Sabatino’s Grill – Downingtown, PA
I knew of Sabatino’s Grill because I pass by one in West Chester, PA once in a while, and I see the sign that proclaims that they were Voted Best in Chester County by FSFOT.com, a local marketing group of sorts. When I saw that a formerly vacant structure down the hill from my house was to become another Sabatino’s Grill location I was excited. I looked for signs of progress every day, hoping that their opening day was drawing near. It was very recent that I drove by and noticed that the racks inside had bags of potato chips on them; the wait was over. Once I saw the open sign lit up I knew that I’d be visiting soon, and so last Friday was the day.
I was looking forward to welcoming the new pizzeria to the neighborhood with a good, easy to write review. Unfortunately that isn’t the case, as I sit here thinking how to make average pizza sound interesting. Yep, average. While the thickness of this pizza’s crust was uniform throughout the pie (no paper thin middle but still plenty of tip sag) and the undercarriage boasted a nice shade of brown, I found this dough to be quite chewy and void of any crispiness. While I can’t be certain, I’d bet some dollars to donuts that Sabatino’s is using mass-produced, pre-made dough, and that my friends is never fodder for a good review.
This is another one of those pizzas where it was hard to get a reading on the sauce because it was so stingily applied (despite the pictures making it look otherwise). The cheese, on the other hand, was applied heavily, was somewhat greasy, but I found it to be of an average taste. Needless to say, the overuse of cheese and the scarcity of the sauce messed with the dough-sauce-cheese ratio mojo. To place Sabitino’s pizza into a hierarchy, I’d say that it’s better than school lunch pizza, but not as enjoyable as a store bought Boboli. While on the subject of things that I’m not impressed with, I’d like to add Sabitino’s chicken wings to the list. I’m pretty sure that the wing sauce was a straight-from-the-bottle hot sauce, and the wings themselves could not have been any further from being crispy.
There aren’t many conclusions that can be drawn about a place simply because they serve mediocre food, but what if you add things into the equation, such as they have a cheesy website (no pun intended)? What if they don’t bother engaging or interacting with their customers at all through any social media platforms? What if they open a new restaurant and don’t bother making an event out of the occasion or even hanging a ‘grand opening’ sign? Sabatino’s didn’t even bother to print up new menus, just black and white photocopies of an old one which lists two web addresses, one of which doesn’t exist any longer. I can’t be sure, but the impression that I’m given is that Sabatino’s is aware that they serve mediocre food and that they have no ambition to serve better food so long as they’re making money. They have no desire to interact with the community so long as people are walking through the door. I’m under the impression that Sabatino’s gets more excitement from hearing the cha-ching of the cash register than they would from a customer’s compliment.
I support small businesses because I know the risks that many owners have taken as well as the hard work they face on a daily basis, and, I know how vital small businesses are to the local economy. I don’t enjoy writing negative reviews;. I am passionate about good food as well as a business being operated as best it can. In a world where the competition for customers is fierce, a landscape where many pizzeria owners are serving good food AND doing anything and everything under the sun to attract customers, I’m likely to not choose a mediocre experience. Effort is often rewarded. I sometimes patronize places that don’t necessarily have the best slice of pizza, simply because of a greeting I might get, or the ambiance in the restaurant. I didn’t see any of this with Sabatino’s. My desire for the success of local businesses wishes that I was wrong about Sabatino’s Grill. Let me know your thoughts.