Even before paying the bill, the signs begin appearing. The belly's
swollen, eyes are getting heavy, lethargy sets in.
After facing the large lunch portions at Paizanos, it feels like siesta
time. This meal should've come with a
bed roll on the side.
Another time, another place
At first glance, downtown Norcross � its historic buildings, old
train depot and general
small-town allure looks stuck in the '50s. But
step into a trendy gift shop or a restaurant
like Paizanos, and the time
machine surges back to present.
Paizanos is upscale enough for date night. Dim lighting, mellow music, warm
and Italian delicacies unite. But it has just the right casual
groove for customers in jeans and
T-shirts to feel at home while tackling a
pizza or a lunch-time sandwich.
First comes the antipasto platter. Cooks decorate layers of
cappicola with grilled zucchini, Kalamata olives and roasted red
We order a side of bread and use it as a palate. It's nearly a meal
Customers can start the proceedings either high brow (Prince Edward Island
or low (cheese fries with brown gravy). The ample platter satisfies,
so we'll experiment next time.
A variety of salads look tempting, so we dive into the chef. Turkey, roast
ham and provolone are rolled together, sliced and tossed throughout a
bed of greens with
cheddar cheese and bacon to boot. The multicolored protein wads prove tastefully amazing.
Pastas and entrees
The grass always looks greener as we peer over at a neighboring table.
A pile of manicotti arrives steaming.
We skip the pasta choices and go for the
chicken piccata, because it comes with a bundle of buttery noodles. The white
wine lemon butter sauce is fantastic. Thankfully, we use it to lube the almost
overcooked chicken that's dressed up with capers.
An encore visit may require a taste of baked ziti or the chicken Francese,
a house favorite,according to our waitress.
She pops open a second bottle of
San Pellegrino water and we continue to gorge.
Pizza, pizza, pizza
Paizanos boasts 14 different specialty pizzas, all with New York-style
monikers. The Upper West Side, for instance, features grilled chicken, Roma
tomatoes and Kalamata olives. Get fancy with the Park Avenue, a gourmet white,
or the meat fest known as the Bronx Bomber.
We order the two-slice lunch special and choose the toppings. A pair of
bigger-than-big slabs arrive.
I see a to-go box in our future. Other baked
goodies include stromboli and calzones.
A lengthy list of sandwiches and wraps is exclusively on the lunch
menu. Our turkey club is, you guessed it, enormous. Texas toast sandwiches the
contents � turkey, bacon, American cheese, lettuce, tomato and mayo. It
comes with our choice of a side. We opt for the homemade chips; crunchy, not
too greasy and extremely delicious.
A final bow
Our waitress informs us that Key lime pie is available, although it's
not on the menu. Temptation, temptation, temptation. Conservative in size, the
tart and creamy slice still delights.
We seal the deal with a cannoli. Generous squirts of whipped cream and
scattered chocolate chips doll up the crunchy shell. Rich and flavorful.
Despite a yawn or two, the remains of the day face us. "Coffee, please."