Woe to those who hate change and live in Boardman. This past year has been traumatic for those of us who have called Boardman home, and for those who developed an attachment to the corner of West Blvd. and Rt. 224.
First the Boardman Trustees came in and killed the improvised hot rod festival in June. Next, say it isn’t so Joe, the Pizza Hut closed. Then, horror of horrors, A&W, the heart of hot rod weekend and my winter home for hot dogs, closed. Oh no!!!! And they put a car parts store there??? Puhleeze. Then, they opened up a new Dunkin Donuts right next the plaza which is the home of the “been there forever” Plaza Donuts. I used to take my kid there for coffee before bringing him to pre-school. (Jeez Louise…he was drinking coffee before he ate cereal. Helped his asthma!!) That makes for THREE Dunkin Donuts within a 5 mile radius, and makes the future for the old time counter Plaza Donuts bleak. And the Plaza Donuts are better donuts!
Such is the passage of time. The Pizza Hut stayed vacant for awhile. Then something was brewing in the family that owned Café Capri. They opened up Bistro GQ in Route 46 and Shields Road. Then they opened up Gia’s Pizzeria with a make shift sign in the old Pizza Hut. Then they closed Bistro GQ. Then they got a liquor license at Gia’s and got a better sign. Rumors flourished as to what was going on. Who knows? It’s an Italian family. We fight and fight and fight, then sit down at eat dinner. It’s genetic.
At any rate…what is in the old Pizza Hut is a pretty nice Italian Restaurant (like we need another one) to which that I was late to the party. In Yoongs-a-town you just can’t have too many Italian restaurants. That’s who we are.
I don’t know why I never tried Gia's before this. The quirky old sign looked like it was a place that was being pieced together. The new sign was better, but still kind of boring. Then I started to notice cars in the parking lot. That’s how you can tell if a place is a good place…cars in the parking lot. So I grabbed my wife away from the oven and Christmas cookies, and some friends of ours, and off we went to Gia’s with my friend bringing a year old coupon. Hey! A bucks a buck.
And it was worth the trip. The inside had a redo. The dining area is smaller than the Pizza Hut because of an installed full service bar that offers fancy drinks and interesting Martini’s. If you have Seasonal Affective Disorder, this is the place for you. The main part of the dining room has a bright, lit up alcove ceiling featuring blue sky and fluffy clouds. The adjacent wall is lined with mirrors reflecting the ceiling and the effect is like looking outside on a sunny day. I think I will move there until the sun goes down past six!!!
And the bonus is good food. The menu is ambitious as the restaurant tries to offer more innovative cuisine than the regular calzones and stromboli’s (which are available too). My wife had chicken with a bruschetta topping which was pretty darn good. I had a more than acceptable sausage sandwich. Ask for sauce on it. It has a full service menu in addition to its pizza offerings, with various parmesans, marsalas, and francaise…pretty standard fare but still good. Its Brier Hill pizza has won best of show in the annual pizza taste off, so these folks know there stuff. A featured item on their menu is crouton soup, which is basically wedding soup with homemade croutons. I tried it. This is one of those things you either like it or don’t. My grandmother made this variation on wedding soup and I didn’t care for it, and it carried over to here. I prefer my wedding soup sans croutons…straight up!!! But I know many folks who love crouton soup, and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to give it a try.
This is not a white table cloth place. Menu prices are blessedly reasonable with most items under an $11.00 price point and pizza in the $8.00 – $12.00 range. Our server was outstanding for a young person which means good training.
In the hustle and bustle of the holiday season…give Gia’s a try. Oh ya…also remember Plaza Donuts!!!!
GIA'S PIZZERIA - ITALIAN RESTAURANT AND BAR
708 Boardman Canfield Rd,
Youngstown, OH 44512