Tuesday, March 03, 2009


Ratings Guide:
Half handshake, half chest-bump hug – 5 stars
Chest bump – 4 stars
Fist bump – 3 stars
High five – 2 stars
Handshake – 1 star
Manly ass slap – ½ star
Fone and fone – 0 stars

Restaurant: Cicero’s
Location: 6691 Delmar

Back before I gave myself the nickname The Big Delicious, I was given another nickname by my best bud Mike. After I started dating my wife, Amy, he called me Zima. Why? Because he claimed that I had become a water-downed version of my original self. And it stuck.

Now, you’re probably saying, “I don’t believe it. There’s nothing watered down about you.” (At least I’d like to think you’re saying that) But I have proof. When I first lived in St. Louis after college Amy and I discovered that we looooooooved the thick-crust pizza at Cicero’s. I specify thick crust because they also offer the horrible St. Louis-style pizza, which is disgusting and I don’t even like to admit they offer it. But the thick crust is the goods. Huge doughy fluffiness topped with a delicious tomato sauce, and then covered with heaping portions of mozzarella (and only mozzarella). But Amy lived in Columbia, MO and I lived in the LOU, so we only got to enjoy Cicero’s when she came and visited. You’d assume that would be often, but I lived with four other guys, and my room was in the flooding basement, so her visits were few and far between. One Valentine’s Day I wanted to do something special, but also something affordable, so I went to Cicero’s and asked them if I could buy all the ingredients for the pizza so that I could bake it fresh for Amy in Columbia. Surprisingly they were happy to do it. They filled up a canister of dough, a container of their sauce, their special spice, tons of their cheese, and some pepperoni. And I took those ingredients with me all the way to Columbia, put them together on a pizza stone, and made the best god damn Cicero’s pizza I could. That is a great example of how much I liked Cicero’s, and why I earned the nickname Zima.

So, since moving back I had only been to Cicero’s twice (mind you I work about twenty steps away), but for some reason I found myself there three times in the past week. Seemed like a good time to give you my thoughts about the place as a whole.

I don’t need to elaborate much on the pizza. It’s delicious, and probably my second favorite pizza in St. Louis (behind Katie’s). It’s thick and amazing and filling (that’s what she said). But don’t confuse it for Chicago-style. It’s just thick, not stuffed. The best one is the Sicilian followed by the Super Pig, for what it’s worth.

Before I recap what I ordered there the past week, let me also say I’ve had a couple of the pastas there and they are very typical, and very satisfying. Are they “great” or “unique”? No. But they are tasty and filling. And really, pasta all tastes the same, unless it’s done really, really well.

On my first visit this past week I got the Cicero’s Special Salad with the fat-free raspberry vinaigrette. The salad comes with all the things you’d expect, along with pepperoni, ham, salami, and egg. It’s not huge, but all the meats make it really filling, so the size actually is perfect. I’m sure the dressing just comes out of a giant can and isn’t different from anything else 100 other St. Louis restaurants serve, but the meats are a great combo that compliment each other well. The price tag is $7.99, which I think is about $1 too much. Why $1? I don’t know, but as it stands, it’s the same price as their wraps, and that doesn’t seem right.

Speaking of the wraps, that’s what I ordered the third time I went. Specifically, the Chicken Teriyaki Wrap. They say it has lots of vegetables, and they weren’t lying. Not that I’m a big vegetable guy, but the fact that this thing is like 50% chicken and 50% veggies is a great balance. It makes it filling, but also more flavorful. The sauce is actually really good as well. It does taste like it’s somewhat fresh and not out of a can (which it could be, for all I know), and the wrap is grilled and is piping hot, which is nice. But what’s weird is that the sum is not greater than the parts (or however that saying goes). Something about it just makes it “OK”. But it does come with fries (or onion rings, if your heart so desires), so that helps.

And on my middle visit I was suffering from a hangover and needed something greasy, so I chose one of their half-pound burgers. I was waffling between the Cicero’s burger and the Patty Melt, and opted for the Patty Melt. The fact that it was served on marble rye made my decision for me. And all I can say is “eh”. Not great, not terrible. It’s a burger. Nothing really worth talking about it. At $8.59 (with fries) it’s definitely a better value than the salad, but again, just an average burger. The only other thing worth mentioning is that Aaron got his burger on garlic bread, and the bun is sub shaped, so the patty is also formed sub shaped to fit the bun. Just thought it was funny. But also shows that the patties are made fresh to order, which is a good feeling.

So, after sampling just about everything on the menu, I think it’s safe to say you can come for the beer (over 100 available), and stay for the thick-crust pizza. Everything else is just very, very, very average.

As a whole Cicero’s doesn’t deserve a chest bump, but that’s exactly what I’m going to give it because that’s how much I like the pizza.


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