side salad or drink with a small 8" pizza. A very reasonable deal IMO.

                        And yes, I love the Brazilian Butchery at the end of Main Street. Nice meats. Reasonable prices. And I even love the fresh rolls that are wicked cheap at 4 for $1.

                        1. re: kara2006
                          m
                          morecheesejer Aug 8, 2012 09:26 AM

                          I made it to Barbone last week and was more than pleased with the $9 lunch special. The garden salad had small slices of radishes, some baby beet greens, and a few kinds of lettuce. I was happy to see a pizzeria putting out a thoughtfully prepared salad.
                          The pizza itself was outstanding - easily the best I've had on the Cape. I was dining solo so I sat at the bar, chatted with the guys making pizza (both very friendly and happy to talk about the operation) and admired their beautiful oven. I'll definitely be back.

                          1. re: morecheesejer
                            CapeCodGuy Aug 8, 2012 01:28 PM

                            Nice to hear. The $9 lunch special is indeed a nice value given the quality of the product. I just wish it was available on the weekends, and not M-F only.

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