Monday, November 19, 2012

Gus's Original Stone Oven Eats, 3123 Leonard - 11/15/12

The son of the original proprietor of Red Hot Inn, Matt Koukios, honored his father by naming the restaurant after him, and opened the restaurant on property already owned, adjacent to Red Hot Inn. (We dislike the additional “s” after the apostrophe but it falls within appropriate grammar rules :)

We walked in, disappointed when we discovered it was counter service. And this restaurant is a little more confusing than most. Enter through a long hall, with a hard-to-read menu taped on the wall and an arrow pointing you to the order counter.
We gave up on reading the hall menu and headed for the order counter, where we were met by an unfriendly, impatient employee. Sorry - we need a minute to read the over-hanging menu and no one is waiting behind us, so chill.

Our order placed, we attempted to pay but were shushed down the way to another station, attendant needing to be called by the aforementioned employee to take our money. Pick up your silverware, fill your beverage, find a seat, and wait for your order delivery. 
So that’s the negative stuff. Here’s the good stuff. It’s a cool space, complete with a fireplace seating area, and the food is good. The restaurants touts its pizzas but we cannot attest to them. We started with Stuffed Peppadews (sweet piquante peppers stuffed with cranberry goat cheese & prosciutto ham served with fresh mozzarella & balsamic glaze). Beautiful to behold and exquisite to taste.
We never both order the same dish but today we did, picking the Wealthy Street BBQ sandwich from the small menu: seasoned pulled pork mixed with BBQ sauce and topped with homemade coleslaw on a french style hoagie. They came with homemade potato chips and a pickle spear. This was one fine sandwich with delicious bread that is preservative and corn-syrup free.
And we loved the boxed water!
Some additional information about the restaurant: they serve both Coke & Pepsi, there’s an early morning coffee bar and an ice cream bar, their stone oven bakes 10 pizzas at a time, outdoor seating wraps around 2 sides of the building, and they do not have a liquor license. So if you want a beer with your pizza, this is not your spot.

The vintage Grand Rapids photos placed above the 20 or so tables are lovely and interesting, and there are 3 large screen TVs in the restaurant. Their website is cluttered and does not provide their address (just a google map) so check them out on facebook instead.
It’s a curious place, so much better than its Red Hot Inn neighbor, but not as comfortable or welcoming as the nearby Licari’s. We’ll wait to hear what pizza-lovers think about the pizza.

Gus's Original on Urbanspoon

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