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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014

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In Kids & Family

StoneFire Pizza Co. opened in late winter 2005.

In Kids & Family

The three-story play unit has foam balls "shooting" into the air.

In Kids & Family

Kids and adults can climb on the bouldering wall.

In Kids & Family

The water table is a big hit with the under-8 crowd.

In Kids & Family

The bumper cars are one of StoneFire's main attractions.

StoneFire Pizza Co. ignites upscale family dining/entertainment


Back to your hole in the wall, Chuck E. Cheese. StoneFire Pizza Co. opened in New Berlin a couple of months ago, introducing a whole new concept of "eatertainment" facilities to southeastern Wisconsin.

StoneFire Pizza Co. is a national chain of family pizza buffet/entertainment centers that are more upscale than The Chuck. This basically means they cost more, but the food, the beverages and the entertainment are a lot better.

The all-you-can-eat buffet, 5320 S. Moorland Rd., features an extensive selection of foods, including a salad bar, soups, 16 different "wood stone" pizza selections (from double pepperoni to sun dried tomato and artichoke), Asian and Italian dishes, a children's buffet area, desserts and an extensive selection of drinks including "slushees."

StoneFire features a cappuccino/coffee station and a wet bar with a decent selection of beer and wine. We ordered Guinness on tap for $4.50 a pint.

Dinner prices are $11.89 per adult; $5.99 for kids ages 9-12; $4.99 for kids 3-8 years old and free for kids 2 and under. These prices also apply for weekend lunches. During the week, however, lunches are $8.49 for adults and $4.99 and $3.99 for kids.

On weekdays, from 9-11 a.m., StoneFire features an event called "Mom & Me," which includes a continental breakfast and play time. The cost is $4.95 for adults and $2.95 for each child. Children 2 and under are free.

Overall, we found the food to be pretty good. The buffet room has a slightly sterile cafeteria feel to it, but the pizza is fresh, hot and made from quality ingredients. StoneFire Pizza Co. is the first family pizza buffet-entertainment center to cook pizzas in a gas-fired, stone hearth style Wood Stone pizza oven that weighs five tons and can produce over 200 pizzas an hour.

The salad bar is the most impressive, with an unusually large selection of toppings, all of which appeared fresh and appealing. The only down side was the lack of low-calorie or fat-free dressing options.

Although the food isn't particularly healthy, there truly is something for every member of the family to enjoy, including the pickiest of 2-year-olds. Our preschoolers feasted on super cheesy macaroni and dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets.

The 37,000-sq. ft. center seats almost 500 people in four differently themed rooms. The Northern Woods dining room is the quietest room. Otherwise, there's a sports bar-esque room called The Fan Club featuring nine flat screens tuned to ESPN, a very loud Toon City room showing kids' cartoons and Discovery City, a dining room with play activities -- including a massive train table and water station -- for children under eight years old.

Additionally, there are eight private birthday rooms and a family entertainment area that features bumper cars, a rock climbing wall, a three-level interactive foam ball play unit, four lanes of mini-bowling, a children's Frog Hopper ride, 90 games and a prize store. All of the activities in this area have an extra charge, ranging from $1 to 4 per activity. This is where things can really add up, however, we appreciated the plethora of hand washing stations and the helpful, active staff.

A night at the StoneFire Pizza Co. is easily a $50-$75 adventure, depending on whether or not parents drink alcohol and how much is spent inside the family entertainment center, but it's definitely a lot of fun for everyone. Especially for those parents who are still big ol' kids at heart.


Talkbacks

ccastian | Oct. 18, 2011 at 9:49 a.m. (report)

ALL I CAN SAY IS DISAPPOINTING!!! The price to pay for their buffet is not worth it. We went for my daughters birthday, they gave her nothing special not even a birthday crown to wear. The food look like it was sitting there for hours less than 5 slices on each pizza tray all dried up, disgusting. The flavor has changed, very very low quality tasting food. The COOK in the back was stuffing his face while making the food at the same time what kind of service is that? The front lady cashier was rude and inconsiderate!! Yes now you have to clean up after yourself. This place has changed dramatically since it first opened. VERY VERY DISAPPOINTING. No one was in the game room, you literally had to search for someone and when you did find them the one girl did not look happy at all to work with kids, so why work their?? This is supposed to be a kids friendly happy atmosphere, everyone had sticks up their asses and were not very happy to be there. Never again will I was that much money on a place like that again. Chuck E Cheese is way more worth it!!!

