Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Carmine's Family Restaurant

671 Maiden Lane, Greece
Visited Dec. 30, 2010
Written by Drew
Carmine's Family on Urbanspoon

For as long as I can remember, every time we go to Greece Olympia High School my family will stop at Carmine’s Family Restaurant in Tops Plaza at Maiden Lane and Mt. Read Boulevard. I have some of my earliest memories going out and eating there.

I would easily classify this restaurant as a “good food fast” type of place, and it’s definitely budget-friendly. It merely seems like every time we go there it is crowded, and I actually recall several cases where we have gone elsewhere because of the crowd.

As a kid, I always ordered the same thing there. Whenever my Dad would ask me what I wanted here I would say, “TOP.” TOP would be my usual and consisted of a kid’s meal turkey sandwich, orange pop and a slice of pizza. Their sandwiches were appealing to me because of their fresh-baked rolls.

As soon as you enter the door from the parking lot, you are greeted with a drool-producing aroma of the fresh bread in the ovens. The bakery has been moved from its original position in the back of the kitchen to right next to the ordering counter to showcase Carmine’s made-fresh bread products.

Just the other day, my dad, my two brothers and I went to The Mall at Greece Ridge and decided to swing by and grab a bite at Carmine’s. When the four of us go out to eat, it is always a hassle due to our differences in taste. My little brother, Ryan, doesn’t eat much more than steak and pizza, and my older brother is vegan, but my Dad and I can find something we would like pretty much anywhere.

On this specific trip, we used a coupon that gave us a free slice of pizza and soft drink with a purchase of a slice and a soft drink. Ryan was able to put down both slices, as well as two fresh, homemade complimentary rolls.

Carmine’s pizza has always been one of my favorites, and from what it looked like when Ryan ordered it, it still looks just as good as it ever has. Each slice is a very large square slice of Sicilian-style pizza, easily the size of the plate. My little brother happens to be a pizza tank, however, and put down two slices without a problem.

Tyler didn’t make the trip, but said Carmine’s pizza is right up his alley because it’s thick, has a good balance of crust to cheese to sauce, and has the perfect amount of doughiness.

My older brother, Mike, is a vegan who sometimes breaks his ways sometimes to make it easier for all of us to be able to find a place to eat. This time he left his vegan ways and put on his vegetarian hat. He ordered an eggplant parmesan sandwich. On a large seeded roll, a plethora of breaded eggplant slices covered melted mozzarella cheese and marinara sauce with a side of potato chips and a pickle wedge. He gave the sandwich a grade mark of a ‘B,’ but explained that the roll it was on was worthy of an ‘A.’

I also ordered a sub. As mentioned many times previously, I always order the same thing when I order my subs: turkey, American cheese and mayo. I would have to agree with my brother with the same grades. Their fresh baked rolls definitely made the meal.

My dad ordered a Carmine Burger, consisting of 1/3 pound of ground beef with a wide variety of toppings. Do not make the mistake of just assuming that it comes with cheese. Carmine’s burgers are all hamburgers; however you can get cheese as an additional topping for an extra 50 cents.

My dad describes the burgers as filling and plentiful and the hot sauce as above average. He also stressed the point that the rolls make the burger. Another point he brought up was the fact that they have coupons. Frequently you can find the coupons buy a Carmine Burger get one free, if you look hard enough.

Carmine’s (open daily from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m.) has an extensive menu, including pizza, calzones, wings, pasta, burgers, hot and cold subs, hot stuffed potatoes, ice cream and all the typical fryer and side items. But one of the things that really makes Carmine’s stand out is its relatively cheap prices. Most items are $1 or so cheaper, on average, than comparable items at Bill Gray’s, and the portions are still decent. It may not sound like much at first, but obviously the price difference adds up as your order gets larger.

Carmine’s isn’t technically related to the “Carmine’s Express” restaurants in Greece and Gates, but has ties to them, as the owner of the other two is the former co-owner of the original Carmine’s. The three restaurants have similar menus, prices and hours of operation, too.

In all, Carmine’s is one of the best-value places around on the west side, and its food doesn’t disappoint.


Service/Atmosphere: Smaller dining area then desired, but very short wait between ordering and eating.

Food: Try their fresh made rolls. It would be a waste of a trip without at least trying one. Pretty much everything is simple, but gets the job done.

Value: Prices are generally cheaper than a Bill Gray’s, and you’re always able to find a coupon for this place to make it even cheaper. Their website actually has a whole page of coupons to download.

Overall: I always enjoy going to eat here as a kid, and still do. Definitely would return to grab a quick bite.

Grade: B

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