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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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Kira’s Number 13: Bloomington Sandwich Co.

Kira, smiling around a mouthful of potato salad at the Bloomington Sandwich Co.The Place: Bloomington Sandwich Company

Neither of us had been to or even heard of this place before. The last few places we had been to had been sandwich shops, so we were happy that the Bloomington Sandwich Co. had a slightly different variety of sandwiches.

The Time:
Wednesday, June 28, 2006, 1:00 PM

The Atmosphere:
There is a huge mural of Bloomington landmarks on the entrance hallway. We had been thinking of having something like this for Eat Bloomington, but with Erik and Kira eating it. For example: Erik and Kira taking a bite out of the Sample Gates, or something else that captures the essence of Bloomington. If you have any ideas, let us know.

Interior Bloomington Sandwich Co.Otherwise, the place was small, clean, and inviting. They had a few tables outside, but we ate inside.

The Food:
The Bloomington Sandwich Company specialized in their homemade Italian and corned beef, so Erik got the Italian and I got the corned. Their sandwiches are fairly big, so they now offer a half sandwich special which is includes your choice of coleslaw or potato salad, AND your choice of like 6 other options, chips and a drink or fries being some of them. You get all this for the price of a regular sandwich. It is still plenty of food, just more variety. We took them up on this special. The sandwiches were just ok. Erik thought his Italian beef was a little dry, but I liked it and my corned beef, as well. The sides were fairly typical, but the best part was that they brought us free samples of their new blackberry Italian ice. It was scrumptious.

Corned beef sandwich at Bloomington Sandwich Co.Oh, and while most of their sandwiches are meaty, they do have salads, vegetarian chili, and a decent looking veggie sandwich for those non-meat eaters out there.

The Service:
There was a man and a woman working there, both were very friendly, patient and helpful. They did forget about my fries, but were very apologetic and speedily remedied the problem.

We haven’t made it a habit of telling the places we go about our Eat Bloomington project, but when we asked them if we could take pictures, they were very interested in our project and we even gave them our website. It’s taken us awhile to get this review up (sorry! We’ve been on vacation), but hopefully they read this.

The Price:
Most full-sized sandwiches were $5-7. ($6-9 these days. -Erik, May 2014) The sandwiches are definitely not stingy in size, so getting either the full sandwich or the half sandwich combo with the sides and/or drink is definitely worth the price.

The Rest:
While writing this review, I have gotten very hungry and want to go back to Bloomington Sandwich Co. to try another one of their sandwiches. Maybe I’ll get the BBQ beef this time.

Edit: Erik is a dork and forgot it was Saturday, so it was already closed when we got there. Some other day…

How Often Would I Go Back?
Every 2 months

 

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Bloomington Sandwich Company

Exterior Bloomington Sandwich Co(Update: The Bloomington Sandwich Company has moved to a new location, next to the Buskirk-Chumley Theater. -Erik, May 2014)

A sandwich shop with free delivery within a quarter mile radius

Location:

118 E Kirkwood Ave (map)
Bloomington, IN 47408
(812) 330-9611
(812) 330-9612 (fax)

Hours:
Monday – Friday: 11am – 8pm
Saturday: 11:30am – 3:30pm

Website: http://www.bloomingtonsandwich.com
Menu: http://www.bloomingtonsandwich.com/menu.pdf

(Info updated May 2014. -Erik)

Erik’s Ratings: Yum – 3, Ooh – 3, Ah – 3, Wow – 2.5 (Huh?)
How often would Kira eat there? Every 2 months (what’s this?)
Reviews: Erik, Kira

 

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Erik Eats Big Mouth

Erik, contemplating a messy meatball sub at Big Mouth Subs(Update: Big Mouth Subs closed down a few years ago. It’s been replaced by an Asian restaurant named Red Chopsticks. -Erik, May 2014)

I find it difficult to review Big Mouth Subs without comparing it to Subway. I don’t view Subway as the epitome of sandwich shops, and while I eat there often, I only do so because they put in a location right next to the math building. But the sandwiches at Big Mouth and at Subway look so similar, that I couldn’t avoid making the comparison. Big Mouth has essentially the same ingredients, sandwiches, and sides, although they do have big pickles. I do like the fact that they have four- and eight-inch sandwiches; my appetite usually sits frustratingly between sizes at other sandwich shops. Unfortunately, the reasons for preferring Big Mouth to Subway, or any other sandwich shop end there. The smaller sandwiches don’t really cost any less, and I find the taste markedly inferior (and I don’t even like Subway that much.)

Meatball sub at Big Mouth Subs

The Big Balls.

Whatever Kira may say, I have eaten there before, but only once almost a year ago. They didn’t impress me then, but I’d had a bad week, so I decided to withhold my opinion until I could eat there while in a better mood. I definitely felt better this time around, and when we got there, the big windows and bright colors sent out happy vibes that grabbed a hold of my brain and made me really want to like the place. (Note: the chairs may look snazzy, but you’ll feel much more comfortable sitting in the booths.)

 Club Big Mouth (turkey, ham, American cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, and mayonnaise)

The Club Big Mouth.

