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Aver’s Pizza

Aver's Pizza Exterior“Gourmet Pizza to Go!”

Delivery Locations
1837 N. Kinser Pike
Bloomington, IN 47404
(812) 339-6555

317 E. Winslow Rd.
Bloomingotn, IN 47401
(812) 323-8333

2905 E. Covenanter Dr.
Bloomington, IN 47401
(812) 331-5555

Delivery Hours
Sunday – Wednesday: 11:00am – 2:00am
Thursday: 11:00am – 3:00am
Friday – Saturday: 11:00am – 4:00am

Dining Room
2909 E. Covenanter Dr.
Bloomington, IN 47401

Dining Room Hours
Monday – Friday: 4:00pm – 10:00pm
Saturday – Sunday: 2:00pm – 10:00pm
Buffet: 11:00am – 2:00pm (every day)

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Prices
8″ pizza: $5 – $9.50
12″ pizza: $8.50 – $15.50
14″ pizza: $10.50 – $18.50
16″ pizza: $12.50 – $21.50
Buffet: $7.99

Review Summary
One of our favorite places to order pizza from. The lunch buffet is an excellent deal with (mostly) fresh pizzas and an excellent salad bar.

 

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Kira and Erik (and Stu) Eat Aver’s Pizza

Erik and Kira in the line at the Aver's Pizza lunch buffet.Kira says that I should put the summary up at the top instead of at the end, and she’s probably right, so let’s try that this time.

Aver’s Pizza is one of our favorite places to order pizza from. The lunch buffet is an excellent deal with (mostly) fresh pizzas and an excellent salad bar.

Not too long ago*, someone asked if we’d skipped Aver’s Pizza, and I responded that it didn’t count because they were only a delivery service. This is, of course, completely false. Their east side location not only has a dining room but a lunch buffet as well. This means that we had to go back and fill in that gap (just when we thought we were almost done with the B’s).

*A little over 8 years ago, to be precise.

Aver’s is a chain, but it’s a local Bloomington chain with only three locations (four, if you include the dining room). We’ve ordered from them on many occasions, and their pizza is always tasty. Aver’s is easily one of the best two delivery-style* pizza joints in town. (The other is PizzaX.) They’ve got all the standard pizza toppings, plus a few of the more unusual ones. Kira and I are particularly fond of spinach, broccoli, zucchini, and artichoke hearts (but not necessarily all at the same time). We have yet to try any of their seafood toppings or the gyro meat.

Aver's signature Cream & Crimson pizza

The Cream & Crimson. Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it.

You can also get a number of specialty sauces as well, including garlic & herb, alfredo, barbecue (which is really just bottled KC Masterpiece BBQ sauce), tzatziki, buffalo, and three different kinds of pesto. Personally, I prefer to stick to the standard marinara, but some of the specialty pizzas go well with the special sauces.

For example, their signature specialty pizza is the Cream & Crimson, which comes with alfredo sauce, garlic, dill, bacon, cheddar, gorgonzola, and red potatoes. It doesn’t actually sound like it would taste very good, but Kira and I both enjoy it. I’m particularly fond of the Veggie Revival, which comes with the garlic & herb sauce, spinach, zucchini, and fresh tomato.

*Mother Bear’s also has great pizza, but even though they do technically deliver, they definitely market themselves more as a restaurant that serves pizza than as a pizza delivery place that happens to have a dining room.

Aver’s Pizza. Saturday, August 9th, 2014. Lunchtime.

Aver's Pizza dining room, with Kira and Stu.

The dining room, after the lunch crowd had left.

 

Even tough we order pizza from Aver’s quite frequently, Kira and I had never been to the lunch buffet. Well, actually that’s not entirely true. As soon as we walked into the place, I realized that not only had I been there twice before, but that on the second visit, I’d forgotten the first visit too. Hopefully I won’t forget about it again if we decide to go a fourth time.

This isn’t one of those pizza-delivery “dining rooms” that’s really just one table shoved into the corner in front of the pick-up counter. It’s a good sized room, with plenty of seating, and even some interesting art on the walls. (I’m not sure if the art’s really worth $550 for a print, but it was pretty good when compared with the usual local-artist fare you’ll find on the walls at restaurants. The music was an unusual mix of soft rock and acoustic covers of pop songs (including an interesting rendition of “Mrs. Robinson“.

Stu at Aver's Pizza

This is Stu. He wouldn’t let me take a picture of him without his hat on.

