For a number of weeks I have been seeing comments on Facebook about the new Pizza Factory in Cameron Park (3421 Coach Lane, where Three Brothers restaurant used to be). Most of them were along the line of “When is it opening,” Well, happily, it did, just a couple of weeks ago.
The owner of this, the newest Pizza Factory in our county, is none other than Dan Neher, the same gentleman who recently reopened Los Pinos, the Mexican restaurant just a short distance away on the north side of the freeway in Cameron Park.
Dan asked us to drop by, so around 11:30 a.m. one day last week Russ Salazar and I dropped in to look around, try a few things from the menu and visit with Dan.
The first things I noticed were the game area for “kids,” the salad bar and the Coca Cola “Freestyle’ vending machine, along with a number of happy people enjoying an early lunch.
We took a seat by the window and were greeted by Dan, who filled us in on as much as he could in a few minutes (opening a restaurant takes up a lot of your time).
“I saw you looking at the Coca Cola dispensing machine,” he said. “It will make 144 different drinks for you by mixing Coke products and flavoring. It doesn’t do it until you push the buttons, so all the drinks are fresh. I’ll get you a couple of glasses. Play around with it.”
Dan then told us about the arcade area. “It is a ticket arcade,” he said. “You can win prizes for winning games. Kids are really enjoying it.
“So,” he continued, “why don’t you pick out a couple of pizzas and we will make them for you. We’ll also bring you some appetizers and a pasta dish to share.”
I went to the soda dispenser and filled my glass with diet ginger ale with lime (Russ went for lemon ginger ale and later Diet Coke with vanilla) and sat back down. Shortly our two pizzas arrived, one Chicken Artichoke and one Bruin Special (mozzarella, pepperoni, ham, bacon, mushrooms and green peppers). They were both great with delicious, perfectly baked thin crusts (Yes!). They were close to a tie, but we both preferred the Chicken Artichoke, mostly because of the white sauce and the more delicate flavor (pizza is very personal I have found out over the years).
A few minutes later a nice young lady showed up with a sample of all their different wing flavors: Original, Sweet, Buffalo and Sriracha.
Neither of us are really hardcore wing eaters, but they were very good. Russ thought he would rather have them plain with the sauce (preferably Sriracha) on the side.
As a sample of their pasta, we chose their Spaghetti Alfredo with chicken. It came very hot in a baking dish and had a crusty cheese and chicken top. We both scooped out some to try, but Russ beat me in figuring out how to get most of the crusty top and to scrape around the edge of the dish for the best parts. He said he would have been satisfied with just that for lunch.
We both thought it could have been a bit moister, but there were no complaints about the amount of cheese and the delicious flavor. Along with the leftover pizza and one wing, I took some of it home and reheated it after adding a small amount of half and half. Yummy!
Their menu starts with a selection of appetizers, along with several soups and salads from which to choose. These are followed by a dozen different pizzas or you can design your own from quite a list or toppings. Every pizza is hand tossed: “We Toss’em, They’re Awesome.”
It continues with a half dozen different pasta dishes, from spaghetti with meat sauce to freshly baked lasagna, followed by Calzones and a number of yummy sandwiches.
For dessert, “Cinnasticks” with a side of caramel sauce and 16 flavors of ice cream.
From 11 until 2 on weekdays, you can enjoy the fantastic (and very, very fresh) pizza, salad, “breadstix,” soup and soda lunch buffet for only $7.95 (kids under 10 are only $4.95). I think that is what I would have the next time. I’m crazy about salad bars, especially if they also have pizza.
To assure freshness in everything they make their own dough, grate their own cheese and even chop their vegetables twice a day. You can watch them do all of this while they make your food in their fully open kitchen.
In addition to the soda machine, they have eight beers on tap and a number of wines, including a number of local ones.
Right now they have an area perfect for a group party, but soon will also have a separate private room for that purpose. Five big screen televisions and, yes, lots of sports channels.
The Cameron Park Pizza Factory is open daily from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m., and on Friday and Saturday until 10 p.m. For more information call (530) 677-3611 or visit them online at pizzafactory.com/cameronpark.
Oh, and ask about their factory tours, fund-raising opportunities and Partners in Education program. They are a very community involved company.