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ammagram | April 13, 2009 at 7:33 p.m. (report)

We were greeted by a very friendly cashier, but thats where it ended. The line for food was ridiculously long, so we went to the games. There were a million people in that area too. There were a lot of games that did not work and even more that had run out of tickets and were not being refilled. We went to the rock wall where the female attendant was less than enthusiastic about her job. She didnt speak one word to my son, who had never done the wall and didnt know how to put on the harness. She simply rolled her eyes and sighed each time she had to move. When we finally braved the food line, we were even more disappointed. The brown lettuce was really wet, obviously being sprayed down to try and distract you from looking at the brown color. There was little fresh veggies to top the salad with. The fruit, which used to be fresh, was disgusting. It was clearly purchased in bulk cans, as we watched them plop it out and into the dish. The soups were film covered and smelled funny. There were a lot of different pizzas, but had been sitting under the heating lamps too long. The man who was placing the pizza on the buffets was complaining about have to serve all day long instead of being able to prep and bake the food. Then we got to the childrens buffet, which consisted of popcorn chicken that was just over cooked breading. (I can attest to that because I dissected 7 pieces after my son stopped eating because of how hard the breading was). The taco meat had a thick film on it and the mac and cheese was lacking cheese. Even the dessert bar was filled with stale food. Even at the lunch rates, I was completely underwhelmed and paid too much for the quality, or should I say lack there of. We would have rather hit up Chuck E Cheese. At least the pizza comes out fresh.

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Christina Bombina | Aug. 31, 2008 at 2:49 a.m. (report)

One of the worst pizzas I've ever had, and I've had a lot of pizza. The soft-serve ice cream and the coffee were good, but that's about it as far as the food goes. The rest of the food was truly awful. Many people won't notice, though, because they also eat the terrible bakery items at Pick and Save and things like that.

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niasmom | June 21, 2008 at 6:25 p.m. (report)

After reading the reviews on this site and others about this venue, naturally I was curious. I took my five year old girl there for the afternoon right after our Saturday movie matinee. Perhaps it was the construction that slowed people from coming to this area or maybe there were other places to go, but it was a warm sunny day and I was feeling adventurous, not to mention I just got paid. So off we went. Once you get past the money thing which will set you back at least $40 and $20 for the rides and games it was a good time. There was a fair amount of people here, but I noticed a lot of staff as well. They didn't run out of anything while I was there. The games were recognizable, many of which are at CEC as well. However my little one had a blast on the ride on games, the bumper cars and this thing that went "WHOOSH" and shot foam balls twenty feet in the ear!. Did I say ear? I meant air. Well it was loud though. Sometimes you really have to be coordinated to do some of the games, they were pretty challenging and frustrating for some of the kids, who were even older than my daughter. So I would suggest they reset some of their features, like the jumprope game and some of the crane games. They do have a lot to do and did I mention a Massage chair, for you mom or dad? If you go to the larger malls, they have them, they are very nice. I was too busy watching my kid to sit down, so I only looked on enviously at other parents that were able to induge. I did mention the noise level for a reason, you might want to consider how much your child or children can tolerate and make sure you take a break from time to time to help them filter. Or you will have a meltdown on your hands. They have a water table that is pretty cool, nice to use as as a way to take a break from the action. There were smocks off to one side so you can keep your child's clothing dry. They had a lot of areas to wash hands for your little ones at their level. Which, after this flue season, I really liked a lot. They had bowling for the kids at least five lanes, about 4 dance machines. A bank of Mario Bros for your Mario fan in the family. If you like shooting basketballs, they had a bank of five of those too. Some rather adult games, trivia stuff, intellectually stimulating in case you have a say, 17 or 18 year old to entertain. Lots of age appropriate things to do including a take off of Skee ball which they call Ice Ball. She was very happy riding the ride on that rises up in the air about 40 feet and hops them up and down. Cute ride. She did that about 3 times. Warning: Do not ride this after you eat. We did the buffet, nothing spactacular, there were choices however, much of which was catered to the adolescent taste bud. Beverages were to one side and varied as well. Desserts were on unimaginative side, like cookies, some jello I think I saw some cake. Overall, for what I expected and for what my little girl eats, which is next to nothing, pretty good. They had a movie on DVD playing that day in the room so you can have your meal with a movie. Nice. If I wanted a four star restaurant, then I would have gone there, but since this is a step up from CEC I thought it was alright. They have all the usual stuff your tickets can buy at the end of your visit, and if there was one thing I would change, I would say that you should be able to buy what ever item they have in there like they do at CEC. It saves a lot of tears, but hey it's a great lesson to learn. "Sorry, you don't have enough tickets to buy that thing you want so badly so, you'll have to get some other thing that you can afford. My logic worked this time, maybe not so much next time. I'm working on it. I might consider going back in a year or so to book a special event, if it's still there by then. Overall, leave your attitude, bring your money, a camera and relax. That's my experience. Maybe yours will be be better or worse.

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bugandbeesmama23 | Feb. 2, 2008 at 8:20 p.m. (report)

OK... I have a 3 year old daughter, and we went to Stone Fire pizza for a family dinner on Thursday, and I must say I was NOT impressed at all. I got sick from their buffet, their prices for the games and rides were way way too much. I thought it was going to be some "big" thing, and it wasn't. It's $4 to play in the little ball pit thats NOTHING big at all. I thought they charged way too for it all. Then Sunday, we had a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese, and my 3 year old daughter had A LOT better time. So, thats my thought on Stone Fire Pizza. DON'T WASTE YOUR MONEY!!!

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