The Buffet Battle Series begins with Pizza. Each buffet listed is available Monday to Friday 11 am to 2 pm or close to it.
Three buffets were tested rigorously and these are the results. Ratings are on a 5 point scale. Since Pizza is the primary food at each spot, it gets an added criteria for this installment of the series.
4511 N High St
Ange’s has a long history in Columbus dating back to 1953 and it might surprise readers in that there are 8 locations. I’m not sure if all locations offer a buffet or if there are differences in buffets at the different sites. If there are let me know.
The buffet here is fairly barebones – one or two pizzas, a cut up stromboli and a small metal bowl with a salad mix and packets of salad dressing on the side. Staff interaction is minimal. The eating area is small and cafeteria like with minimal seating and devoid of any atmosphere or character. The buffet also includes a beverage via styrofoam cup. The sign says the buffet is $7.49 after tax the total price is $8.03.
Pizza Grade 4
Kid friendly Quotient 2.75
This location is hard to find buried behind a Panera in a strip mall that is hard to enter and exit. This seems to effect the number of people who try the buffet and thus may effect the volume of items offered and subdue any staff excitement about the buffet.
1951 E. Dublin-Granville Rd.
Massey’s is also a long time player in Columbus pizza, the original owners were among a small group of early pizza pioneers in Columbus. Massey’s grew into a large empire which collapsed and has been rebuilding in the last decade. I was surprised to see there are eleven local locations as well as one in South Carolina. This is one of the oldest Massey’s locations and is smaller and more austere than most of the new sites.
This buffet included a variety of pizzas, a pasta dish (spaghetti), a mixed salad, a pasta salad, small slices of subs all served via styrofoam plate with a beverage in a styrofoam cup for 7.99. Here you pay first when entering and then eat away. Although the site is busy with carry out orders the staff do make an effort to keep the food stations filled.
The eating area is low on ambiance with several small beat up tables and chairs. It is also noisy from a TV and the acoustics of an old building. My favorite items were the small sections of bite size cut subs, perfectly cooked with great flavor, I went back more often for these than the pizza.
Pizza Grade 4.5
Kid friendly Quotient 2.5
Iacono’s Pizza and Restaurant
4452 Kenny Rd Columbus
While Massey’s tag line is the Cadillac of pizzas, Iacono’s has earned that moniker for their buffet. Two years ago it was $8.75, until 6 weeks ago it was $9.75 now that we are firmly in 2016 it is now $10.77. That price may scare off some but the value is hard to beat. The buffet features a full salad bar including a variety of house made dressings, cottage cheese, pudding, macaroni salad, potato salad and bacon bits, home made soup, two to three full pizzas which are typically served in half styles so a total of 6 varieties are usually available. The staff often ask what type of pizza you like and typically you will see that as a new selection while you are eating. A dessert pizza (a mix of apples and cinnamon). A beverage is included and staff are aggressive in making sure your cup is not half empty. The space is large with many tables and some half booth / table seating along one wall. There are several high chairs available and if you need to find a place far from the madding crowd, you can find it. The in house music is not overly loud and typically features the best of the 1970’s.
Pizza Grade 4.75
Kid friendly Quotient 5
While this buffet is the most expensive, you definitely get what you pay for and for this the whole is as great as the sum of the parts….and the pizza.
And thus ends the first Buffet Battle, Iaconos wins.
(Note: I added another spot to this list August 2016 -> Morone’s
(Note: I did try Verdi. Their buffet is horrible so the only thing to mention about that buffet is don’t waste your time, it is a rip off for 10.21 although billed as $7.75. Thumbs down on value, quality, quantity and pizza grade.)