Monday, August 29, 2005



My workplace has done take-out from Rudino's twice now, despite the fact that's it's slightly.. prohibitively far away. Basically this is a pizza place with a little specialty they call "grinders". Maybe grinders are some known type of food.. maybe it's something they made up. I don't know. Well.. actually, some very elementary research turns up this. So I guess it means a sub sandwich. Regional term, I suppose.

These grinders weren't sub sandwiches, though. They were something different. Something ... alien. The bread was more like... pizza dough maybe? Perhaps with a nod to focaccia? I hope I'm not completely, horrifyingly incorrect in this assessment.

Rudino's is a chain, so I was a bit worried that they wouldn't be able to tell me about vegetarian options properly. As it turns out, they passed my tests with flying colors! Check this out: I asked them on the phone about the pizza sauce (whether it was vegetarian), and the highly complete and competent-sounding answer was "all the pizza/pasta sauces are vegetarian, except for the lasagne". Turns out that the menu even says "meat sauce" for the lasagne. Good job!

Next test: the actual food quality.

Unfortunately, the items I've ordered here have all been pizza-like... The grinder I got was the "pizza" one.. Then for the other time, we got, well, pizza. So I don't really have a proper cross-section of flavors. Could be worse, I guess. Anyway, such is my disclaimer.

My cheese-pizza grinder was pretty good. Think of it as a pizza sandwich. Maybe it's sacrilege, but I mean... I liked it. I'm all for it. This just seems like the kind of thing I'd want to send back in time to myself, say, 25 years ago... when I was but a clueless lad growing up in my hometown. I can totally see myself having had roughly the following exchange with my mom:

"Mommy! Can I have a sandwich??"
"Sure... What kind of sandwich do you want?"
"Ummm... I wanna PIZZA sandwich!!!"

Unbeknownst to me then, what I wanted in that conversation was *exactly* a Rudino's cheese pizza grinder.

The grinders don't just come in the pizza flavor, of course.. They have all sorts.. ham & cheese, spinach & feta, for example. "French Dip" is a variety I found amusing on the menu.

The pizza itself: I thought it was ok, in the grand scheme of pizzas. Probably a tad not as good as that of Craig O's, though some coworkers disagreed with me there. It was definitely still a step above the standard pizza chains. No comparisons to places like Rounders, however. I mean... I still enjoyed eating it anyway. I believe my toppings were black olives, green bell peppers, and onions. I was quite happy with the olives, as I generally worship all things containing them. One good thing: very little grease on the bottom crust... One weird thing: the cheese layer seemed to detach from the crust somehow in some situations.

I just remembered: they also these *great* cinnamon stick things.. Yeah... nice dessert after pizza.

So, I'd say there's no need to try out the pizza unless you're nearby. The grinders have potential, though, for sure. If we do this place again, I'll probably get the spinach & feta grinder (or one of the 3 or 4 other veggie options). Need more data!

I think its the best and I dont even live in Austin.....
Hey, Paul. I just discovered your food blog and I do hope you have not given up on it. Exactly what Austin needs - a veghead food critic. One of the biggest problems us vegetarians face is not knowing what we will be facing on the menu of a new, untested restaurant. Thanks for letting me know about some of these places and I hope you will keep it up.
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"Grinders" - by your description about grinders you have compelled me to think about it again and also to taste it. I really never heard about it earlier.
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