Franco’s Sub-Station & Italian Pizzeria
Friday night. Usually a night dining out for J and I, but this Friday was a little different. My parents are coming to town this weekend so we can go over to Detroit for the North American International Auto Show. When family comes, we try to make our apartment look presentable. We’re not slobs, so it doesn’t take much, but we always seem to put it off until the last-minute. I had a restaurant all picked out and was ready to go, but I could tell J really didn’t want to leave. I asked if she’d rather get pizza. She said yes, so I went to the Internet to find a pizza place we hadn’t tried yet.
What I came up with was Franco’s Sub-Station & Italian Pizzeria on Westnedge just south of Centre Avenue in Portage. The picture on the website sold me. It looked delicious, so I picked up the phone and put in an order for a 14″ (large) pizza with just cheese on one half and their homemade Italian sausage on the other. I also got an order of bread sticks since J likes to have something other than pizza. The guy on the other end told me it would be about twenty minutes which gave me time to stop at a on my way.
Franco’s has a pretty small storefront. I think I actually parked in the parking lot of the Chicken Coop which is the business next door. There was a parking lot behind the building that was accessible by a one lane driveway that ran the length of the building.
When you walk in, there is a dining room off to the left. I didn’t walk in that far, but from what I could tell, it was pretty stereotypical pizzeria. Lots of reds, whites, and greens.
There’s a counter right in front of the door that separates the waiting area from the kitchen. You can actually watch the pizzas being made while you take care of business. I noticed the dough be rolled out for a pizza while I was waiting and a couple being thrown into the traditional stone oven. Just from that perspective, I had a feeling Franco’s was on to something.
My pizza and bread sticks cost a little over $16. That’s a much better price than a couple fo the “gourmet” pizza joints. It makes pizza the cheap meal that I think of it to be.
The smell of the bread sticks killed me on the drive home. I really wanted to reach in back and dig in, but I waited. When I got home though, the bread sticks were the first thing we dove into. They were really soft and had a great salty Parmesan flavor. The eight bread sticks came with some marinara for dipping. J pointed out that it was really red. It was good, but it could have used something to make it stand out just a little more. I would use the word “bland,” but it was a fairly typical marinara.
I was a little disappointed when I opened the box. The pizza didn’t look like the picture on the website. The website pizza was cut into squares and the crust had a dark color on it like it was just on the edge of being burnt. The pizza in my box looked like every other pizza from any other pizza place cut into eight triangles. The crust was soft and didn’t have crunch to it and the handle part of the crust was very bland. J actually compared it to Sbarro, but I wouldn’t go that far. She said it was tasty, but it reminded her of food court pizza. I really liked the homemade sausage that was on my half of the pizza, but just like with the marinara for the bread sticks, the sauce really could have used something to make it stand out. A crunchy crust and something different in the sauce is all that really keeps this pizza from standing out.
Franco’s was good, but not really unique. I was really salivating after looking at the website and my mouth sort of dried up after I opened the box. The pizza was fine and for the price, it was delicious. I wouldn’t not order from them again, but next time, I would really hope for the pizza on the website.