Sunday, February 19, 2012

Last, but Not Least

Fifth Stop: Mio’s Pizzeria
Date:  February 9, 2012
Location: 8470 U.S. 42 Florence, KY 41042
Ranking: 50

We’d heard rumors of the heart-shaped pizza, one only offered around Valentine’s Day and at Mio’s Pizzeria.  Then, the weekend prior to our visit, Courtney received a Living Social alert regarding a half-price deal at none other than Mio’s Pizzeria.  Happenstance! 

Stationed in a strip mall with a Dairy Queen (say what?!) and your usual strip mall-type businesses, this location of Mio’s is cozy and clean, catering to both customers dining in and ordering out. We chose a booth along the side, and sat down in the dimly lit room to find a tiny little “I Love You” vase awaiting us, holding one single fake fabric rose.  How romantic.  Too bad, as our server later informed us, that this innocent flower was crushed by the booth’s previous inhabitant – a little girl bent on stacking items atop the vase.  Perhaps Valentine’s Day already gets her bitter.
An old school menu on display
We debated for far too long about which pizza we wanted; perhaps the indifference of Newtown Pizza still plagued us.  Luckily, we had plenty of time to think about it without feeling pressured, and our wait was peppered with witty banter from our charming server. In the end, after our server tried to take our order approximately 3-4 times, we made a firm decision.  It would be the heart-shaped pizza after all, specifically of the Fresh Spinach, Bacon & Tomato variety, which also offers garlic and onion on a sesame seed crust.  That last part is italicized because it is so very important.  Speaking of sesame seeds and witty banter, a favorite Mitch Hedberg sound bite comes to mind:

We’ll let this thought stew with you while we move onto the main act.

The heart-shaped pizza itself is only offered in a medium, which actually ends up being a bit smaller due to the pieces removed to allow the actual heart shape.  It’s still the same price as a medium, so for the specialty pizza that we chose, the price was $15.49 (pre-tax).  It seems that they keep a supply of this heart-y dough ready-to-go, as our server mentioned something like “I think he still has a few of those back there.”  Does this mean it is frozen?  We should have asked. 

Our server delivered the pizza to our table and, yep, it was in the shape of a heart.  Mio’s pizza is thin, with the toppings covering it neatly and nearly to the very edge of the pie.  The spinach was set on the pizza in little clumps.  This worried Courtney at first as it reminded her of LaRosa’s, where she’s pretty sure the spinach is dispensed from a frozen pack (ewwww).  But, once she took a bite of the Mio’s pizza, she knew that it was, in fact, the fresh spinach that the menu description promised.  Thank goodness.  The tomatoes were also cut fresh, and pieces of thick, chewy bacon sprinkled the whole thing.  It really was quite tasty. 
That's amore!

Perhaps the best part of this pizza, though, is the crust.  This deduction does not stem from the crust itself (meaning the dough of which it was built), but rather from the hearty amount of sesame seeds that decorated and flavored it.  Unlike Mitch Hedberg, we can definitely imagine ourselves being disappointed if they took sesame seeds off the market.  The flavor of the seeds adds a fringe of wholesome, toasted nuttiness that invades nearly every bite as you get deeper into the pizza and the seeds scatter themselves about.  However, for those who find the sesame seed to be an aversive or unnecessary detail, you are advised to stay away from this type of crust on the menu for sure, because those little things will be EVERYWHERE when you are finished eating.  We were seriously licking our fingertips and pressing them against the pan so as not to let any of those little sesame buggers go to waste.  Sounds kind of gross to do this at a public restaurant, but we bet that you would do it, too.
No sesame seed is safe from us at Mio's
We had also ordered some Basil Bread with Cheese from the “Great Starts” menu, but that never came to fruition.  Many people would be mad about this forgotten appetizer, but it was a good thing, really.  We ate the whole pizza – every single piece –leaving no room for anything else.  Plus, we are pretty easy-going gals, and as our server had won our approval with his genuine likeability and charm, he was quickly forgiven. There were moments that totally made up for not getting any basil bread--watching him play with a funny baby (who, as a bonus, made really odd semi-disturbing faces at the two of us), learning all about Norwood and its secret backwards name (doo wrong(G)?), and looking at his phone to see a picture of him donning a mullet (before he donated his hair to Locks of Love!).  Redeeming qualities, for sure.  Courtney said that he would probably remember his basil bread faux pas, out of the blue, a week later, and realize with honest disappointment that he had failed us.  For these reasons, and despite the bread neglect, he earned a nice tip.  This here is a prime example of how servers can affect your dining experience. 

Overall, the pizza was very good, though we can’t say it’s the best we’ve ever had.  We both have always thought of Mio’s as a place that offered yummy pizza, and we still do.  Though it may be at the very bottom of Cincinnati Magazine’s list, it is definitely worthy of praise and inclusion in that elusive top 50.  I love that sesame seed crust is a possibility there, and honestly, it’s probably our favorite part about Mio’s.  The sesame seeds and that moment when, as we exited the building, our server rushed over to show us that picture of himself sporting a mullet.

Mio's Pizza on Urbanspoon


  1. Thank you for your kind words. I happen to be the one who made that pizza for you, and I'm glad you enjoyed it. I would like to assure you that our dough, along with the rest of our ingredients, is always fresh. We were much busier than expected this valentines day and almost ran out of dough all together, this is also probably why we forgot the basil bread; for which i sincerely apologize. I hope you decide to give it another shot the next time you come in, since it is one of my favorite appetizers.
    Thanks again, Andrew the pizza guy.

    1. Andrew the pizza guy! Thank you so much for reading our Mio's review, and for taking the time to clear up the frozen dough question. We hoped it wasn't true, and are quite happy to have you confirm that it is not. The pizza was especially tasty - we were very satisfied with that particular blend of ingredients. And don't sweat the basil bread! Honestly, we were too busy eating up all those sesame seeds to give the missing appetizer a second thought. We're sure, if we'd reminded him, our wonderful server would have brought it right out to us. We will definitely be returning, since we haven't tried your stuffed pizza yet. When we do, we'll ask for you! Thanks again!

    2. Hope to see you again this year.
      -Andrew the pizza guy

    3. Perhaps we should make a special Valentine's Day visit at Mio's one of our pizza traditions! We love that heart shaped, sesame seeded goodness. Hope to see you again soon!