On this particular visit, we brought along our good friend and geocaching buddy Stu, who was excited to help us on our journey, as long as we took care of eating all the “bizarre crap” and allowed him to eat all the “bland, starchy, mid-west fare”. Since he has a nice camera, we decided to let him tag along. Most of the pretty pictures you see here are his work. Stu’s distaste for weird food extends to some of the pizzas on offer at the buffet, and he steadfastly avoided everything except the pepperoni pizza, the breadsticks, and the cinnamon knots. When asked if he wanted to try the Cream & Crimson, he instead went off on a 30 minute digression about cooking real homemade pizza with his dad. He’s an entertaining person to have around.

The big danger of a buffet, especially a pizza buffet, is that the food will sit around and get stale or soggy. The day we visited, this was not a problem, for the most part. The place was busy without being crowded, so most of the pizza stayed pretty fresh. The big exception was the vegan pizza, which featured tomato sauce, spinach, potatoes, artichoke hearts, and tomatoes. No cheese, of course. It probably tasted good when it first went out, but it had clearly been sitting around a while before I got to it, so it was far from fresh. We couldn’t even really identify all of the vegetables anymore. The pizza buffet at Aver'sWhile munching on what I now guess must’ve been a potato slice, Kira guessed that it might’ve been a banana chip. I hadn’t read the ingredient list yet, so it seemed like a reasonable guess to me at the time.

But otherwise, the pizzas on offer were all fresh and tasty, including a cheese pizza, a pepperoni pizza, the house special cream & crimson, and a barbecue chicken pizza called “chicken masterpiece” There was also a buffalo-sauce flavored pizza called the “Buffy!” and a “Veggie Deluxe” with peppers, onions, olives, and tomatoes, but nobody tried those. Neither Kira nor I disliked the barbecue chicken pizza, but it wasn’t anyone’s favorite. (Kira doesn’t like banana peppers so she removed them.) As usual, the Cream & Crimson was delicious, but my personal favorite was the pepperoni. It’s a simple pizza, but easy to screw up. The pepperoni slices came out nice and crisp and while I’m sure that they were plenty fattening, there weren’t any of those grease-puddles that you often get on pepperoni pizzas.

Erik's plate. Top: vegan. Bottom (left to right): pepperoni, cheese, cream & crimson, chicken masterpiece

Erik’s plate. Top: vegan. Bottom (left to right): pepperoni, cheese, cream & crimson, chicken masterpiece

The pizza slices were thin, which is as it should be at a pizza buffet. Some people might come to the buffet in order to be able to eat enormous quantities of food for a cheap price, but I don’t have enough of an appetite for that. For me, a buffet is about variety, and small servings allow me get a lot more variety into my belly than big ones.

Salad bar at Aver's PizzaThe breadsticks were tasty, although there were a few in the bin that looked like they needed a few more minutes in the oven. The cinnamon knots* were sticky and sweet and delicious. They were like cinnamon rolls without the, uh, rolling. The salad bar was surprisingly well stocked, with three different kinds of leafy greens, four different kinds of meat, loads of veggies, and almost a dozen different dressings. When Kira got back from the salad bar, she announced “I had to refrain from putting all the meats on my salad.” The bacon bits appear to actually be crumbled up bacon. I’ll give them points for authenticity there, but someone should tell their chef that if the bacon is going to end up on a salad, it should be cooked until it’s nice and crispy. Chewy bacon is good for breakfast and maybe even for sandwiches, but not so much as a salad topping.

*I don’t know what they’re actually called, but they look like stubby little breadsticks covered in a sticky cinnamon glaze.

There were enough servers to handle the small crowd, and we didn’t have to wait long for refills. Or rather Stu didn’t have to wait long for refills. Kira and I took one look at the enormous sodas they brought us and immediately asked them to cut us off after one drink.

And at $7.99 per person (plus a dollar for the drink), the Aver’s buffet is a pretty good deal.

 

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Buffalo Wild Wings

Buffalo Wild Wings signA bar and grill specializing in chicken wings.

