Saturday, March 19, 2011

A New Dining Experience: The Pizza Ranch

It is rare for me to write about chain restaurants, but a few weeks back, I had a memorable experience that seems too good to go unwritten...

My friend had been talking about this pizza buffet that I'd never heard of for quite some time, and eventually I decided I just had to try it. So, on one fine Saturday afternoon, she and I ventured over to the St. Cloud location where I soon discovered that I just might be the last person on earth to experience the wonder that is The Pizza Ranch (indeed, a Google search shows that there are more than 100 locations across nine Midwest states).
When we arrived at The Ranch, there was a line spilling out the door and onto the sidewalk (again I wondered what kind of rock I must live under to not know of this place's mysterious powers). While there is a menu you can order from, there was no question we'd be taking in the full buffet experience.
One neat offering when you pay is that you can request a pizza type be brought to your table for the first slice straight out of the oven before it's placed on the buffet for all to share. That way, you know you'll get your favorite kind if it isn't already featured on the buffet.
You quickly learn that The Pizza Ranch has much more to offer than just pizza. In fact, my first plate had no pizza on it. I tried to start off healthy (sort of) with the salad bar. I then added some chicken fries, waffle fries and potato wedges (not so healthy).
My second (and third) plate hit the pizza jackpot. I tried multiple kinds: Bacon Cheeseburger (beef, onions, pickles, two cheeses, bacon pieces), Chicken Broccoli Alfredo (chicken, broccoli, two cheeses, zesty alfredo sauce), Texan (beef, lettuce, tomato, two cheeses, taco sauce, onions, taco chips) and more.

Each time, I loaded up on more chicken fries. I was crazy about them. And, based on real-time suggestions from friends on Facebook, I went with the Cactus Bread dessert, which was also fantastic.

It's impossible to call The Pizza Ranch one of the best restaurants I've ever been simply isn't that caliber of dining. I will say though, that I thoroughly enjoyed nearly everything I had and I left STUFFED. That's a good sign, right?


  1. YES! I've been hoping you'd blog about this day for weeks now :)

    Also, the photos made me really hungry just now. Thanks a heap.

  2. I just read this to my daughter (who is here until, joy, joy) and we have decided this is the most unheathy meal ever! What is a chicken fry? The pizza looks delicious.

  3. Very unhealthy indeed! Chicken fries are shaped like french fries but made of chicken instead. Smaller, even tastier versions of chicken tenders ;) Hope you had fun with your daughter!