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
Dude… go back. They must have been training a crew or something. We go there almost monthly and have never had a bad pizza. FWIW I agree with most all of your reviews and appreciate that you do this.
I’m with Mike! You must go back! I’ve been going to Sortion’s for almost as long as I’ve been alive! My all time fav is the Johnny’s surprise. ..mm mm. I rarely ever deviate from that order and never had a bad pie love the onion rings too! I enjoy your reviews, they are very informative!
we used to go here all the time…not anymore. I agree dough has been undercooked the last few years we have attempted to go. People at the counter are rude. Drinks are not refillable, but even if you buy a $5 pitcher, that is not refillable either. Parmasean cheese for the pizza is EXTRA? Ridiculous. We ordered 2 orders of Fried Raviols, (this was January of 2014) and the menu says it is an order of 8, but each order came out with only 7. I felt like they were trying to slide that by. Spent over $60 for 5 people and service was very bad. THis seriously was my favorite place as a young adult but for the last few years we have tried it once or twice a year only to be dissapointed. Have finally accepted that we will not go back again.
Sortino’s is one of our favorites in town. We always order Johnny’s Surprise and onion rings or a family salad. The Italian dressing is great. The onion rings are among the best in Omaha and the pizza is usually fresh, with just the right amount of cheese and sauce. On the down side, the cashiers are apathetic at best, surly at worst. And Sortino’s is one of the last restaurant hold outs that doesn’t provide complimentary pop refills. When virtually all of Sortino’s competition provide complimentary refills, it feels a little like getting gouged and creates more than a little bad will. Getting beer at another station is also annoying. They also have a greeter who’s only purpose is to help diners find a table. It’s a wholly unnecessary function, since it’s easy enough for customers to locate their own table rather than waiting in a line backlog for a host. Fire the greeter and use the money saved to provide pop refills to customers. We like the big screen TVs and the large, wide open space. The food is great, but the place needs a customer service and common sense makeover.