We were out and about, exploring our local neighborhoods, when the craving for pizza hit. As per usual, Google Maps came to our rescue. Tucked away in a plaza in Chapel Hill called the Timberlyne Shopping Center, we stumbled upon a delightful little bistro.
It’s easy to almost miss it if you don’t know where to look, even with the huge black lettering. The plaza is filled with storefronts and the trees block the front from the entrance. But as we circled the lot, “Magone’s Italian Grill” came into view.
As soon as we walked in, I loved its charming atmosphere. It was a little sparse, but the wooden floors are beautiful, and if you looked closely the photos on the wall are all vintage photographs of Italian immigrant life in America. I was a little disappointed in how tiny the space was, but I guess real estate in Chapel Hill is quite costly.
Aa for the menu, their pasta dishes average $11.50 for such Italian classics as Pasta Aglio e Oilio (garlic & olive oil) to Fettuccine to dishes they’ve made their own with fresh vegetables and spices. Almost all of the “Italian Classics” dishes are $15.50, which include things like Chicken Cacciatore, Chicken Piccata, Shrimp Alfredo, and Linguini with Clam Sauce. They also have a “create your own pasta” option where you can pick the pasta type, sauce, and any add-ins.
The “From the Oven” section would tempt me should we return, this is where you find the drool-worthy dishes like Manicotti, Baked Ziti, Eggplant Parmesan, and of course, Lasagna. These will run you $10 – $14.50 for the Chicken Parm. There is also a whole page of apps and soups and salads, but since we were there for lunch and weren’t crazy hungry, we didn’t even look at those too closely.
And then you get to the pizza page, now we’re talking! To create your own masterpiece, you start with a $6 (personal), $10 (10 inch) or $12 (16 inch) base, and each additional topping is $0.75, with no upper limit. They also offer gluten free crust for an additional dollar.
They have 8 specialty pizzas, with a well rounded list of choices ranging from the Meat Lovers and Magone Special, to the Pizza Caprese and Vegetarian Special. I love when there are at least options for everyone. These cost between $8 and $18, depending on topping and pizza size from personal to large.
And to top it all off, there is also a calzone and stromboli section, if you prefer your pizza rolled up and baked like a hot pocket. (You know we love calzones!)
For some reason, the Chicken Bacon Ranch caught my eye that day, it just sounded awesome. I didn’t think I could handle the biggest one, so I decided on a “Small”. Well. They have a different idea of what small means than I do! When the waitress brought the pizza over I was speechless, this thing was GIANT.
Then she set down the large Hawaiian the boy ordered.
This pizza was easily bigger than my tires on my car. You certainly get your money’s worth of food here! (And for those haters who don’t like pineapple on pizza, consider yourself permanently un-invited to all my future dinner parties).
Both pizzas were aMAzing. The chicken bacon ranch was creamy and cheesy and salty, just the way I like it. The chicken and bacon pieces were small but abundant, which I prefer. I like getting a little of all the flavors in every bite. And I don’t want chunks of things falling off as I pick the slice up off the tray.
The Hawaiian was also delightful, though I prefer ham steaks to sliced deli meat style ham. The pineapple also tasted pretty fresh, so even if it was from a can they did a great job baking it. The crust was thin, but not too thin. And it was baked perfectly through, no spots of utter mush, and no black burnt spots, which I appreciate.
We definitely couldn’t finish all of it (I personally knew I’d have at least 3 more days of meals from this!) so we got boxes to go. And they have such a “team” attitude, the cook himself came out of the kitchen to go get something from the back room, saw our check ready to be paid (you know how you stick the card out the top?) and he took it, telling us he would let the server know we were ready. How sweet is that?
I enjoyed my experience, even with the small space, and would be quite happy to return. Especially as it warms up, I’d like to enjoy their outdoor seating. Maybe I can take an extra-long lunch someday and enjoy their lunch special menu? 😉
The prices were a touch higher than I liked, but honestly you get SO MUCH pizza for your money, I wasn’t even mad after they brought out the trays. And the lunch menu, which runs only M-F from 11am – 3pm, has many of the same dishes at a discount price, so if you can make it at that time I’d recommend it!
Overall, I’d rate Magone Italian Grill:
- Taste: 9
- Atmosphere: 6
- Value: 8
All opinions are those of the Budget Epicurean.