I’ve been to Mac’s Pizza Pub a dozen times; after our first visit, it became a quick favorite. Mac’s close to the University of Cincinnati campus, on a strip of dozens of restaurants. I wish I had choices like this when I was in college! (Wait, I didn’t have money to spend eating out. Nevermind.) Anyway, I’ve never felt out of place there even though the pub has a college dive feel. Maybe it’s because I’ve never been after 9 p.m. Maybe it’s because I pretend like I have not aged in the ten years I’ve been out of college.
The walls are bright and there are photos and paintings covering the place. At one table, we sat next to framed drafts of the Mac’s logo and viewed is progression from idea to final design. That was pretty cool.
Mac’s is right across the street from Clifton Natural Foods, and they’ve partnered with that store to serve vegan cheese and local veggie burgers from Five Star Foodies. I’ve gotten the veggie burger before (sorry, no photo!) and it was great. Five Star Foodies is a local brand of vegan, natural, prepared products including “Save a Chicken Salad,” harvest roast, gravy, and various burger patties, You even buy Five Star Foodies products in mainstream grocery stores like Bigg’s and Kroger here in Cincinnati. I tried to see if they are sold nationally, but I can’t tell. It looks like they’ve sent some stuff to bloggers in Pennsylvania. Anyway, that’s another story.
On to the main event! I got the Award Winning Vegan Pizza, which is topped with mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, green bell peppers, and black and green olives, plus vegan mozzarella. I don’t know what award it won, but it’s super tasty. Wins my award.
At $12.75 for an eight-inch personal pizza, it’s the most expensive single dish on the menu, but it’s well worth it. The toppings include every single vegetable available, except jalapenos, banana peppers, artichoke hearts, pineapple, and spinach. I think it’s a great combination. And they will work with you if you want to add or remove toppings.
Alex likes to get the Macover, which is a deep-fried concoction of pizza toppings rolled in dough like a more like a burrito than a calzone, served with a little cup of cold pizza sauce. In addition to pizzas, the Macover, and real calzones, they serve other burgers, sandwiches, salads, and bar appetizers like fried pickles and tater skins. They have a great beer selection and have had drink specials every time I’ve been there.
One thing that’s notable about our repeated experiences at Mac’s is the great service. We’ve had the same waitress almost every time and she always remembers our order without writing it down – easy enough when I’m ordering from the menu, but not so easy when Alex chooses his four Macover fillings! That’s not a talent I have; I’ve spent two nights doing concessions, popping tops on beer at outdoor concerts and I can’t remember someone’s order for the ten seconds it takes to pull the beer bottles out of the ice water.
When we were paying, another person from Mac’s came over to ask how I liked the vegan pizza. At first, I was worried that his curiosity was due to low sales, as in, “gee, how did that taste? I can’t imagine why anyone would order it.” But no, he says the vegan pizza is a top seller and when they re-do the menu they’re going to make more vegan choices, including a white pizza! Awesome.
He told me that some folks from Clifton Natural Foods looked at their dough and sauce recipes and discovered that those were accidentally vegan and suggested making a vegan pizza. I’m glad they did! He then went on to discuss relationships with other neighboring shops, too, like the Greek place that supplies their gyro meat for a gyro pizza that will also be making an appearance on their menu soon.
If you go, remember there’s a parking lot in and entrance in the back. And you should go. Everyone needs a favorite pizza place.