Monday, March 3, 2014

Pearl Plays PDX #1 - Pronto Pizza

Pronto Pizza was first up on the Pearl Plays PDX review list.  After reading this article about their healthier children's menu and receiving rave reviews from a friend, I knew we had to try it out.
Pronto Pizza isn't technically in Portland.  It is actually in Clackamas which is a Portland suburb.  It is a quick drive for me though as it only took ten minutes to get there from my SE Portland home.  Any restaurant worth trying in Portland is at least a ten minute drive for me so the short drive was definitely a plus.
The restaurant is in a dated looking strip mall behind a Taco Bell.  It is not very impressive from the exterior so I was extremely surprised by how nice the restaurant was once I opened the door.  It has a much more sophisticated look than your typical pizza place.
My sister-in-law and her 16 month old daughter met us there.  We asked for three high chairs.  All of them had broken buckles.  We asked if we could be moved closer to the play area and the waiter said there were not actually tables that you could see the play area from.  I ordered the cauliflower sticks for Pearl as I had been told they were a great option for a picky eating toddler.  Of course, they were out of the cauliflower sticks. We were not off to a great start.
By this point, I was upset.  I had pretty high expectations which had mostly crashed down around me within five minutes of arriving.  I decided to curb my expectations.  "Pretend like you have never heard of this place," I said to myself.
After calming down, I opted to do the lunch buffet and ordered the macaroni and cheese from the kid's menu for Pearl.  The waiter suggested we try the polenta fries for the kids since they were out of the cauliflower sticks so we ordered those as well.
The lunch buffet was $8 and it was good.  I tried everything they offered in the buffet which included two types of pizza, two salad options, soup, a vegetable dish, and bread.  I don't know what the vegetable dish they offered was called, but it was delicious.  I enjoyed everything else as well.  I was very impressed by the quality and quantity of food I was able to get for $8.
Pearl loved her macaroni and cheese.  I tried it and also thought it was tasty.  A lot of restaurants serve something similar to Kraft when you order mac and cheese from a kids menu.  This was nothing like that.  It was clearly freshly made with quality ingredients.  She ate a lot of it and had some left over to take home.  It did come to our table very hot though so I had to hold onto it for a few minutes before giving it to her to eat.
The toddlers did not like the polenta fries.  I ended up eating them.  I appreciated the waiter trying to come up with something comparable to the item we originally ordered though.  I also liked that they only charged us for the cost of the cauliflower sticks as the polenta fries are more expensive.
We took the kids to the play area after we were done eating.  The meal would have been easier if the kids could have played prior to the food arriving, but the toddlers were too little to let loose in an area where we couldn't see them.  The play area would be great prior to meal time if you have a child who is a little older.  Pearl and her cousin both had fun.  The train table and play kitchen were a big hit.
One bonus for me at Pronto Pizza was the bathroom.  It was very clean.  Pearl is potty training and had to go twice while we were there.  I didn't feel stressed out about her using the toilets and touching things there because it was impeccable.  They also have a changing table.
I ended up feeling good about our experience once we left.  I felt even better when my friend who recommended the restaurant let me know they were fixing all of the high chair buckles over the weekend.  I would recommend Pronto Pizza to people with kids.  It is a little difficult dealing with a tucked away play area for someone with a two year old, but it's better than no play area at all.  It is also clean and has a favorable atmosphere for a parent.  The kids menu has much more thought behind it than at most restaurants I have seen.  Plus, the grown up food is great too.


  1. It's good to read reviews of restaurants and their kids' play area. My daughter is only 7 months so we don't need a place like this quite yet, but based on how quickly time passes it'll be here before we know it!

  2. I hear ya: clean bathrooms are a must in family-friendly spots. Glad to know they are fixing the high chair buckles too. Looks like a fun option for parents of toddlers!

  3. Next you should try Hub. There is one closer to you on Powell that is much bigger than the one over here on Williams. They have a lot of play areas and are really good about getting you tables close to them when you have little ones. Also, lots of healthy options for the kids. :)

  4. Funny...I like when the play area is out of sight because if H can see it, that's all he wants to do. And if he played in it prior to food arriving, we would never be able to get him to stop and eat! Looks and sounds like a neat place overall! There usually aren't any neat places that have play areas!

  5. This sounds like a great is a little out of my area (I'm on the far west side), but it might be fun for a special outing sometime.


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