So I had the opportunity the past few days to get out of town and visit a nearby Round Table. This is the third time I have done so and the third time I have been sorely dissappointed. Review below.
The RT in this review is located in Spokane Valley, WA off of Sprague Ave. I am no expert critic, but being that I have eaten at over 25 RT locations over the last 2 decades, I do consider myself an afficianado.
Store: The restaurant itself was very big. I was surprised by the size of the place. They had all modern interiors and young waitstaff. (All women from what I could tell.) They had what looked like an "all you can eat" buffet with heat lamps, although the time I was there it was closed. They also had a fairly large salad bar. To my surprise there was also an arcade. They had a pinball, a "claw" amusement and about 3 modern video games. Overall the store had a modern "80s" vibe to it and I enjoyed it very much. It was also quite clean.
Staff: The staff was very friendly and prompt with my service. Pizza came straight from the oven to my hands, promptly in about 15 minutes or less. To my surprise the staff actually waited on the tables, serving them pizza and getting them drinks. This is something I don't recall from the RT of old, but perhaps my mind is a bit fuzzy on this. The staff functioned like a team and looked like it was overall managed very well.
The product: This is where my experience pretty much deflated. I got my pizza to go and it was piping hot in the car so I could not "sneak a slice" I immediately checked the bottom for texture and crispiness. It was quite soft and showed very little blistering on the bottom. The top looked fantastic, typical RT with puffiness throughout all the way to the rim. My conclusion is the dough was not from a previous ferment, but fairly new dough. When I got back to my hotel (about a 10 minute drive), I immediatly sat down and opened the box to dive into the flavor.
The pizza was super GREASY, SALTY and SPICY. I should mention I ordered a large pepperoni. The grease (obviously from the pepperoni) was litterally dripping off the slice. I actually didn't mind this so much, but it made the soft crust even softer. Next was the salt. I separated out the toppings and found that the salt was coming from the pepperoni. Did they change brands? While my pie was disected, I confirmed the spiciness was from the sauce. Now don't get me wrong, I like a sauce with heat and zest, but this was spicier than eating raw Jalapenos straight. It was so spicy it gave my whole family an upset stomach and they were complaining of heart-burn. I had that feeling somewhat, but not as much as they did. The sauce also was not red, but had an almost brownish look to it. (Sort of like the forum headers! JK Steve!) Tasting the crust by itself confirmed my suspicions about the dough, it was tasteless and non-fermented. There was no special smell or taste there.
So overall I give the restaurant and staff an A+. The product gets a D. Not a complete failure since we did continue eating it, but just not very enjoyable because of the over-the-top salt and spiciness. Since I don't eat RT often anymore, I am sure some of this is my palate tastes have shifted a bit, but I feel the product has definitely shifted in quality and the taste is suffering. This is the third time I have noticed this from three different locations in the past 3 years, but would like to hear other comments from RT regulars that have visited other stores besides their "go to" store. I know this style and product can vary greatly by location as well, but there seems to be a definite trend with where the franchise is taking the product. Clearly they are still in business and making money, it just isn't the same RT from 10 years ago if you ask me.