How 'Bout Them Knockers: Pizza Xpress

Each week in 'Knockers' we order from a different delivery restaurant, assessing their efficiency and keeping a running score.

Pizza Xpress
3355 Trinity Mills

Promised delivery time: 35 minutes
Actual delivery time: 29 minutes

Scoring Summary:
Handily beating promised time, though by not enough to catch you off-guard: 6
Seemingly endless amount of food piled into your arms by driver: 65
Having to survive enhanced interrogation techniques in order to arrange delivery of endless food: -10
Styrofoam containers for several items: -10
Decent bread sticks (in cardboard container): 18
Beating expectations, however low they were set: 3

Total Score: 72

Top Ten

See complete 2009 standings here

"I'd like to place an order for delivery."

That's pretty much how I begin any phone order--a line so easy it almost guarantees an uneventful process.

"Your phone number?" the Pizza Xpress clerk asked. I gave it--several times, because he repeatedly transposed digits--and he followed with "have you ordered from us before?" Well, probably not, since my account doesn't pop up on your computer...which is strange, because Pizza Xpress operates with Chef Chu, where my name does appear when they type in the number.

No matter. The "address" question led to another ordeal--a lot of repeating and correcting, as well as a moment when the clerk put me on hold. A few moments later, a different person picked up the phone and we started again--from the beginning.

Hardly a transaction befitting the "express" name.

To compound matters, the delivery guy began stacking containers in my arms: a small styrofoam box full of garlic bread first; a larger cardboard flat, marked "pizza" but holding bread sticks; a bag with a hot tray of artichoke dip; a second small styrofoam box, this time of salad. By the time he finally balanced the largest bag--the one containing lasagna--on top, it looked like a Jenga game on the verge of collapse.

Then he presented me with the receipt and asked me to sign.

Oh, well--a little Clouseau-esque character still counts as character. And he did beat the established delivery time.

That's just about everything worth commenting on. Lasagna from a placed called Pizza Xpress could either be meat flavored pasta soup or surprisingly authentic, red checkered table cloth Italian. Unfortunately, it's the former, capped by a thick mound of melted cheese. Spinach-artichoke dip includes tinny canned vegetables under another alluvial mass of cheese. The bread sticks, on the other hand, weren't too bad. And two hunks of garlic bread matched the grocery store frozen food aisle stuff in quality.

I didn't even open the salad, fearing it would upset my melted cheese feast.

Pizza Xpress gets big plus marks for delivering far more than one person can eat in a sitting. Value for money counts these days, right? It's not that good, but they bring you a lot. And get it to you quickly.