Tharon Giddens' quest for fast, cheap and tasty

Heat lamps don't make for great pizza

We're on a pizza binge here at Lunch Money Central, and we learned something today: It's hard to keep even the best pizza in its prime under the hot lamps of a pasta buffet.

Lunch Buddy Donna and I and the Luncheon­ettes have been happy with the food at Pizza Joint for years. The Devito sandwich is a favorite of mine, the dough balls are fantastic appetizers, and the pies have always been sublime. The downtown Pizza Joint is one of my favorite places to take job candidates.

Unfortunately, a recent meal from the lunch buffet at the Evans location proved problematic. Their made-from-scratch dough is rolled into thin-crust pies, which is fine, but it didn't hold up well under a heat lamp. This is a pie that deserves to be custom ordered and eaten hot and fresh.

The price is right for the buffet, at $7.50 each, and the selection is decent, with four or five full pies, spaghetti and a salad, but take a walk to the back and check it out before you dine.

Our visit was at 12:30 p.m. on a Sunday, prime dining time, so the pies should have been fresh.

You are greeted as you enter and handed menus, then you seat yourself. Pizza Joint is dark and spacious, with rock music piped in to the background and several televisions of various sizes around the large bar and in the dining room.

The massive aquarium in the dining area is a nice touch, but some of the artwork put us off. We were especially puzzled by a watercolor of a snowy landscape that had been hidden behind three large, brightly-colored plates.

Maybe it was just an off day all around. The dough balls are usually a highlight of a Pizza Joint visit, but the ones on the buffet tasted old and cold. The spaghetti noodles were in water on the buffet. I passed. The Greek salad is usually a treat here, but all that was offered on the buffet was a tub of iceberg lettuce, some bland tomatoes and some shredded cheese, with two dressings available.

Pizza Joint has earned a return visit, based on past experiences. We'll just avoid the buffet on the next go around.

THE LUNCH LINE

WHAT: Pizza Joint
WHERE: 4301 Washington Road, Evans
ON THE MENU: Pizza, sandwiches, salads, subs
FOOD: 2 out of 5
SERVICE: 2.5
VALUE: 3.5
CALL AHEAD: (706) 447-4992

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jb1234
0
Points
jb1234 02/11/10 - 01:11 pm
0
0
I've NEVER been impressed

I've NEVER been impressed with the Pizza Joint downtown. I've given them 3 chances, and each time the service was bad, the pizza was bad, and the restaurant was dirty. After their 3rd strike, they're out! I much prefer the food, service, and atmosphere at Mellow Mushroom any day.

JM88
15
Points
JM88 02/11/10 - 12:10 pm
0
0
The Evans Pizza Joint has

The Evans Pizza Joint has really slipped in quality the last couple of years. The pizza almost never looks or tastes fresh anymore. I haven't been to the downtown one in a while but I always considered it to be the better of the two.

TheOne
0
Points
TheOne 02/11/10 - 12:16 pm
0
0
Hey everyone check out

Hey everyone check out Antonio's Itailian Eatery in Downtown North Augusta (Jackson Square). It is a true gem and no worry about the service for sure. The food is excellent!

Little Lamb
48947
Points
Little Lamb 02/11/10 - 12:55 pm
0
0
I agree with JM. Pizza Joint

I agree with JM. Pizza Joint in Evans has declined for one reason: the employees on the floor (kitchen and wait staff) do not care. Obviously, the management is absentee.

ripjones
2
Points
ripjones 02/11/10 - 01:06 pm
0
0
It's sad about the Pizza

It's sad about the Pizza Joint in Evans. I think about all the money spent on the renovations to the old Fat Man's West building. If the owner is reading this, and cares about things, maybe things will get better. This is a wake-up call....!!

resident
501
Points
resident 02/11/10 - 01:15 pm
0
0
I would agree I have had

I would agree I have had major issues with the one in Evans for sure. I have resorted to Little Ceasars over them. Burnt crust, greasy meats and cheese that does not have much flavor anymore. I used to like them but the are on a list of last resorts now. I hope the owner takes the hint cost savings to fatten pockets is not worth loosing customers over. Fire the ones the do not want to perform the clientel will come back once you fix what profit taking greed has created.

crackerjack
153
Points
crackerjack 02/11/10 - 01:29 pm
0
0
Yeah Pizza Joint has been off

Yeah Pizza Joint has been off my list for over a year now. And my third and last visit to Mellow mushroom last week for an ice cold Calzone that sat in the window for a while while the waiter socialized with a friend. And no, I didn't send it back as I know what happens most times. So I tore it in half so they couldn't serve it to someone else, paid my bill and walked out. I eat out 7 to 10 times a week, so I'm crossing these off my list. Mellow Mushroom in Athens is the best.

