I belong to a Facebook group that's all about dining in the gold country, and features views, good and bad, of area restaurants from lots of people California's Mother Lode area. Mike's Pizza, located in Sonora, CA, has been the subject of many reviews, and has received mostly positive comments, yet they have received some negative opinions as well. Curious me... on September 05, 2019, I just HAD to pay a visit to Mike's, to see what it was all about.
As with all of reviews that I publish, I have no affiliation with the restaurant reviewed, and there is no monetary gain on my part, as I am simply a person who likes to eat, and I love to write-up, and publish my dining experiences.
Photo: It's a little after 6 in the evening on Friday, September 06, 2019, and I've arrived at a very busy Mike's Pizza, located on Mono Way, in Sonora, California. The High School football season as just begun, and many people are fueling up on pizza before the game.
Photo: Mike's operates like a typical pizza restaurant in that you walk in the door, look at the menu, place your order at the counter, pay for it, and when your order is ready, your name will be called and it will be brought to your table. There are benches near the order counter for those who purchased take-out orders to relax until their order is ready - Mikes was doing a brisk take-out business tonight - and an ATM if you're short of cash.
Photo: The menu at Mike's is posted on the wall as you enter the restaurant, and features just about every variety of pizza you could wish for, including a "Create Your Own" section. If you're not in the mood for pizza, the menu offers a great selection of sandwiches, burgers, sides, appetizers, along with a well-equipped salad bar.
A printed take-out menu is available, and Mike's will even deliver 6-packs of beer to your door!
Photo: Business is brisk on this early Friday evening, as two employees take orders and customers place orders at the counter, and take-out orders relax on the benches. Note above the order counter there are pizza pans, so you know the size of pizza to order. The open kitchen is just behind the counter. The take-out business was busy, as the phone never stopped ringing.
Photo: Just beyond the order counter, you can look into the open kitchen and watch the staff at work. It was interesting to notice that the staff who were making the pizza were older - maybe 30's? - guys, while the rest of the staff were 20-something females. I'm simply making an observation...
Photo; The well-equipped salad bar has everything to make a fine salad, and the gal behind the counter took good care of the bar, and kept it filled with fresh ingredients.
Photo: The salad bar gal restocks tomatoes, as a customer dishes up a bowl. Taking care of the salad bar seemed to be her job, and she kept it well stocked.
Photo: Mike's Pizza was truly busy on this early Friday evening, which was to be expected. Despite the fact the restaurant was very busy, and the staff was busy, most of the staff seemed to be very efficient and courteous. The dining room is very large, and there is a small game arcade, barely visible in the extreme left side of the photo, to keep the younger crowd occupied while your pizza is being prepared.
Photo: I prefer to sit at the bar when I dine by myself, as it's easier to watch the staff in action, and make pleasant conversation. Note the television monitor, which is one of several in the restaurant, tuned to a baseball game, late in the season. One oddity is that you don't order beer or wine - they don't sell liquor - you have to order and pay for it at the register in front, and you'll get a receipt from the cashier. Present your receipt to the gal behind the bar, and she'll pour your beer or wine, or grab you a bottle, if that's what you ordered.
Photo: The gal behind the bar pours a beer for one of the customers watching the baseball game from the bar.
Photo: From my perch on a bar stool, I was able to watch the staff slice a large pizza for another customer. From where I was sitting you could see into the open kitchen and watch the action at the salad bar.
Photo: When your order is ready, one of the staff members will bring it to you. They wander around the dining room, shouting your name, until you get their attention. This gal had it easy with me, as the bar was close to the kitchen, and she called my name once, I raised my hand to get her attention, and my "Mini" pizza was to delivered to me, as I sat at the bar.
Despite the fact the restaurant was very busy on this early Friday evening, my pizza arrived in only about 20 minutes after I placed my order.
Photo: I'm sitting at the bar, with a smile on my face, and a mostly full pint of Budweiser, along with a delicious pepperoni and linguica "Mini" pizza.
Photo: From the "Create Your Own Pizza" section of the menu, I ordered a "Mini" pizza topped with pepperoni, along with a pint of Budweiser beer from the bar. The "Mini" pizza comes with one topping, and extra toppings are a nominal $.50, so I ordered linguica as an additional topping, which rounded out this delicious pizza. As the name "mini' implies, the pizza was small, but it was the perfect size for one person, and the added topping was an extra bonus.
All good pizza starts with the crust as the foundation, and the crust on my mini pizza was cooked to a perfect golden brown, crusty on the edges and more tender towards the middle, which is the way I like it. The crust held together well, and tasted like a good pizza crust should taste.
And the cheese... oh the cheese! So tangy, baked, layered and melted perfectly gooey, so when you picked up a piece, little strings of it would cling to the rest of the pie. The toppings of pepperoni and linguica were definitely ample, well-placed on the pie, and helped to make my "Mini" pizza an outstanding pizza. The front of Mike's menu states "Voted to be the BEST pizza in Tuolumne County," and I don't know about that statement, but I CAN state that I loved the pizza, and Mike's delivers a quality pizza.
Photo: Close -up of a slice of my "Mini" pepperoni and linguica pizza, with a good look at the cheesy goodness. Such a great pizza!
I can tell you that I loved the beer and pizza I enjoyed at Mike's, and I felt that I was treated well by the staff. Since I visited on an early Friday evening, the restaurant was very busy, just I was expecting it to be. Some of the young female staff members seemed to be preoccupied with texting on their cell phones, but all in all, the staff treated me well, the beer was cold, both the pizza and the beer were reasonably priced, and the pizza was delicious. I highly recommend a visit to Mike's Pizza, located in Sonora, CA.
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