Restaurant of the Week: Dalia’s Pizza Buffet

April 005

Dalia’s Pizza Buffet, 9558 Base Line Road (at Klusman), Rancho Cucamonga

The former Sizzler on Base Line Road has been converted into something almost unique to the area: a pizza buffet. No, not just like Shakey’s or someplace where they have a buffet at lunchtime. I mean it’s all-you-can-eat all the time, like HomeTown Buffet. There is no menu to order from.

Curious, I went there for lunch one day last week. I paid my $7.49 at the cashier for a buffet and $2.39 for a soda (“all you can drink”) and then checked out the offerings.

There is pizza, obviously, seven or more at a time, even at 1:30 p.m. when I arrived. And there is salad, soup, pasta and garlic knots. They also have fried chicken, french fries and onion rings. And there is soft-serve ice cream, cookies and even chocolate-covered strawberries.

The salad was fine, the Italian wedding soup not bad, and a ravioli was unexpectedly meaty. The pizza, oddly enough, was the weak link, blandly sauced, bready and unmemorable. I ate six slices anyway. It seemed like the thing to do.

(I didn’t take pictures of my plates of food. With a buffet, photos seemed kind of beside the point.)

When I left, after 2:30, the buffet had eight pizzas out, and there were still a handful of customers. A manager told me that during the afternoon lull, customers can request a pizza, saving the kitchen from putting out a lot of food no one is there to eat. But by 5 p.m., he said, people start coming in for dinner ($9). Putting out individual-serving submarine sandwiches is under consideration, and customers can place to-go orders.

Dalia’s has six other locations in the area, most of them take-out or delivery only. I thought Dalia’s pizza buffet might be unique, but CiCi’s Pizza, a Texas-based buffet chain, now has a location in Chino Hills (4200 Chino Hills Parkway).

It’s an interesting concept and Dalia’s does seem to be trying. I might even go back for the novelty factor. I wish the pizza were better, though.

April 008

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