1st, I must say that my review is influenced by the environment and not jut the food itself, which was likely influenced by the store front possibly not being complete construction wise? The food: Ordered a Ex Lrg thin NY cheese pizza. I'm very picky, and there's only a select handful of places around I consider to come close to real NY pizza, and to my surprise, the pie from Cha Cha was actually pretty good - makes my short list of places I consider acceptable. The only problem with the pizza was the oven. Like many short-cutting Texas places, they use a conveyor style oven instead of a true NY "deck" style oven. The key difference in the "standard" NYC deck oven is gets slightly hotter, but more importantly, the decks have stone surfaces. That's the key reason the crust comes out so good in NY, because the pizza is places on a 600-700 degree stone surface - so you get "conduction" from the bottom on the crust, and "radiation" from the normal oven heat on the top. If only Cha Cha would splurge for the real NY oven, it would be really good pizza. Too bad. THough the cheese and sauce were great, and unlike in the real NYC, the cheff was pretty friendly, and generous with the cheese too! We also ordered a meetball hero sandwich. It was ok, but nothing special. THe pizza was definitely more memorable than the hero. Pizza gets 4 stars The environment: Possibly construction related issues, but on our visit, it was hot inside (virtually no AC), there was no ice for sodas, and there wasn't even an operational bathroom. When I asked if there was at least a sink to wash my hands, they said due to plumbing problems, we had to go next door to the gas station. Kinda yuk, though the place was clean inside, so didn't discourage us from eating... Environment gets 2 stars.
What a treasure in Oaklawn Zini's Pizzeria is for us. I moved to Oaklawn in October, 2012 and had Zini's Pizza for the first time shortly after. I am in my 60's and I have not found excelent tasting pizza like Zini's since I was a kid and a family from Italy opened a Pizza Shop in a cornor store in our neighborhood in Philadelphia. The taste and texture of Zini's pizza is just like the dough that was so wonderful from that first experience of pizza from a true Itilian family. And, the sauce tastes exactly like the sauce my Mom used to make from scratch and would simmer on the stove from about 8AM till around 6PM when we would have dinner. Zini's sauce is so rich and thick and the spices are perfectly balanced. Zini's pizza is like a party in your mouth. I have not tried any other of Zini's dishes, as I can not bring myself to order something other then Zini's pizza, because I would feel as though I was missing something if I did not have the pizza. I am sure all of the dishes that use Zini's red sauce are out of this world because of their wonderful tasting sauce. I have been telling everyong about Zini's. When I find something so good, I can not help but share the good news with my friends and people I meet in Dallas.
The bartenders are funny, and if you visit a few times, they will remember your name, your face, and your drink. The food is beyond most bar food I've ever had. I really like almost everything, but the chicken quesadillas are awesome, the burgers are juicy, and junk bucket fries are fun. There are choices for the calorie conscious...for instance, I often get the Turkey, lettuce, and avocado sandwich on a brown roll, with extra tomatoes instead of mayo and vegetables instead of fries. The pool tables are nicely maintained, and the waitresses are friendly and flirty, unless you're just rude. In that case, yes, you will probably not get the best service. They have drink specials every day, a great Wednesday all day, all night happy hour, shuffleboard, a punching bag game...now I'm feeling like a homer. I will say that I think you get back whatever you bring into a place. If you come in ready to have a good time, you'll have a good time. If you don't, go to McDonald's, get drive-through, and go home.