8945 Governors Way
Cincinnati, OH 45249
Sun-Thurs: 11:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Fri-Sat: 11:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Appetizers: $5 – $10
Pizza: $7 – $20
Pasta: $7 – $10
Sides & Sandwiches: $4 – $8
When I was younger, there was this unmistakably weird building that always looked dark and abandoned. It was an odd hexagonal building tucked away off Fields Ertle road, with an odd column atop the front area. Aside from some neon signs, which I could never tell were lit or not, it’s rather plainly decorated on the outside. I’ve only ever been past during the daytime, and it was always hard to see if any lights were on. I would learn later via commercials that this place is called Pizza Tower, and no, it’s not abandoned.
But alas, I managed to avoid ever going inside Pizza Tower for many years. Until recently, when Adam and I were talking about it, and decided to give it a shot.
When we arrived the parking lot was pretty sparse and I was still pretty sure that it was abandoned. Until we went in, and were greeted and seated right away. Okay, it’s not abandoned!
As we walked to our table I noticed we passed by a kids area – made obvious by the giant Jimmy Neutron on the wall, and other various cartoon characters. The area we were seated in – the dome part – was decidedly not childish. Instead it’s pretty dated, kind of a late 80s-early-90s attempt at a vaguely Italian looking restaurant. The benches are painted a peeling brown, the floor appears to be mainly faux wood laminate.
What really strikes you when you sit down though, is the acoustics. The building is the shape of a dome and has multiple seating levels. At the very bottom in the center is the kitchen, which means you hear everything going on in the building with a backdrop of kitchen noise. There were only a few tables taken during our whole stay, so the noise level wasn’t too bad, but it it ever got busy I’m sure my ears would be ringing. Oddly enough, I could barely hear the TVs which were playing some kind of sports game.
Our waiter was a teenage boy, brimming with youthful enthusiasm. He was friendly, peppy and there was a bounce in all of his steps. When we asked questions about the menu he was always fairly helpful.
Pizza Tower’s menu is pretty expansive – there’s lots to pick from at varying price levels, although most things are slightly toward the more expensive end. We decided to get an appetizer to start while we decided what pizza to get and chose the Towering Sampler, as that seemed most fitting since we were here to review them.
The Towering Sampler came out pretty quickly, but it should have since it’s just a few small things on a metal platter. On it were four toasted ravioli, two potato skins with cheese in them, four spicy chicken wings (you have a couple of options, but we chose spicy), and 8 fried mushrooms. On the side are marinara sauce, horseradish ranch and sour cream.
Of all the items on the tray, my favorites were the toasted ravioli and anything dipped in the horseradish ranch sauce. The potato skins were pretty bland, as were the fried mushrooms, but the horseradish ranch sauce was good so I enjoyed eating them dipped in it. Which is not to say that the mushrooms or potatoes were bad, they just didn’t have much flavor to them. The spicy chicken wings were alright, but they were mostly heat without much flavor – that was also remedied by dipping them in sauce.
The options for pizzas at Pizza Tower are pretty interesting, I must say. They have their handful of standard pizzas, but they also have some really interesting sounding ones with out-of-the-norm toppings. Seeing this got us excited. For our pizza we picked 1/2 Chicken Buffalo Ranch and 1/2 Fiesta! Fiesta!
The Chicken Ranch side had a semi-spicy ranch, lots of chicken, and was topped with mozzarella and provolone. While the Fiesta! Fiesta! side had ground beef, black olives, tomatoes jalapeño and onions and topped with mozzarella, provolone and cheddar cheese. It also comes with lettuce, sour cream and salsa on the side.
So how was it? Not bad actually! It’s true that Pizza Tower is very generous with the toppings. The crust was alright, and both halves of the pizza were pretty tasty. The salsa was a standard-issue (my guess Pace) salsa. The pizza was interesting, good and different, but not really that spectacular. It just seemed to be lacking something. I feel like the pizzas had real potential to be something special, but that the ingredients chosen to make them were kind of cheap which dragged it all down to just above mediocrity.
Toward the end of the meal, a family with really loud children came in and let their kids run around screaming, so I decided it was time to hurry up and go. Adam still wanted to try one of their desserts, like their 1/4 lb. cookie, so we decided to get it to go and eat it at home. The cookie was a giant chocolate chip cookie. It was alright, it was on the dry end and a bit stiff but that made it easy for us to break it up and eat it.
I think it’s fairly obvious that Pizza Tower is geared toward families, and it’s atmosphere isn’t really my kind of place (but I also don’t have any kids…) It’s also pretty much run by teenagers, which is probably why the food itself is good but not spectacular – not anywhere close to the level of Dewey’s or Via Vite’s Pizzas. However, it is significantly better than any chain like Dominos or Jets. So, if you’ve got kids and want pizza and are looking for a decent pizza – ordinary or not – you might like Pizza Tower.
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Have you ever been to Pizza Tower? What were your thoughts on it and our review? Share your opinions in the comments below!
Verdict: Family Friendly Pizza
Pizza Tower, while the decorating is a bit dated, is a very family oriented (probably more-so if you have kids in sports) pizza restaurant. They serve more than pizza, but the pizzas are really their specialty. The pizzas are good and there is a lot of variety on the menu, however the quality of ingredients is a bit lacking. The price range is a bit wide, but they tend to be on the more expensive side of pizzas reflecting the creative combinations they offer. Flavor-wise, there are better pizza places, but this place has the benefit of being good for kids and families, and Pizza Tower is better than any chain pizza restaurant.