bluckey
0
Points
bluckey 02/11/10 - 01:38 pm
0
0
Agree!! We don't even go back

Agree!! We don't even go back to the PIzza Joint. The last 3 times we went the food was served cold!!! Loved the Chicken Pam Sandwhich, but was horrible all of those times. Took some friends and there pizza was like rubber and half cold. I agree, don't know what has happened to management, but it's definitely not there. Also, every booth in there has holes in it with half of them duct taped. Complained many times but nothing has been done about it!!

kkitchings75
0
Points
kkitchings75 02/11/10 - 01:54 pm
0
0
The Pizza Joint downtown is

The Pizza Joint downtown is just as bad. The last time I was there they must have taken the old recipe from Dominoe's because the crust tasted like cardboard. If you love a good pizza like me the try Ferrando's in Aiken, the best New York style pizza in the CSRA....hands down!!!!

crtaylor211
0
Points
crtaylor211 02/11/10 - 02:48 pm
0
0
The Pizza Joint in Aiken is

The Pizza Joint in Aiken is by far the best one of all 4 locations; however, they recently changed the meats that are used. The taste and the appearance are no longer as appetizing as they used to be.

mbthomp
0
Points
mbthomp 02/11/10 - 03:12 pm
0
0
Myself and a friend used to

Myself and a friend used to meet at the Joint in Evans atleast once a week for a couple of slices and a beer or three...but, not anymore! Everything has gone downhill. The service at the bar leaves you dry mouthed thirsting for another as you wave your empty glass trying catch anyones attention. Now even a slice of Carnivore looks as if it's topped with Bologna! I think the owners are used to the cash flow coming in and have forgotten that they're in the service industry. We definitely won't be back until we hear how drastically it's changed for the better. Until then we're in search of somewhere else.

Fiat_Lux
16419
Points
Fiat_Lux 02/11/10 - 03:15 pm
0
0
My favorite pizza place in

My favorite pizza place in Augusta is Yo Pizza in Daniel Village. Wonderful stuff.

Hatfield0278
1
Points
Hatfield0278 02/11/10 - 03:56 pm
0
0
I've never been impressed

I've never been impressed with the Evans Pizza Joint, but I usually like the downtown PJ. The servers at EvansPJ could not care less. I don't think the management/owners care either. I suppose as long as people continue to eat there then they can say, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it..."

lovemykids
0
Points
lovemykids 02/11/10 - 04:08 pm
0
0
My family enjoyed eating at

My family enjoyed eating at the Pizza Joint in Evans until about 6 months ago. They had a change in management and lost two of their best employees, Jeremy and Pam. Since then the service and quality of the food has gone down. The staff seem uninterested and bothered to even take your order.

Thethird
0
Points
Thethird 02/11/10 - 05:28 pm
0
0
Its so sad to hear about all

Its so sad to hear about all the negative publicity that OUR hometown pizzaria is getting. I was in there for lunch just today and sat in a brand new booth on a freshly painted floor... From talking to the NEW General Manager (just took over it last month I think) they are slowly but surely spending money to fix the items that the customers of this town have work so hard to destroy. As for the buffet.... its a buffet! Want freshley made food? Order it fresh :-) I will forever eat at the Joint!

sueboo418
37
Points
sueboo418 02/11/10 - 05:54 pm
0
0
I have never been impressed

I have never been impressed with Pizza Joint. Their pizza is bland, no flavor. Mellow Mushroom has excellent pizza and hoagies but the service is very slow. Guiseppies (sp) gets my vote for pizza and great Italian food.

sueboo418
37
Points
sueboo418 02/11/10 - 05:55 pm
0
0
Another great place for pizza

Another great place for pizza is Yo Pizza in Daniel Village.

jb1234
0
Points
jb1234 02/11/10 - 11:05 pm
0
0
Thethird, give me a break, if

Thethird, give me a break, if it's the customers fault for the place looking so trashy, then why don't other restaurants that are just as old or older also look trashy? The reason I won't go to the pizza joint is because it looks like the building hasn't had a single cent put into repairs or upkeep since it opened, the servers act like they're doing you a favor by bringing you a refill, and the pizza tastes no better than a cardboard box covered with cheese.