I guess I do like the shop itself, but the food didn’t make me as happy. The meatballs on my meatball sandwich tasted like meat but lacked that distinctive beefy flavor. Maybe they don’t call them “beefballs” for a reason. The sandwich dripped all over the place, which I mention not because it bothered me but because we got a good picture from it. I also ordered a Club Big Mouth because I like club sandwiches, and most places I’ve eaten don’t screw up club sandwiches. Big Mouth Subs joins the long list of places that don’t screw up club sandwiches, but stays off the much shorter list of places that do them very well. Kira ordered a Cream and Crimson, which bears more in common with the Subway Club than it does with the colors white and red. We thought of quite a few ingredients that would better serve the name. Again, I have no serious complaints about the taste, but I can get similar sandwiches elsewhere that cost less, fill me up more, and taste better. Even though the taste of the sandwiches didn’t impress me, I have to give them credit for naming their meatball sandwich “Big Balls” and their bologna sandwich “Cheap Date.” I wish I had more to say, but Big Mouth Subs just doesn’t inspire much emotion one way or the other.

Oh, I thought of something else to say:

I like cookies.

Erik’s Ratings: Yum – 2, Ooh – 2, Ah – 2.5, Wow – .5 (Huh?)

 

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Kira’s Number 10: Big Mouth Subs

Kira at Big Mouth Subs, acting as a spokesmodel(Update: Big Mouth Subs closed down a few years ago. It’s been replaced by an Asian restaurant named Red Chopsticks. -Erik, May 2014)

The Place: Big Mouth Subs

Neither of us had been here before. (Edit: After reading my review, Erik informed me that he had been to Big Mouth’s before and he ate a fatty roast beef sandwich. He insists that he told me this previously, but I have no recollection of that. Oh well. -Kira, June 2006) We had stopped by a few days earlier, but they were closed. When will we learn to call first?? FYI: Their summer hours are 11am-7pm everyday.

A wall at Big Mouth Subs, covered with large square tiles painted in garish colors and patterns

The colors!

The Time:
Sunday, Jun 4th, 2006, around 2pm

The Atmosphere:
This place is trying way to hard to be cool. The brightness of all of the colors almost hurt my eyes, and the neon green chairs weren’t even comfortable.

The Food:
First let me tell you that this place does not have avocados. Since I love avocados on my sandwiches, this made me not like Big Mouth’s from the get go. But on the plus size, even though it seems like the portions sizes are smaller here compared to other sub places (4 and 6 inches instead of 6 and 12), they do pile a lot of stuff onto the sandwiches. I was only able to eat about 5 inches of my 8-inch Cream and Crimson (Turkey Breast, Ham, Roast Beef, Provolone cheese, Lettuce, Tomatoes, Onions and Special Big Mouth Sauce, without the tomato and onion).

The Cream & Crimson sandwich, with ham, roast beef, turkey,  provolone, and lettuce.

The Cream & Crimson

When I asked about the “Special Big Mouth Sauce”, the lady working there said it was oil, vinegar, and Italian dressing. I just assumed she misspoke and meant to say Italian seasoning, since that would make more sense. But no, she meant it as she said it. They put oil, vinegar and Italian dressing right on the bread of my sandwich. It tasted good, although made the bread a little soggy.

While this sandwich was good, the Cream and Crimson could have been creamier and crimsonier. Our suggestion: turkey, ham, mayo, ketchup, onions, tomatoes, pepper jack cheese, sun-dried tomates, on sourdough bread. Not that I would ever eat that sandwich…

Erik ordered 2 different 4-inch subs: The Big Balls (meatball and cheese) and the Club Big Mouth (Turkey Breast, Ham, American cheese, Fresh Bacon, Lettuce, Tomatoes, Onions and Creamy Seasoned Mayonnaise, no onions). The meatball sub was extremely messy. Erik didn’t like the balls too much, but I didn’t mind them.

Cookies at Big Mouth Subs. Chocolate chip and macadamia nutFor dessert we got 2 big chewy cookies, 1 chocolate chip and 1 macadamia nut. As much as I love cookies, these kinda sucked. Both were the kind of chewy you seem to get by adding some sort of chemical or preservative.

I took the remaining 3 inches of my sub home, and it was soggy, but not too bad the next day.

The Service:
There was 1 woman behind the counter who took our order, made the sandwiches in front of us, and took our money. She did her job.

Seating area at Big Mouth Subs. Bright orange walls, bright green chairs, multicolored tables, and paint-spattered lighting fixtures.The Price:
For the amount of food, the prices are fairly reasonable: about $4 for a 4-inch sub, $6 for the 8 inch. They have some specials on different days of the week, too. The cookies were over a dollar each, and were definitely not worth it.

The Rest:
There really isn’t anything at Big Mouth Subs that you can’t get at any other sub shop for the same price, except that they do deliver, so I guess that’s a plus. They don’t have much parking, if any, so we had to park semi-illegally in the Jordan Square parking lot.

How Often Would I Go Back?
Every 4 months (what’s this?)

 

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Big Mouth Subs

Exterior Big Mouth Subs(Update: Big Mouth Subs closed down a few years ago. It’s been replaced by an Asian restaurant named Red Chopsticks. -Erik, May 2014)

A submarine sandwich shop that also delivers

 

1420 E 3rd St (map)
Bloomington, IN 47401

Erik’s Ratings: Yum – 2, Ooh – 2, Ah – 2.5, Wow – .5 (Huh?)
How often would Kira eat there? Every 4 months (what’s this?)
Reviews: Erik, Kira

 

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