Begin the buffet | Rock Candy

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Begin the buffet

Posted By on Wed, Apr 21, 2010 at 10:17 AM

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I guess I’m in a bit of a pizza mood as of late. And after the discussion about Damgoode Pies, I wanted to check out Larry’s.

Now, I remember Larry’s down in Southwest Little Rock years ago. And I remember it was pretty decent. But for some reason, I just don’t head over there often. Well, not often meaning heck, I write about food for a living. I’ve been trying out all sorts of places.

So we go… and I don’t know why it didn’t hit me that lunchtime meant buffet. But you know, that afforded us the opportunity to try a whole lot of pizzas for not too much money. I can dig that.

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We went to the West Little Rock location, out on Cantrell over by IO Metro. The parking lot was packed and inside it was pretty full, too -- lots of folks trying to get in a lunch break. Not knowing the protocol, we paid for our buffets and went and sat with the girl child for a moment. Didn’t take long to figure out that you go get your own drinks yourself. Yeah, should have been obvious to me, but for some reason it wasn’t.

Hunter and I sat while the hubster went and got his plate and drink. We do a lot of trading out like this -- it’s far easier than taking a small child through a buffet line. As we waited, I noticed a pattern. There’s a window behind the buffet bar, and as each pie came out a staffer would come pick it up, walk away from the bar and around the room and call out what they were dishing up. While we were there, I heard called:

  • Steak Alfredo
  • Beef, half pepperoni
  • Chicken Alfredo
  • Pepperoni, half jalapeno and pineapple
  • Cheese Alfredo
  • Baked Potato
  • Banana pudding
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Peach
  • Italian sausage and pepperoni
  • Chocolate chip peanut butter
  • Bacon cheddar half pineapple
  • Spinach chicken
  • Veggie
  • Canadian bacon cheddar half pineapple
  • Cheeseburger light mustard
  • Chicken ranch mushroom
  • Meat madness
  • Chicken honey mustard

I kept writing them down, even after my turn through the buffet, kinda marveling at the variety of options.

Going through the buffet, I did my usual asking of what I could eat. The lady who was behind the bar (and setting up our drinks) was glad to assist, pointing out labels here and there. After I passed through and talked with her, I noticed several of the sent-around pies were directed over towards our table. One of the waitresses even asked me if I’d like to try a specialty without the pork -- which is how I ended up with a personal Baked Potato pizza without bacon. I appreciate that sort of service.

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So, what does a Baked Potato pizza taste like? The closest approximation I can give you is au gratin potatoes. The crust is so thin it’s inoffensive, and there’s no marinara on the pie. It’s Cheddar cheese and a light cheese sauce and nicely baked potato slices and a little green onion. I can see how bacon would make a nice addition.

The beef taco pizza I retrieved from the bar was pretty good, too -- though I was not prepared for the jalapeno in the very first bite (darn you, sour cream and your obscurative powers!). I liked the flavor of the Steak Alfredo -- it almost seemed a little too cheesy but that was fine. The traditional cheese pizza was a hit with Hunter, as was the Chicken Alfredo and its nice big chunks of juicy chicken.

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And then there were the dessert pizzas. The banana pudding pizza was kinda wild -- more bananas foster than banana pudding to me with all the cinnamon and chunky banana slices. Tasty, though. I preferred the chocolate chip peanut butter pizza to the chocolate peanut butter dessert pizza -- the former was thin with a nice layer of chocolate chips over the top and the latter was chocolate pudding with a streusel topping. Both were too rich to devour a piece on my own. Hunter liked the blueberry dessert pie.

Thing is, it’s a pretty decent pizza buffet. There’s a salad bar, too -- though I think the whole time I was there I saw just two people frequent it. If I had anything to say that didn’t quite please me, it was that every single pizza was thin and soft. This pizza makes forks a necessity, not just a favored item. I think I’d have enjoyed a little texture from a good hand-tossed or deep dish option. It’s not even cracker-crust, just thin.

Will we be back? Probably. The $6.69 lunch buffet price is right for what you get ($1.89 for beverages) and kids under four are free. You’ll find Larry’s Pizza almost everywhere, it seems. Just follow the website to an oodle of locations. To have been able to expand all over the place like that, it had to have a pretty good following.

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