Uncle Maddio’s Pizza Joint – Windward

Every Friday Roots in Alpharetta features an article on food and dining in a series called Foodie Friday. Today we feature a guest post from Mike Christensen. Follow Mike on Twitter @SCSA31274.

Uncle Maddio’s Pizza Joint opened in September and has since gathered quite a following. Everyone I’ve spoken to about Maddio’s has mixed reviews.  I am no different.

Uncle Maddio’s is a chain with six metro-Atlanta locations, and according to the website, 75 more stores in development.  It’s a fast casual, design your own pizza concept.  You choose your type of dough (white, wheat or gluten free), your type of cheese and then you get to go crazy with toppings.  The person then assembles your pie per your instruction and lays it on a conveyor belt oven that’s reminiscent of the Quiznos toaster.  As the pizza slowly travels through the oven to cook you continue down the line and pay. You are given an identification number to place on your table.  The pizza is brought out to your table hot and ready to eat.

Along with pizzas, Uncle Maddio’s has a variety of salads and paninis.  If the pressure of all those ingredients gets to you, they also have many specialty pizzas to choose from.

My first experience was for take out.  I ordered the Big Max specialty pizza which has loads of meat and a basil tomato sauce.  My wife and I were disappointed in the taste and quality.  The pizza was bland, cold and uninspired.  I thought that perhaps the travel time between the restaurant and my home really took it out of the pizza.

The seating is an unusual mix of really high booths and crammed in tables.  It is rather tight.  Several employees were trying to bus tables and deliver food.  There’s not much room to walk.  It didn’t help that the place was packed. There are several outdoor tables that will help with the crowds come summertime.

The employees are friendly enough. There is a station with plates, silverware, napkins and condiments.  They also have one of those fancy Freestyle Coke machines with millions of combinations of soda. There were several televisions to watch and pretty loud music piped in.  It was almost distorted and was a tad distracting.

I dined in on my second visit, choosing my own toppings from the massive selection. The pizza arrived and I chowed down.  My theory about the time after cooking was correct.  The pizza was delicious and flavorful.  I ate nearly the entire thing.

There are not many options on the kid’s menu.  Parents, be prepared. There is a small pizza meal and that’s it. The prices are not too bad, even thought you can’t find them on the website.  It was around $20 for a medium pizza and a drink.

Overall, I’ve has ups and downs with Uncle Maddio’s.  It’s worth a shot.  It’s neat picking out your toppings ala Subway and there are several gluten free and organic options. Eat it there for the best taste.  Ciao Maddio!

Uncle Maddio's Pizza Joint on Urbanspoon

Lee’s Take - I’m not going to disagree with Mike on this one. You’ve got to have diminished expectations going into this joint based on their common ancestry with Moe’s. Nevertheless there area few decent items to be found here. Stick to the specialty pizzas. The southwest baja, a spicy chicken pizza, is a winner. My wife likes their Greek pizza. For pies with a-la cart toppings, you’re better off elsewhere.

Their kitschy theme grates on me. Employees say “Ciao Maddio” and “hot pie” under compulsion from management. It doesn’t come off well, very contrived. The make up for it with a decent Facebook page with some specials to be found there. And watch those small kids pizzas, lest you share your own pie with Junior!

8 Responses to “Uncle Maddio’s Pizza Joint – Windward”

  1. A December 14, 2012 at 9:16 am #

    Agree with both Lee and Mike. Very uninspired at Uncle Maddio’s. If I want “fast food” pizza, my first choice in the area is Z Pizza further down Windward. Unfortunately, it’s hard to get a good “pie” in Alpharetta/Milton. Mellow Mushroom is horrible, and Brooklyn Joe’s and Bobby G’s aren’t much better. Wish we had something like Antico up this way.

  2. Lee December 14, 2012 at 9:21 am #

    @A – I’m holding out hope that Campania will make a product similar to Antico.

  3. Travis Allen December 14, 2012 at 11:18 am #

    I’ve been fairly impressed by the pizza’s I’ve ordered so far. They haven’t been as greasy as some of the “REAL” pizza places I’ve been too, so I like that aspect.

    Of course, I like Domino’s and Papa John’s for the same reason, so take that how you will.

    The concept is something that I think is neat, but in total agreement with Lee regarding the theme and shout outs…just let me walk in, order, fix my food, and let me eat it without yelling anything stupid.

    They’ve also had some great deals, such as last week when anything you ordered Thursday or Friday you can come back between the 10th and 24th and get the same order again for FREE…not bad.

    I haven’t had to pay for anything other than drinks with one exception as I was in line on opening day and received 12 free pizza vouchers, so maybe my stance will change when I’m having to pay, but for now I think they are a nice compliment to the area.

    I have never been impressed by Z-Pizza…just thought it was bland, while everywhere else seems to fall into the dripping with grease category. Mellow Mushroom can be hit and miss no matter which location you go to, Brooklyn Joes was pretty good, just not my first choice, and Bobby G’s just isn’t my thing.

    Given my choice of Pizza for lunch, I’ll typically stick with Vintage in Milton / Crabapple.

  4. Kim December 14, 2012 at 10:15 pm #

    Haven’t been yet but not wooed to go based on the comments, if nothing else, based on the atmosphere. What is it with loud restaurants? Do you know how hard it is to find an informal restaurant where one can share a quiet conversation with friends?

    For us, it is all about the crust. The photo looks like a thicker crust. Is it crispy? Is there a choice with that?

    Still looking for a crispy thin crust with fresh tomato sauce. Not too crazy on the amount of cheese. We liked the Bertucci’s chain while they lasted in Atlanta. Vintage seemed like it would be a good replacement when they first opened but we find them to be inconsistent these days, serving up droopy wet crusts way too often.

    Not thrilled with Z pizza either. Don’t get the attraction to it at all…. but their pear gargonzola salad is great!

    Like Travis, we like Papa John’s (thin crust only) in a pinch.

  5. Travis Allen December 15, 2012 at 2:54 pm #

    I honestly didn’t notice any loud music on my visits to Maddios…maybe they’ve turned it off? I think I heard some music on entering, but we had no issues once we’ve sat with noise…other than our accompanying 4 year old.

  6. Kim December 16, 2012 at 3:26 pm #

    4 year olds I can handle. Loud music and TVs everywhere, not so much. We’ll give Maddios a try.

  7. SCSA31274 December 16, 2012 at 5:52 pm #

    The crust had a pretty good handle on it but was thinner overall and crispy. Not sure but it looks like all pizzas cook the same amt of time so possibly leading to uneven cooking.

    There was music playing outside and inside when I was there. With the crowd noise, it was pretty noisy. It’s been that way most times I’ve been there. Not sure y there has to be jams pumped in.

    For me personally, I enjoy Pepperonis near Midway park in south Forsyth. Good pies, nice decor, sports on tv, picnic table indoor seating, mini arcade for kids. Little bit of a drive from Alpharetta but worth it.

  8. B December 17, 2012 at 8:44 pm #

    I like Uncle Maddios. It’s my current favorite go-to pizza joint. The noise doesn’t bother me and I think the seating is fine. It’s never been packed when I’ve been there. Could do without the phrases they yell but it doesn’t bother me that much.

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