Location:
1350 W Bloomfield Rd
Bloomington, IN 47403
(812) 339-2900

Hours:
Monday – Thursday: 11am – 1am
Friday – Saturday: 11am – 2am
Sunday: 11am – 12am

Website: http://www.buffalowildwings.com/en/locations/Detail/3242
Menu: http://www.buffalowildwings.com/en/menu/

(Info updated May 2014. -Erik)

 

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Kira Eats Buffalo Wild Wings

(Way back in 2007, we ate at a bunch of places in a row (Bucceto’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, BuffaLouie’s), so there was a bit of a back-log in writing reviews. For some reason, we wrote the reviews for Buffalo Wild Wings, and we were waiting to publish them until after we’d written the reviews for Bucceto’s. We never got around to writing the reviews for Bucceto’s, so these reviews just sat in the draft queue for 7 years. This is really a long, roundabout way of saying that these are old reviews, but you’ve probably never seen them before. -Erik, May 2014)

Kira, in front of her bacon cheeseburger at Buffalo Wild WingsToo many wings in a row! I’m not a big wing fan, but if they are cheap and good, I’m happy to eat a bucket full. I had never been to a Buffalo Wild Wings before, but Erik kept saying that he had been to one someplace else and didn’t really like it, so I wasn’t looking forward to going.

The interior was huge, with ten million more TV’s then I thought there would be. It is very much a sports bar, and the seating area is just one huge rectangle (part of it with bar seating) with TV’s hanging from the ceiling on every possible side. When we were there they were tuned to at least 5 different channels, showing baseball, lacrosse, and trivia. At least there was variety.

More than ten million TV's.There was also variety in wings. They specialize in wings with about 15 different types of sauce, and display them in a supposed spectrum of spiciness.  We decided to get 18 wings in three different sauces: mild, honey BBQ, and parmesan garlic. The parmesan garlic was really good. The other 2 were tasty, but nothing spectacular. The spectrum isn’t quite true, since the mild was quite a bit spicier then the honey BBQ.

On top of the wings, I decided to order the honey BBQ bacon burger to see what a non-wing menu item would taste like. They didn’t ask how I wanted it done, but it came out very, very well done and burnt around the edges so I sent it back. They offered to make me a new one, but the wings we ordered were actually fairly meaty, so I decided not to bother, and they took it off the check.

Kira eating a burger at Buffalo Wild WingsEven though there was hardly anybody there the service was still quite slow. The server was nice, though.

For the price, I probably won’t go back. There are better and cheaper wings elsewhere. But I think they have specials on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so maybe I’ll go back then when it’s cheaper, and I’ll just know not to expect too much.

 

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Erik Eats Wild

Erik with his wings at Buffalo Wild Wings.

I don’t know why my mouth is open like that.

(Way back in 2007, we ate at a bunch of places in a row (Bucceto’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, BuffaLouie’s), so there was a bit of a back-log in writing reviews. For some reason, we wrote the reviews for Buffalo Wild Wings, and we were waiting to publish them until after we’d written the reviews for Bucceto’s. We never got around to writing the reviews for Bucceto’s, so these reviews just sat in the draft queue for 7 years. This is really a long, roundabout way of saying that these are old reviews, but you’ve probably never seen them before. -Erik, May 2014)

I’d been to a Buffalo Wild Wings before, and I wasn’t impressed. The food had tasted fine, but I thought it wasn’t worth the money, and the ambiance left much to be desired. I also recall that something about the service ticked me off, but I can’t remember exactly what it was. It was something like no free refills or an extra charge for ranch dressing. They’ve apparently fixed whatever that thing was that annoyed me because on our most recent visit, they charged neither for soda refills nor for dipping sauce (though the menu seemed to indicate that the side of ranch would cost extra if you were taking advantage of their Tuesday or Thursday wing specials).

Buffalo Wild Wings wings

From left to right: buffalo, barbecue, garlic Parmesan

Otherwise, the place is almost exactly as I remember it. The prices aren’t exactly exorbitant (50-67 cents per wing, depending on how many you order) but they just don’t seem to be worth it when you consider how many other good deals on good wings you can find (check out Bobby’s on Friday). (Well, not anymore. -Erik, May 2014) The Parmesan garlic wings are almost worth the price, but once you factor in the atmosphere, there’s just no reason to come back. There was a giant touch-screen video game machine taking up a significant chunk of our table, advertising crappy knock-offs of internet Flash games for arcade prices. We couldn’t figure out if it could be turned off. The dining room is filled with televisions, most of which aren’t pointed anywhere useful. At any given point in time, a quarter of the televisions are advertising something. Even the copy on the menus reads like ad copy. After informing the reader that there are free refills on sodas, the menu boasts “Yes, you read that right,” as though they’d just given some sort of big revelation.

Is Buffalo Wild Wings terrible? No, it’s not even that bad. But it’s not hard to find buffalo wings of comparable quality, for a lower price, and served with far fewer commercial interruptions.

 

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