SOLON— Coming off the cold, windy fields at one farm, heading to another, I stopped in Solon for lunch. Monday being ruhetag (rest day) for restaurants, the selection was restricted. D & D Pizza and Cafe was open. I went in, favoring it over the gas stations, grocery store and bar.
The building is the second newest on Main Street, having been rebuilt after a fire during our town’s annual Solon Beef Days festival burned the former Breadeaux Pizza to the ground, killing one occupant. The restaurant is now managed by the person who owns the town’s grocery store. A bedroom community like ours needs a pizza outlet, and this one has survived.
When I entered, more than a dozen people were sitting in five groups. Most were construction workers coming off a job for lunch. Two construction workers were sitting on the same side of their table, eating and watching a flat panel television that was tuned to The Chew, which is a celebrity chef program on ABC. Mario Batali was explaining low country cuisine, and preparing a Huguenot Tart made of Blondie apples. The place was busy.
The decor is sports schedule posters tacked up on the walls, with beer advertisements that appeared to be provided by a local distributor. Perhaps in reference to the cafe part of the name, a trash receptacle had the French word “merci” on it, instead of the expected “thank you.” There is no table service, and the idea is to bus your own.
The all-you-care-to-eat buffet is the main luncheon feature. It had six kinds of thin crust pizza, bread sticks, chicken strips, and a salad bar with twelve items, and four dressings. The salad was fresh and appetizing. Soup of the day was chili, which fit with the colder weather. Beverages were fountain drinks along with bottled beer. The lunch buffet cost $7.41 including tax and a beverage. A soup and salad combo was available for a dollar less.
My dining experience was positive. The thin crust pizza was what one expects, the salad was made of fresh ingredients with an adequate selection, and the chicken strip I tried appeared to be made from actual chicken. Based on this lunch, I’d go back, or bring a friend for conversation. It is difficult to convey the idea of freshness, but this salad bar accomplished it.
D & D Pizza and Cafe fills a small town need, which is a place on Main Street for workers to go for lunch. It competes with Casey’s General Store for pizza, and with the nearby Solon Station, which has been offering a $5.50 burger basket at lunch time. Other Monday lunch competitors are Sam’s Main Street Market and RJZ Express which has takeout sandwiches. I’m not sure how much competition the restaurants located in strip malls south of town provide. My point is there is an active lunch marketplace, more than what meets the eye. Part of D & D Pizza and Cafe’s success is it recognized and caters to the lunch trade. While visiting Solon for the day, it is worth a try.