I am partaking in a journey where I will appraise every non-franchise restaurant in town and review their food as well as their service. It is an attempt to expand my mind and appetite. Simultaneously, I will also be taking what I learn from these establishments and attempting to remake them with my extremely limited skill.
I admit previously ignoring Daddy-O’s due to a false assumption that it was chain. In defense, I think a lot people believe that, including the owners. I’d mentioned previously that restaurants often take the misguided attitude of mimicking more successful restaurants, specifically chains. They ape the decor, the menu, even the dishes. That’s why the common brown/russet/beige motif is beginning to grind my gears (a motif Daddy-O’s thankfully avoids). Yes, you did a very admirable job making yourself look like a Moxis…so why don’t I just go there, instead? It’s not like I can’t throw a baseball without smashing the window of one somewhere.
I realized half-way through my meal that Daddy-O’s wasn’t immune to this trend, when I received the matching parmesan and chili-flake condiment shakers. I had obviously fallen victim to the culinary equivalent of a time-space warp, shifting through fourth dimension and landing in a Boston Pizza. These were welcome condiments to have at any table, of course, but did they have to look, feel, and taste exactly like the chain Daddy-O’s was apparently trying so desperately to be? Where is the novelty parmesan grater they grind at your table? How about pre-shredded fresh cheese brought via kitchen-cart like aged wine and sprinkled generously over your meal. Nope, be like BP and use dried, green-plastic-canned cheese you can dump at your leisure over your buffalo wings. Whenever I encounter one of these doppelgangers, I wonder why I don’t simply patronize the genuine article.
At least Daddy-O’s isn’t brown. It’s practically dated with burgundy walls and green trim. With Camelot next door having renovated to match Moxis, Daddy-O stands out, which is fortunate since Moxis, Camelot, Denny’s and Daddy-Os are all next to each other on the highway. Awkward. With three chain restaurants like a grease chorus line, it falls to Daddy-Os to try to offer something different. And then we have condiment shakers stolen right from Boston Pizza?
I did jump the intro a little bit there. Allow me a moment to collect my thoughts…
…I want chocolate.
I visited Daddy-Os with my sister and brother-in-law. If you haven’t blocked out the Deliverance-revival review of Camelot I did previously, you’ll recall that I had complained about parking. When you have three hotels parked alongside a highway and then place three restaurants within their perimeter, it would be a good idea to ration some empty stalls not claimed by the rooms. I had to park at Daddy-Os last week going into Camelot. This day, we couldn’t even do that, and parked in front of the Denny’s. On entering Daddy-Os, I discovered it be an inverted TARDIS. It’s appears larger outside than inside. Daddy-Os feels very tight. The tables were too small, and I banged my elbows on the walls when I took off my coat. Thankfully, tall sheets of glass on the western facing did combat the claustrophobia. Now if only the view didn’t look to lumber stores across the highway. And again, large overhead fans which weren’t spinning. I’ll praise the service, mind you, which was speedy and very attentive. She accepted our orders with grace and haste. I opted for the MommyO special, advertising chunks of barbeque chicken, mushrooms, onions, green peppers and a house blend of cheese. My sister selected the DaddyO’s special—pepperoni, ham, olives, mushrooms, onions, green peppers and cheese. Her husband ordered a half-baked lasagna, which, when arrived, looked the size of a schnauzer. My sister also took the initiative in ordering a few birds’ worth of hot wings.
Let me get this out of the way, I hate wings. Specifically, I’ve an aversion to eating meat off bones. I don’t like the feel of it on my hands. I don’t like getting grease on my fingers—I admit it, accuse me of being an elitist. When I was in China, my companion ripped out a vacuum-sealed chicken wing and began to ingest it on the train. I couldn’t even look at her; I almost gagged. I also don’t like licking my fingers. I know where they’ve been. I don’t order any food which is delivered with either a water bath or a bib. What am I, four?
Eventually, the pizzas arrived, and I immediately understood why Daddy-Os had collected so much praise these past many years. It’s really good. The bread was homemade, and it shows. The tomato sauce didn’t have that tang of having been dropped from a can. The crust was fantastic, and I really appreciated the lack of crust dips. If you require chipotle dips to eat bread, perhaps the problem is your bread.
Daddy-O is a great alternative to any chain, and I could easily see it besting any pizza in competition (apparently it has). I only take umbrage at its size, as it does prohibit larger seating’s, and its apparent unrequited obligation to mimic a restaurant which Daddy-O’s is clearly superior to. Among the five restaurants all within sight of each other (including an Earls across the street), Daddy-O doesn’t win in exclusivity or decor, or even in value, but it does beat them out for quality. It’s really a shame; it more than earned a higher score, but the desire to be something inferior gives the impression of a lack of confidence. If I could have the owner’s ear, I would tell him (or her…ok, him…it is called Daddy-Os) to aim his goals a little higher. If he must imitate, at least shoot for an Olive Garden. Trying to be a Boston Pizza is like Ferdinand Porsche building a Volkswagen and thinking, “Yeah, that’s enough.”
TARDIS — Time and Relative Dimension in Space