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Venezia Pizza Restaurant

August 22, 2011

  • 306 Kalamazoo Street
  • South Haven, MI 49090
  • (269) 637-8505
  • No Known Website
  • No Online Menu

While my parents aren’t always happy that I live three hours away, they do really like summers in Michigan.  They love the fruit stands and the U-Picks scattered throughout the region.

Last year, we somehow ended up in Fennville and my mom wanted to look for blackberries.  I came across Earl’s Farm Market on Blue Star Highway.  We had a blast picking our own blackberries and my mom wanted to go back.

We actually ended up leaving J at home.  She was still sore and exhausted from the previous day’s trip to Ford Field, but my parents wanted to go, so the three of us took the 45 minute ride out to Fennville.

It turned out to be a pretty successful trip.  We got blackberries, raspberries, peaches, and salsa.  We also found berry picking makes you hungry.

Since my parents had never been to South Haven, I decided to take them there to eat.  I figured we could grab a bite to eat and then head out to the Big Lake to walk it off. 

My Internet service was very slow in that part of Van Buren County, so I had a hard time finding a restaurant.  I had picked out a sports bar, but decided to drive downtown to see if there was anything else that jumped out.  My dad mentioned he wouldn’t mind having a pizza and I just happened to remember a place that we drive by every time we go to the beach.

Venezia Pizza Restaurant is part of downtown South Haven.  It sits on Kalamazoo Street between Eagle and Water Streets.  The building is kind of a rundown looking thing.  There’s a nice big outdoor covered patio that you have to walk through to get in to the main building which is up a small flight of stairs.

Inside, you come in to a very small dining room.  There’s a cash register right next to the door and an opening that leads in to the kitchen.  The dining room has just a few booths and a few tables.  The floors are weathered and creak when you walk on them.  The booths are a little dated and have definitely seen better days.  For it’s location in downtown South Haven, you can almost call this place a dive, but I read such good reviews about the pizza, I looked past all of that….initially.

My dad and I decided on a pizza and my mom decided on pasta.  We got our Coke products right away then settled in waiting for our food to arrive.  As we sat there, the place filled up pretty quickly and the one waitress covering both the inside and outside dining areas got way, way behind.

The pizza my dad and I went with was a 16″ Meat Lovers.  The crust is a cracker thin, almost South Side Chicago style crust.  It was layered with a sweet sauce and a mound of meat.  Each bite had enough bacon, pepperoni, ham, and sausage to feed a small army.  My dad and I are both kind of pizza snobs and we both liked this pizza.  My dad commented several times on the sauce which I thought was good, but not as sweet as I like it.  The meats all had a crispy, caramelized coating on them.  The 16″ was a little too much for us, but that’s a good thing.  I got to take about a 1/4 of the pizza home and eat it for dinner.

My mom went with a Combo Pasta plate.  She got a large slice of 5-Layer Lasagna, Cheese Ravioli, Spaghetti and Meat Balls, and a home made Sausage Link.  Just like my dad, she really raved about the sauce.  I thought it was a little odd to serve cheese ravioli with meat sauce, but it didn’t bother her.  It would have bothered some vegetarians though and just came across as weird to me.  She ate all of the spaghetti pretty quickly, but wasn’t a huge fan of the humongous meat ball.  That’s ok because my dad was.  He took it off her plate and chowed down on the large Italian sausage.  The only  thing she didn’t get a chance to try was the lasagna.  She was stuffed by the time she got to it, so we took it up and I just ate it for dinner.

Based on the food alone, we were all pretty happy with Venezia.  Unfortunately, there’s more to the story.  Service was horrendous.  Our drinks never got refilled and that wasn’t even the worst thing that happened.  We sat there for 10-15 minutes looking at empty plates.  The waitress passed several times, looked at our plates, looked at me, and didn’t say a word.  My mom finally had to stop her as she was walking by just to ask for boxes.  When she got the boxes, she didn’t leave a check.  Obviously, we were ready to go.  We noticed another couple had just gotten up and walked to the cash register to give her the hint they were ready, so we did the same thing.  Then, again, she walked right by us without even acknowledging that we were standing there.  We had to get her attention again to grab the check so we could get out of there.  Another guy got up and tried to get his own refill because the lone server just didn’t know what she was doing.  The lone cook was trying to help out, but he was getting overwhelmed with orders and couldn’t get out of the kitchen very much to try and save things.

You have no idea how mad I get when we have good food and awful dining experiences.  The bill for the three of us was a little over $30 and I went home with two extra meals.  We were going to order a pizza for J to take home, but I was done messing with this place.  I have no idea how long it would have taken us to get another pizza at that point.

This is another case of I wouldn’t tell anyone not to go.  We did enjoy the food and the reviews online are all pretty positive.  I know I won’t be going back anytime soon though.

16" Meat Lovers Pizza

Venezia Pizza Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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