After two rectangles of pepperoni pizza at Stonedeck, I am feeling the '90s nostalgia like a hard smack on the head. I’m remembering a guy I knew in high school carefully drenching his square-slice pizza with ranch dressing — the kind that comes in the plastic pouch. I’m also remembering the mind-boggling amount of hours I spent as a middle schooler eating mountains of terrible CiCi’s pizza in Plano, Texas. Plano, as you really should know, is where the CiCi’s pizza buffet was born. As a kid, CiCi’s was a beautiful afterlife where you could hand over a wad of one-dollar bills, eat pizza forever and play arcade games.
Now, as a 31-year-old who gets excited about being fully vested and having an icy Topo Chico, I have a new pizza buffet. Stonedeck Pizza has been doing a “lunch bar,” which are two great words that aren’t together enough, in Deep Ellum for a week and some change. They’re being modest with the name. They can’t get “lunch bar” past the Super Mario 64 generation: This is an all-you-can-eat pizza buffet. It’s $8.99, and there’s beer.
On a blustery morning, minutes after 11 a.m., I’ve got the pizza bar to myself (this has to be one of the best phrases ever). Two panels of smoking-hot pepperoni and cheese pizza are out next to a rice casserole that’s been topped with crisped breadcrumbs, and two slow-cookers are holding chili and macaroni and cheese. There’s also a big mixed salad, loaded baked potato salad, cold soba noodle salad, killer chili-flecked marinated cucumbers, and —yes— kale: This is a pizza buffet that people who grew up renting movies at Blockbuster can get behind. After all, piles of pizza, endless, that don't suck, is what kid me thought I'd be able to experience as an adult.
On a wooden cutting board, there are turkey and provolone sandwiches on soft pita bread. I loaded my plate (it’s more like a tiny pizza pan) up with macaroni and cheese, pizza, those marinated cucumbers, kale (why?) and a pepperoni pinwheel that I want to have access to via 24-hour ATM.
Stonedeck does the crunchy-thin crust style, cut like long rectangles — if that's your preferred pizza style, you'll love this lunch. The pepperoni pinwheels are crunchy on the outside, smoking-hot and loaded with dots of pepperoni on the inside. They’re hard not to love.
I truly never imagined I’d say this, but Stonedeck has a simple and elegant pizza buffet. Turkey sandwiches are made exponentially more awesome by adding the nicely-marinated cucumbers, which I think is part of the fun of a buffet that doesn’t suck: You can self-construct. On the way out, I’m wishing that I could stop at Blockbuster and rent Apollo 13. For a few dollars more than my days eating CiCi's by the pile, I’m a happy kid.
Stonedeck's lunch bar runs from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. weekdays. Blockbuster cards are not accepted. 2613 Elm St.