Reviewing Cioffi’s has been a bit like a Monthy Python skit. I would come for the pizza, and the people manning the ovens would be novices. I would get floppy pizza. I would come again. Teens were manning the ovens (or perhaps they just looked young) and I would get a “suburban special”, a pizza with too little char and stiffness, and a little overloaded with ingredients, leading to softer, wet crusts.

If you’ve spent any time in the Northeast United States, you come to quickly realize that without a good crust, then a pizza is essentially nothing. I wasn’t getting what this eatery was capable of. It was a bit too much like this bit from Monty Python and the Holy Grail:

Listen, lad, I built this kingdom up from nothing. All I had when I started was swamp … other kings said I was daft to build a castle on a swamp, but I built it all the same … just to show ‘em. It sank into the swamp. So I built a another one … that sank into the swamp. I built another one … That fell over and THEN sank into the swamp …. So I built another … and that stayed up.

Some years later, I’ve found a much better way to drive to this section of the world, and I gave Cioffi’s yet another try. This time, yes, I can see a pizza worth writing about. Of course, it’s my daughter eating it. With my physical issues, I’m best sticking to sandwiches these days.

A respectable crust, and more flavorful than chain pizzas.

The whole pie.

Italiano sandwich.

We came at lunch and in general found the lunch specials not all that appealing. My daughter likes meat pizzas, and my recollection was that Cioffi’s did have a reasonable personal sized pizza. I ended up having an Italiano sandwich, she had the personal meat pizza. These we ordered off the dinner menu.

Asked to rate the crust, my daughter gave it an 8, and said it actually had some flavor. The sandwich had a nice crusty bread and good meats. It was certainly worth the money I spent.

I’ll note some changes on the inside. It’s a bit more sedate, less focused on the local school. A middle aged gentleman manned the oven, and one staffer waited tables. They still had beer taps on the far side of the eatery, and the best beers provided are those on tap (a Terrapin selection caught my eye).

Veridict? A generally good eatery, but my personal experience with these pizzas has been hit or miss. I’m much better with hits when veteran chefs man the ovens.

Cioffi’s Pizzeria
1218 Rockbridge Road
Stone Mountain, GA 30087
(770) 935-8822

Cioffi's Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

Rather than fight traffic down Highway 78, it’s a much easier drive to get onto Five Forks and head past Killian Hills. A few minutes later, you’ll run into the intersection of Five Forks and Rockbridge Road. Turn right and look to your right almost immediately. Cioffi’s is up on a rise just past the turn.

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