By: Shawna Peete
My message to all FSU students and faculty: “If you haven’t eaten at Campus Pizza yet, you still haven’t experienced all the delights of Fitchburg State.” Campus Pizza has been serving new menu items since the day they went under new management, and the food is being served fresh on a daily basis. Nearly nothing on the menu is premade, so expect fresh servings every day. When you come in as a customer, you might be tempted to check out the new drink machines on the left, or order right up front then find a booth to watch TV while waiting for them to serve your meal. With the Campus Pizza’s store no longer standing, the restaurant feels more like an upgraded cafe. It’s the best place you can go when you’re off the clock during lunch hours, and the atmosphere is wholesome enough to mask the notorious reputation Fitchburg holds.
After previously learning of its renovations from The Point’s recent Campus Pizza review, you deserve to know just what is being served there. The fried Oreos and ravioli are the popular go-to items, but this review will focus in on the sandwiches and chicken wings. There is not one sandwich or wing that I didn’t immediately enjoy, so food lovers should be able to try everything on the menu. Even those who are more finicky will have different varieties of sauce wings to choose from: sweet, mild, spicy, and even fruity. All the chicken wings are served hot, and are eaten clean off the bone. These are the kind of wings you would enjoy at a summertime family barbeque, but the only difference is that Campus Pizza makes their wings desirable to have all throughout the seasons.
The bourbon molasses deserves all of its bragging rights, as it is one of their most hyped sauces. You could say that the sauces served on the wings are the pride and joy of Campus Pizza, as the staff wasted no time introducing me to the wings in their food collection. They have sixteen kinds of chicken wing sauces, and are only four away from their goal of twenty. The bourbon molasses have a mild kick to them, but an added sweetness that only makes them more addictive.
Of the eight wings I’ve tried, I’m supporting the “golden barbeque” as my favorite. The “gold” your tasting is the honey-mustard barbeque, with some added zest that makes it stand out among the other wings. A little food for thought, the sauce they glaze over the golden BBQ wings is similar to the one served at the “99 Restaurant”. If you like 99’s wings, you’re sure to enjoy Campus Pizza’s, which requires less travel for those living on campus. If you’re not interested in the sweet and mild bourbon sauce, then my second choice for you would be the honey-mustard.
The mango habanero and citrus chipotle are two sauces with a fruit-filled flavor. Maybe you’ve had these sauces with buffalo wild wings, or perhaps you brushed away the thought of eating citrus fruit in BBQ sauce. Anytime you’re at Fitchburg State is a perfect chance to run in and try the fruit sauces before knocking them off your list. The citrus chipotle is made of orange extract; a light sauce that is significantly sweeter, but even more tangy than the mango habanero.
If you’re still not interested in the fruity zest, sweet and sour bourbon, or the honey mustard, 99 Restaurant style sauce, then take a chance with the sweet teriyaki sauce. Much like all the others it will never disappoint, and it is a classical choice order for chicken wings. The contrast of this sauce for those who are feeling more adventurous is the garlic parmesan sauce. After trying this, you might feel as though you’re eating cheese pizza glazed over chicken wings. I’d definitely recommend this sauce for all lovers of cheese and chicken.
Of course, a food review of sauce wings wouldn’t be complete without commentary on the spicy samples. First, the rod chili tastes quite similar to sweet and sour sauce. It’s tangy, and hot enough for those who may not have adjusted to eating spicy foods. Second, the sriracha sauce is for anyone looking for a real kick to their wings. It’s absolutely delectable if you’re used to spicy flavors, otherwise I’d recommend buying a drink to cool your throat after the meal. I’d rate the spiciness somewhere between “medium” and “hot”. There is not one other sauce I’ve tried that goes beyond this rating, but don’t let that stop you from experimenting with the other eight sauces.
There is more to the Campus Pizza menu then just the wings. Various types of chicken sandwiches can be ordered as a small or large, and the size of one small is nearly the equivalent to a 6” grinder. Understand that you will not leave the store hungry after ordering one of these sandwiches. My top choice out of the four I tried is the chicken west. A best option for someone who wants to taste one of their famous BBQ wing sauces with one of their sandwiches. The first time it’s served, straight out of the oven, your nose will know immediately that this was the right choice in sandwiches. This is one of those out-of-area experiences, whereas the taste of the food actually feels like one that was ordered in the countryside. I firmly believe that this sandwich, and those golden BBQ or bourbon molasses are the perfect combination for a couple of friends or lovers. The sandwich and the wings can be shared, remember that! Don’t actually order both for yourself unless you’re sure you can eat a 6” sandwich with chicken wings.
The southern chicken is a BLT that comes with ham and ranch dressing. I’d consider it to be an all-day sandwich because I believe it can also be enjoyed for breakfast, solely because it’s got that “breakfast” bacon taste. The chicken is crispy and tender, and the sandwich is served with the right amounts of salt and spices. The Italian sandwich tastes like a chicken cheeseburger, (obviously without the burger), and has dill pickles added to emphasize the Italian name. It’s a sandwich worth a try, and the pickles can easily be removed if you don’t like dill. Finally, there is the tuna sandwich, and the only not-chicken one that I’ve had a chance to try. I dare say it’s better than any other tuna I’ve had, not too salty and served on a toasted bread.
The bread is perhaps the biggest deal of all these sandwiches. I’d compare its perfection to graham crackers with s’mores; the building block of a food stack that cannot go ignored when eaten with the rest of its contents. It’s all the right flavors for one hungry customer, and any sandwich to choose from will have all the right ingredients.
The cheese pizza tastes great, but despite being in the restaurant’s title it pales in comparison to the sandwiches and wings. This might be because I only have tried the pizza with cheese and no other toppings, therefore I would recommend giving all the other flavors a shot. There are several kinds! The crust is thin, soft, easy to chew, and the pizza is worth sharing with your dormers. The important fact is that all deliveries are free for students on campus. It’s worth the $5.00 Monday and Tuesday special, which is a small pizza and fountain soda of your choice delivered to your dorm. The owners are urging for all students to take advantage of this offer.
Campus Pizza is still undergoing some renovations, so all the cons of the restaurant’s environment should not last by next year. Expect new windows, ceilings, and television sets. The building interior is an appealing contrast to the exterior; tables and floors are kept clean, and the walls are now green to match the University’s colors. The establishment is hardly ever crowded in the afternoon, and the food tends to take ten minutes to prepare since the staff prefer to serve it straight from their oven. The televisions are usually tuned in to CNN news, but on slow days they’ll offer to change their station for their patrons. It’s clearly a customer-oriented restaurant, and as indicated by the several renovations and friendly communication, the staff is always eager to please its people. All Campus Pizza really wants is for Fitchburg students and faculty to see that their establishment offers a little something unique that other colleges are lacking in. It’s not just excellent food, but it’s also the one-of-a-kind staff and the smaller essentials that would make other schools desire to have their own Campus Pizza.