Johnny Sortino’s Pizza Parlor
7800 L Street – Omaha, Nebraska
Johnny Sortino’s is a well-known name in Omaha having been around since the early 1960′s. This family restaurant is very large, having at least three eating rooms with plenty of TVs, a bar, and a game room for the kids.
Similar to Sgt. Peffer’s and The Pizza Place, Sortino’s is very much a self-service restaurant. Plates, and silverware are located near the arcade. You fetch your own drinks and pizzas. Napkins are on the table. If you expect parmesan cheese on the table like I do, you’ll be disappointed. Cheese is extra and sold by the cup at the counter. Despite the fact there were only two people in front of me in line, I waited longer that I should have. It seems they were training a new girl at the counter that night. It happens. I ordered a pepperoni pizza, a veggie pizza, and an order of cheese bread at the front counter. The cheese bread, just semi-melted cheese on a slice of bread, was handed to me immediately from behind the counter. You can also get your soda at the counter when you order, it’s not self-serve like some other places.
Beer? Sure you can get beer, at the bar, and it’s a separate transaction. A mild inconvenience not being able to purchase everything on one ticket.
After about fifteen minutes our number was called over the loud-speaker and I made the trek to the pick-up/carry-out area to retrieve our pizzas. The crusts at Sortino’s are of medium thickness. Unfortunately they are doughy and under cooked as well. The cheese on top was done and colored nicely, so the bottom heating elements on their conveyor oven must not be putting out enough heat as opposed to the conveyor being run too fast. Having a doughy crust really gets things off on the wrong foot. After getting over the under cooked crust, my pepperoni pizza was pretty good, but nothing to write home about. The sauce was on the sweet side and had a moderate spice (this was the pizza wife’s favorite thus far). I’ve read other reviews about this place saying the sauce was a bit spicy; I didn’t get that at all. The veggie pizza was decent. Once again, it had the topping mainstays: onion, green bell pepper, black olives, and mushrooms. The mushroom slices were HUGE but seemed to be canned. That earned a big “BOOOOOOO!” from my wife.
Given the abundance of pizza places in Omaha, we’d choose a different restaurant next time. I have a hard time understanding how they’ve been in business for so long.
The good: Friendly staff, cold beer
The bad: Doughy, under cooked crust, canned mushrooms, too big for a self-service restaurant
Crust: Medium thickness
Sauce: Sweet and flavorful
Cheese: On top of all toppings