Pizzanati: Cucinova

It seems like I've seen a few fast-casual pizza places that have popped up around town - we hadn't made it to this one yet, but then it caught my attention in an article I was reading. The article was actually about Sbarro, a well-loved mall pizza brand that is trying to find new life outside the mall. Sbarro has been opening stand-alone pizzerias and reducing its reliance on declining mall traffic. Cucinova is currently open in Columbus and Cincinnati, operating as a casual gourmet pizzeria that assembles pizzas in front of customers.

Cucinova allows you to be the creator of one-of-a-kind pizzas, pasta bowls and fresh salads. They "empower individual expression by offering one-of-a-kind Neapolitan pizzas (fired up & ready to eat in 3 minutes), customizable Spaghetti pasta bowls and colorful salad bowls."
Walking in, Cucinova is fairly modern with a touch of rustic. There's a long hallway where customers can line up to wait their turn to order. Handheld menus are available and they are also posted on the walls.
Honestly, it's almost easier to just wait until you get up to the counter and can see all the ingredient options laid out. They have a really good selection of sauces and toppings.
Ordering was really quick, and the pizzas are cooked very quickly.
My pizza is pictured on top. They are both 10" individual Neopolitan pizzas ($6.99). Mine has Classic Red sauce, 100% Whole Milk Mozzarella, Caramelized Onions, Roasted Broccoli, and Fire Roasted Mushrooms. Francisco ordered Creamy Parmesan sauce, Fontina and Fresh Mozzarella, Artichoke Hearts, and Black Olives. These pizzas were surprisingly soggy. This made the slices difficult to pick up, so I ended up picking up a fork. The flavor was decent, but nobody likes soggy pizza. The crust is pretty thin, and the toppings just seemed to soak through.

Verdict: Overall, it's a really good price for the size and options. $6.99 for unlimited toppings - that's hard to beat. I would have liked to see maybe some appetizers and desserts on the menu - I really wanted something sweet after all that pizza.

Francisco rates it at a 7.5. He appreciated the speed and topping options, but he wasn't really blown away. He would go back, but he wouldn't go out of his way to return.  


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