How 'Bout Them Knockers: Amico's Pizza & Pasta

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

Amico's Pizza & Pasta
4032 Cedar Springs

Promised delivery time: None stated, and I didn't think to ask.
Actual delivery time: 29:35

Phone friendliness: 20
Not stating order total or ETA on phone: -15
Delivery time well under my assumption of 45 minutes during lunch hour: 15
French fries actually crispy and hot on arrival, to my wonder and amazement: 20
Meatball sandwich lived up to manager's enthusiastic recommendation: 20
Satisfactory chicken parmigiana and meatball sandwiches: 20
Pizza failed to impress this guy: -10
Pathetic chicken fettuccine alfredo: -10
Friendly and talkative delivery driver: 10
Perhaps too friendly and talkative: -4

Total score: 66
(Amico's fails to dent--or even approach--a top ten ranking)

Top Ten

See complete 2009 standings here

Perhaps the greatest strength of Amico's is also its greatest weakness: menu diversity. I don't know of anywhere else from which you can order crab claws, wings, a veal parmigiana sandwich with fries, a platter of lasagna and--oh, yeah--pizza.

But by offering so many menu items, it seems that some of the dishes we ordered for lunch here at City of Ate HQ didn't get the attention they need.

One of my companions was confused about whether she should "Add $1.00 Cheese" to her chicken parmigiana sandwich, ultimately deciding not to risk a cheeseless lunch. I had a similar quandary several months ago with a veal parmigiana sandwich. One would think the place would stack a couple slices on top. But no matter how many ways I asked the question on my first visit, I didn't get a straight answer and was charged $1 extra. Even with the extra dollar, though, the sandwich and fries together were only $6.95--and well worth it, price-wise--which was why I talked a few work friends into trying the joint.

Hopefully they'll forgive me some day.

In general, the pasta arrived overcooked and the sauce bland. Salad included with some meals amounted to a wad of iceberg lettuce enlivened by a single pepperoncini.

I got the meatball sandwich, partially based on the enthusiastic recommendation from the person on the other end of the phone taking the order and partially because I didn't want to exert the mental energy deciding whether to put cheese on another veal parm sandwich. The 'homemade' meatballs could have passed for Stouffer's, which is not the insult it may sound like if you like frozen Italian-American entrees. The french fries were at least crispy and hot on arrival, though a few more ketchup packets would have been nice.

Amico's is close enough to the Observer office that I imagine I'll stop by for one of the cheap sandwiches again. But I'll probably only be able to do so on occasions when I'm eating alone.

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