Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Restaurant Review: RedBrick Pizza, S.R. 436, "Uptown Altamonte", Altamonte Springs, FL

RedBrick Pizza is a new restaurant in the "Uptown Altamonte" section of Altamonte Springs, located right next door to the Altamonte Mall. Uptown Altamonte is a brand-new area of restaurants and retail shops, with more to come. The boys, Grandma M., and I arrived for lunch on a recent Saturday, eager to escape the food court at the mall, where we had been back-to-school shopping. RedBrick's eating area is very open with various types of seating including booths along one wall. I immediately noticed that each booth had a small flat-screen TV so I made a beeline for one of those. BB, my seven year-old boy, grabbed the remote (yes, each TV had its own remote!) and started searching for Spongebob Squarepants. He quickly found it (I believe Spongebob is on 24 hours a day, you just have to keep switching channels to find him) and he and LB sat quietly entranced in the booth while Grandma M. and I perused the menu.

RedBrick is a "fast-casual" restaurant meaning you have to order at the counter but then they deliver the food to you at your table. Options are Pizzas (of course), Chopped Salads, and Fhazanis (pretty much a pizza folded in half to make a sandwich). There is also Gelato (Italian ice cream) for dessert. I liked how each pizza came in Small (for 1), Medium (for 2), and Large (for 4-6 people), with the same size options for the salads. Some of the featured "Gourmet Favorites" pizzas are traditional such as Four Cheese, Margarita, and various meat combos. Others are more in the vein of California Pizza Kitchen such as BBQ Chicken pizza, Thai Chicken, and Greek. Small pizza prices average $7, Medium are about $11, and Larges are about $17 (just cheese is around $14). Salad options are Caesar, regular green, Chinese Chicken, Greek, Italian, and a Salad of the Day - all for $4-$9, depending on the size. To keep it simple, I went up and ordered a medium Margarita pizza and a medium Caesar for us all to share. There's also a Kid's Meal available for the under 10 crowd - cheese or pepperoni kid pizza, small soda, and a small gelato for $6. But, I figured sharing would work out better as I never know if the kids are hungry or not. I also got each of us a medium drink for $1.50 a pop.

When I returned to the table, the boys were still deep into Spongebob and Grandma M. asked me which type of crust I had chosen for our pizza. Huh? I relooked at the menu and saw that in one corner it listed different flavor crusts such as Parmesan, Pesto, Roasted Red Pepper, and others. It's less than $1 to go with one of these "gourmet crusts". I guess they didn't train the employees about upsell here because no one mentioned these flavored crusts to me when I was ordering and they are not that prominent on the menu. At that moment, our Caesar salad arrived. It was the perfect size for the four of us as LB doesn't like lettuce and BB loves it. It was just your basic Caesar but was a nice appetizer as we waited for the pizza. The pizza came shortly after we finished the salad. It had nice big chunks of tomato on it, as a Margarita pizza should. And, the medium definitely would have fed just two as it came in four slices. Since we had already had salad, though, one slice a piece was fine. The pizza was nicely done, with a crispy crust that was doughy in the middle. Both boys ate every inch of their slices which means they must have really liked it.

I must mention a strange thing about the medium drinks - the lids don't fit on the cups properly. After getting lemonades and iced teas, I tried my best to put the lids on but they each had one little spot that didn't completely get covered. Why do I bring this up? Well, halfway through lunch, when BB reached for his drink, he tipped it a bit and SPLASH - it went all over him. I quickly jumped up and grabbed some napkins and told the employee filling up the straws that there had been a spill and can he get a towel or something. Apparently, RedBrick has a lot to learn as far as customer service goes, because he came to our table and handed me a paper towel to clean the spill up with. Yeah, I guess all spills are do-it-yourself here. Just so you know it isn't just me, another customer also spilled her medium drink while carrying it from the counter to her table, about 10 minutes after our incident. She also complained about the poor-fitting lids. So, you have been warned - you may want to bring your own drink containers!

Since the boys had done such a good job with lunch, I decided to treat everyone to some gelato. I wasn't really impressed with some of the flavors - a lot of fruits when I am all about chocolate - but the Bon-bon flavor looked like chocolate so I sampled some. Okay, even better, it was hazelnut gelato - hello! I got a small cup (and they ARE small) for us all to share for $2.50. Remember, gelato is very rich and is a lot thicker than ice cream so a little goes a long way. It ended up being a perfect size for the three of us to share - Grandma M. passed as she said she was full.

From a family point-of-view, I thought RedBrick was a great place to take the kids for pizza and to get a healthy dose of salads thrown in there as well. The employees have a lot to learn about taking care of the customer but they were never rude, it just seemed like they were not trained about how to treat the customer. The TV in the booth was a big winner as well... as long as your kids like to watch the same program. The menu noted that another RedBrick is going to be opening in The Loop, the new shopping area in Kissimmee so those of you in the southern part of Orlando can try it as well.


Maria said...

YUMMMM!!! I wondered what would a Margaita Pizza taste like.... later that even we were out grocery shopping my husbands suggest some after school quick meals, what does he suggest??? None other than oven ready Margarita Pizza.....Good choice.

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