Tazinos tries for a trifecta: fast, cheap and healthy
It is one of the great dilemmas of modern parenthood: you want to serve your kids balanced, nutritious meals but you are simultaneously pressed for time and struggling to save money in a tough economy.
Tony Martinez and Bryan Belmer have a proposition for you.
Martinez is the executive chef and Belmer the director of brand marketing for Tazinos Pizza and Salad Bistro, a chain of self-serve, all-you-can eat restaurants with a focus on fresh, healthy ingredients that have been a hit with families.
Tazinos has locations in Oak Creek, Menomonee Falls and Pleasant Prairie, with new stores slated to open in Hales Corners and Racine.
"If we aren't near you yet, we will be soon," Belmer said. "And, we're worth the drive."
As the name implies, Tazinos serves a variety of pizza and salads, along with pasta. Dinners, which include soft drinks and dessert, cost $7.49 for adults and $4.99 for kids from between the ages of 3 and 10. At lunch, prices drop to $6.49 for adults and $3.99 for kids.
The price point makes the menu family-friendly (and explains why there usually are a lot of kids drawing pictures on the chalkboard in the dining room), but Tazinos' tag line, "Better for you never tasted to good," reflects another aspect of the corporate philosophy.
"We use a lot of different ingredients that other restaurants aren't," Belmer said. "We use a lot of ingredients that are simply better for you.
"We use only unbleached and unbromated flours for our doughs. Flour actually goes through a lot of processes that, frankly, just aren't good for you. They use potassium bromate, which is a preservative, but it's also a carcinogen. They use benzoil peroxide to bleach flour, which is not naturally white. They put bleaching agents on it to make it that way.
"We use 100 percent natural real Wisconsin cheeses on our pizza. Now, some people might hear that and say 'Duh. That's what you put on pizza.' But, there are other restaurants that may not be able to make that claim."
Martinez, who devised the menu featuring a variety of specialty pizzas, agreed. "There are no modified food starches added," he said. "There is no whey extracted. Our cheese comes from a dairy in Appleton, made with Wisconsin milk, and it's never been frozen. It's a good product.
"We want to be first and foremost about high quality, tons of variety and oh, by the way, it's an excellent value, too."
The setup at Tazinos is simple. Diners walk in, pay, pick a table and then serve themselves from the array of salads, breadsticks, pasta and pizza.
"You can walk in and be eating inside of five minutes," Martinez said.
The pizza offerings at Tazinos range from the standards -- cheese, pepperoni, sausage and vegetable -- to more interesting selections like BBQ chicken, the Santa Fe (BBQ marinated chicken, fire-roasted corn, onions, peppers, and special ranch sauce), chicken bacon ranch, the Aloha (cheese, pineapple bits, Canadian bacon and special sauce) and buffalo chicken.
"Two of the most popular items in casual restaurants are buffalo wings and pizza," Martinez said. "This combines the two."
Tazinos offers pizzas ($8.99 for a 12-inch) and prepared salads to go, but much of the business is dine-in and features a cross-section of families, construction workers, office workers and teenagers.
"People can come to Tazinos, go through our bistro, enjoy pizza and pasta and salad and know that it didn't cost a lot to feed the family," Martinez said. "And, you can leave full, but not feeling like you stuffed yourself to the limit."
This place is Awesome!! Pizzas were tasty, cheesy breadsticks were hott and I recommend putting the marinara sauce on them too!!! Salads were great, tons of variety and low fat dressings! Also loved the Iced Tea selections... you dont see that often. Thanks!
I don't know. Maybe my expectations were too high, or maybe the problem is that I have the tastebuds of an adult, I found Tazinos to be pretty flavorless. The pasta sauces were flavorless. The best pizza was the Buffalo chicken pizza.
Anyone want to front some money to open a corner market style deli in Oak Creek? I recently visited Larry's Market up in Mequon for lunch on the recomendation of my girlfriend. During most weather when it is tolerable to be outside, Larry himself will fire up a grill out back and serve some delicious sandwiches (the market also has a full deli inside with artisanal cheeses along with a good wine selection). As someone who works in Oak Creek, I can say that there are plenty of people down there seeking a good lunch destination and something like that would really work. You can only have so much Subway, JJ's and now apparently a "healthy" Cici's.
sofine - Their slogan is better for you...not healthy for you. The article never said anything that you should have your 4 helpings of Tazino's a day. It just points out that if you want pizza, Tazino's is better for your diet than a Pizza Hut or Domino's pizza.
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