TakeAstand
13
Points
TakeAstand 02/11/10 - 08:17 pm
0
0
I wonder if the owners know

I wonder if the owners know how this one is doing? When you go to contact them on the website it only goes to the sepcific location, and it is obvious the manager there already doesn't care, so that would do no good. Maybe email the other stores with this link to let them know how the community feels about this store, maybe they will pass it along. We are also no longer a PJ evans customer for reasons stated above.

TakeAstand
13
Points
TakeAstand 02/12/10 - 02:29 am
0
0
The third, you can't blame

The third, you can't blame the cutomers for the service and especially not for the decline in the quality of the food, never had the buffet, I'm speaking about the fresh made stuff. Last time I was in there, there were pizzas coming back just like mine, burnt and the cooks can't read and put the correct toppings on. After several visits of wasted money and waiting on recooks for long periods of time, we have given up.

aw8ngjustice
22
Points
aw8ngjustice 02/11/10 - 09:50 pm
0
0
I stopped going there when I

I stopped going there when I discovered all the plates and bowls were filthy. People no longer care or maybe they can only hire sorry ones.

katiecaroline
5
Points
katiecaroline 02/12/10 - 12:13 am
0
0
While Christmas shopping, my

While Christmas shopping, my daughter and I ate there, and I was sorely disappointed. I got a slice of pizza, and it was charred on the bottom, dry and generally tasteless. The veggie calzone was not fresh, either, and I requested it to be ... after 35 minute wait for food, I would have thought it to be ... the server said it was fresh. If that was their fresh, God help the folks that got "precooked' calzone. I have not been back.

johnston.cliff
2
Points
johnston.cliff 02/12/10 - 05:03 am
0
0
I've been familiar with the

I've been familiar with the Pizza Joint since its inception and have never felt the food was its appeal. It was always about the atmosphere. The food has always been "acceptable"(defined as not poisonous), but has never been confused for haute cuisine. But, what do I know? I like Domino's, better price and I don't have to eat with strangers.

Mr. Thackeray
957
Points
Mr. Thackeray 02/12/10 - 11:39 am
0
0
Evans Pizza Joint is a dump,

Evans Pizza Joint is a dump, you folks that like it have very low standards!

jbomb
0
Points
jbomb 02/12/10 - 12:21 pm
0
0
Pizza joint in evans is

Pizza joint in evans is gross!Robollis pizza rocks!!!

emilyolson
0
Points
emilyolson 02/12/10 - 09:46 pm
0
0
Maybe some of these people

Maybe some of these people should get off their computers, and posting awful comments and go and see that the pizza joint in Evans isn't as bad as they are making it. The booths have been fixed, the servers that 'dont care' have been weeded out. The owners have spent the last serveral months in there talking to customers and helping out. The management is new and has improved 100%. Yes ALL calzones are made from scratch and made fresh. A buffet is a buffet and will never be as fresh as cooked to order pizza. If you want a buffet go to Cici's . the atmosphere is wonderful, live djs are now present on the weekends. So before you posts comments maybe yall should give Evans pj another chance. Obviously alot of people still love it because the place hasn't slowed down.

TakeAstand
13
Points
TakeAstand 02/14/10 - 07:45 pm
0
0
Why would we waste our time

Why would we waste our time going back after wasting a ton of money with bad service and food the past couple of years. How do we know its changed this past month, we are supposed to try once a month and waste our money to find out when they feel like bringing it up to par? Almost any place that sells beer and has a party atmosphere will continue to do business even if the food is lousy. Usually taste and quality doesn't matter as much when you are drunk!

waterburger
0
Points
waterburger 02/14/10 - 08:44 pm
0
0
The pizza at The Pizza Joint

The pizza at The Pizza Joint is, at best, sub par. The problem is rudimentary. The sauce is without character. It is blander than bland. This has been going on too long.

And to take the columnist to task...

How can you expect any food to be of quality in a buffet? Buffets and the all-you-can-eat mentality are destroying the palate of Augusta.

Augusta's palate is in dire jeopardy. Dining out should not be about filling a hole. Quality not quantity!

TakeAstand
13
Points
TakeAstand 02/14/10 - 07:42 pm
0
0
Thanks waterburger.... now

Thanks waterburger.... now you have made me crave something that was truely delicious and I can't get anymore!!! lol

Cadence
219
Points
Cadence 02/14/10 - 10:16 pm
0
0
I gave them (PJ) a chance

I gave them (PJ) a chance recently and never will again. The food was awful; the service was terrible, I felt like I was interrupting the servers doing something more important. The food was dumped on the table and no drink refills offered. One server was snuggled in a booth with, I guess, friends. It was dirty, the bathroom was revolting. I thought it was supposed to be a nice place but it was terrible. I won't go back.

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