Thursday, July 14, 2011

Tony's Birdland and Pizzeria

2680 West Ridge Road, Greece
Visited June 7, 2011
Written by Greg

Tony's Birdland & Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

Tyler, Kameron and I recently ventured down Ridge Road in Greece looking for a place to eat and review, and after much deliberation and menu previewing settled on Tony’s Birdland and Pizzeria.

We were the only patrons there when we entered, which wasn’t too surprising, I guess, being late afternoon. It wasn’t the cleanest place we’ve ever been to, but probably not the messiest either. One of the two employees promptly yet casually attended to us.

There isn’t a very large dining area – just a few tables and booths – but the kitchen and food prep area consumes most of the space, and by the looks of the extensive menu, they probably utilize every square foot.

I ordered a Buffalo chicken wrap, and Tyler ordered two slices of pepperoni pizza and a grilled chicken sandwich.

He noted that for $3.49 the chicken was a great value, despite not being anything particularly unique. Tyler also enjoyed Tony’s own signature sweet-and-sour sauce, which added more flavor to the subsistent sandwich.

He also considered the two slices of pizza a great value at $1.99, and I agree after tasting one, and considering their liberal size. Tyler says they had enough sauce, while not too much cheese, with a crust that was right in between too doughy and too crispy. His two primary reservations were that the pizza was a tad greasy and lacked a good crunch in the crust.

My wrap was a little frustrating. It was a fairly decent-sized wrap, but was poorly put together. When I picked it up the thing, it just fell apart into the foam tray. Also, it had way too much bleu cheese on it.

I could barely taste any of the Buffalo sauce because all of the bleu cheese just negated its hotness and flavor, and I love me some buffalo sauce. The wrap did have a nice ratio of chicken to lettuce and tomato. Also, the tortilla wasn’t a plain white tortilla; I believe it was some sort of sun-dried tomato tortilla, if I’m not mistaken, which provided an unexpected, but appreciated, element.

While my wrap was frustrating, it was still a decent value at $5.99, which is a dollar or two cheaper than comparable wraps I’ve had. I also ordered a side of onion rings, which were pretty standard (read: generic), but dipping them in the Tony’s sweet & sour sauce made them more enjoyable.

Kameron ordered the Jamaican Beef Patties, which were unique, to say the least. They were beef patties inside of a flaky pastry shell, with Jamaican seasoning on them. They were certainly not what I expected, and to be honest, tasted like something one might find on a cafeteria menu somewhere.

We agreed that they tasted alright, but their flavor was rather one-dimensional, the beef had a weird mushy texture and the pastry was pretty dry. They did, however, liven up when dipped in sweet & sour sauce (noticing a theme here?).

Kameron also ordered a Tony Plate, with cheeseburgers, baked beans, home fries, meat hot sauce, ketchup, mustard and onions, with a side of sweet and sour. He also recognized the trend.

“The beans were bland and the burgers weren’t anything extravagant,” he said. “But once I put their sauce on the plate, it kicked the flavor up a lot.” Go figure.

We weren’t disappointed by Tony’s. The service was friendly and somewhat quick, and the food is an above-average value. But most of the food was something that you could find anywhere else (save for the pizza and sweet-and-sour sauce).

You probably noted by now that nearly all of our food items were better when dipped or slathered in their sweet-and-sour sauce. It is my personal opinion that food should be pleasing and attractive without the addition of non-included sauces and condiments. Condiments should be the cherry on the cake, and used at each individual diners discretion, not the flour in the cake batter (or a necessity, if you will).

Anyway, Tony’s menu is rather extensive. The chicken dinners seem to be popular, as does the pizza, obviously. Salads, wraps, appetizers, calzones, wings, subs and grilled items are available, and all at relatively low prices.

It’s probably in our best interest to sample the fried chicken next time, as that is part of Tony’s namesake. Overall it was a good value, and we’d probably go back if we’re in Greece and don’t feel like tapping into the plethora of national chains lining Ridge Road.


Service/Atmosphere: Exactly what you would expect from a typical pizza shop.

Food: Pizza and (presumably) the fried chicken stand out, but everything else seems to be pretty standard. Homemade sweet-and-sour sauce helps anything, though.

Value: Some of the best prices around. A lot of bang for the buck here.

Overall: A great value, and a lot to choose from. It’s nothing that will wow you, but it’s a safe pick.

Grade: B-

Note: Tony's has a second location, at Northgate Plaza on Dewey Avenue in Greece

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