Monday & Tuesday: 4 pm to 9 pm
Wednesday & Thursday: 11:30 am to 9 pm
Friday & Saturday: 11:30 am to 11 pm
Sunday: 12 pm to 9 pm
ALL MENU ITEMS
Beyond the Pie
Homemade Italian entrées earned Mr. G’s Pizzeria and Wings the second spot in the 2007 Fox 8 Hot List for “Best Italian Restaurant”—in all of Northeast Ohio.
By Beth Newcomb
February 5, 2008
The answer is “one.”
The question: “How many bites will it take to convince you that the pizza served at Fairlawn’s own Mr. G’s Pizzeria and Wings is unequivocally the best?”
Whether you choose the New York-style thin crust pizza or the traditional crust, both feature a richly flavorful hand-pulled dough that combines just the right blend of chewy and crispy, with a touch of mild sweetness. Both include real mozzarella cheese they grate by hand, and both are available with either the secret house-made smooth sauce, or the robust tang of their chunky Sicilian-style sauce.
And both are out of this world.
For second-generation restaurateur Mark Giardina, who was first featured in Mimi two years ago, serving up the finest Italian dishes in the area comes naturally. “You don’t mess with a 65-year-old pizza recipe,” he offers with a warm smile. You also do things the old fashioned way, like cook all of your delicious pies in a time-worn stone oven, so that every bite features a blend of complex flavors dancing in the mouth.
“We use a pizza stone, which means our pies take a little longer to cook,” he explains. “But it’s the only way to do it if you want a superior result.”
The Giardina’s pizza stone is a little bit like using your grandma’s cast iron skillet. Over time, the food prepared on it gets more delicious with each use.
“Nobody does what we do,” Mark insists. “And we are the only restaurant in the area to offer a 24”-pizza. We feed you like your mother would.”
And while many proclaim that Mr. G’s serves the best pizza in Akron, it recently earned the number two spot for best overall Italian restaurant in Northeast Ohio by the 2007 Fox 8 Hot List (behind Mentor, Ohio’s Casa D’Angelo’s). This recognition most certainly stems from the fact that Mr. G’s offers “high-end, gourmet Italian entrées at pizza shop prices.”
The three main reasons to visit Mr. G’s are the pizza, the huge portion sizes, and the fact that everything is homemade. Mark’s wife, Debbie, even hand rolls her own meatballs.
Whether you choose to devour one of their signature homemade entrées in the comfort of their intimate dining room, or take it home in a convenient, genuine aluminum pie pan, it might be difficult to put the fork down.
Bite after bite of Mr. G’s savory fare, like the Eggplant Parmesan—featuring hand-cut eggplant that’s been breaded and fried to a crisp golden brown, bathed in their mouth watering red sauce, then topped with a blanket of melted cheese—leaves the taste buds clamoring for more. This budget friendly dish is just $10.99.
The hand-stuffed Spinach and Cheese Manicotti (courtesy of Debbie, and his mother, Mama G) is a meatless mambo of rich ricotta cheese and spinach packed inside of a manicotti tube. They cover the whole thing with their signature marinara sauce, and then pile on the melted mozzarella. Try this bit of temptation for just $11.99.
The Parsley and Pasta is a must, and you can only find it at Mr. G’s. They slowly cook beef, potatoes and carrots in a very light tomato sauce flavored with garlic, herbs and spices and served over a bed of pasta. This delish dish is just $10.99. But it’s available on weekends only.
If you see your own Italian favorite missing from the menu, just ask. “All of our guests are invited to build the pizza or entrée of their choice,” Mark offers. “Tell us what you want, and—if we possibly can—we’ll prepare it especially for you.”
Mr. G’s head chef even creates off-menu specialties like the divine Spinach Salad. Offered at just $7.99, it features fresh mushrooms, cooked egg, red onion, black olives, spinach and Parmesan, all tossed with hot bacon dressing.
No wonder they have a line on Friday nights.
“We recommend that all of our weekend diners make reservations in advance,” Mark confirms.
Other ways to beat the crowds include ordering any of the Mr. G’s menu selections delivered hot and fresh to your door. Or phone in your order during the day with the desired pick-up time noted and it will be ready when you arrive. Dining early is always a good idea. That way you can take advantage of Mr. G’s early bird specials. Or hit the movie theater first and then pop in a bit later after the crowds have dispersed.
Advance planning means that anyone intent on enjoying a scrumptious Mr. G’s pizza at home on the weekend should set aside at least an hour-and-a-half for bonding with friends and family. During the 6 p.m.-7 p.m. weekend rush, the limited number of pies the pizza stones can handle often take that long to arrive at your door. During the week, the wait is more like 40 minutes.
Busy moms and dads love the convenience of phone ahead ordering. A quick dash in from the car, and you’re out the door in no time, armed with a homemade meal that everyone in the family can enjoy. But bring your SUV. Their extra-large pizza is so big, it often doesn’t fit in today’s two-seater sports cars.
Mr. G’s is fast becoming the place to broker a power deal. Attorneys and accountants alike regularly take advantage of the intimate atmosphere to put the final touches on complex negotiations. And you can skip the coffee house because Mr. G’s also boasts wireless Internet connection.
“The beauty of our place is that anyone can come in and enjoy a gourmet Italian meal at an affordable price,” Mark states. It’s just one of the reasons that at any given time, half of the restaurant will be filled with families in search of a hearty meal, and the other half with couples enjoying a night out au deux. Chances are good that Mark and Debbie will know just about every one of them by name.
Mr. G’s skips the pomp and circumstance commonly associated with a menu of such exquisite offerings, in favor of warm touches like oak barrels that line the stovetop and garlands of grapes surrounding the dining room.
“We put all of our efforts into creating delicious, outstanding meals, served in a warm and friendly atmosphere,” he says.
And it only takes one bite.
Mr. G’s Pizzeria and Wings is located at 2955 West Market Street at the Miller Road intersection. Look for them behind Rite Aid. For delivery or pick-up call 330-836-1111. The pizza shop also offers catering, pans of pasta and gourmet salads serving 20-25 people. Hours are Monday, Wednesday and Thursday 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; Tuesday 4 p.m.-10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; and Sunday 1 p.m.-10 p.m. Ask about corporate or personal catering.