PizzeRizzo, the Pizza Planet replacement, officially opened yesterday at Hollywood Studios. We were out of the country for the grand opening, but paid it a visit for lunch and some pictures this afternoon.
PizzeRizzo is located in the Muppets Courtyard near MuppetVision 3D. It takes over the old Pizza Planet space.
The ordering area was greatly expanded from Pizza Planet.
The first floor of seating is a pretty generic area. Actually, most of the seating areas are pretty generic.
The second floor contains two rooms to dine in. The larger of the two has a less polished look than the first floor and plays into the backstory of the restaurant. Keep reading to get the backstory.
The second room on the second floor is known as Rizzo’s Deluxe Supreme Banquet Hall. A perpetual wedding reception is taking place in this room. That means you’ll get some great oldies songs, a disco ball, and some led lighting changes.
In addition to the indoor seating areas, there is an outdoor section of seating on both the first and second floors.
While there is ample room to sit and get a bite to eat, that doesn’t matter if the food isn’t any good. Luckily, PizzeRizzo contains some good options for a quick service.
We had the Antipasto Salad and Meat Lovers Pizza as entrees. We actually enjoyed both the Antipasto Salad, which had an excellent Balsamic dressing and balance of ingredients, and the Meat Lovers Pizza, which featured very flavorful sausages on top of a similar quality pizza as those found in Pizza Planet. I also had a side Caesar Salad, which led me to a conclusion that the $10.69 price tag was a good value. I would also say the Antipasto Salad was a good value at $10.49.
The Tiramisu had more of a whipped, fluffy texture than we expected, but had a good amount of flavor. It sat on top of a moist crust and had a small sponge-type center.
This was also our first time seeing the new Coca-Cola cups which feature the park icons for all four parks.
As with anything Disney does, story drives the experience and theming. PizzeRizzo has a backstory that might not be easily dissected through simple observation, but a manager was kind enough to give us a quick rundown. Here’s how the story goes:
Our story begins with Papa Rizzo, who is Rizzo’s grandfather. He started work as a busboy for Pete’s Luncheonette in Manhattan and quickly developed a passion for cooking, and specifically, making pizzas. Rizzo himself worked at Pete’s Luncheonette as a waiter before being sent to work back in the kitchen.
It was at Pete’s Luncheonette that Rizzo started to fall for Yolanda, another rat working at Pete’s. Eventually, Yolanda moved out to Los Angeles to work for Kermit and Up Late with Miss Piggy. It was around this time that Pete went to close up shop, but sold his place to Papa Rizzo instead. He named it PizzeRizzo. Rizzo was working for Papa Rizzo and enjoying the pizza business, but something was missing, Yolanda.
Rizzo made the decision to pack up and move out to Los Angeles and try to woo her over. When he got out there, he decided to open up the West Coast branch of PizzeRizzo. It is here that we are dining today. Rizzo started out with a small space and expanded as PizzeRizzo got more popular. The original space was no bigger than the ordering area. As a matter of fact, that was the entire space. Rizzo saw the need to expand and bought up the adjacent warehouse space. He decorated the first floor, but left the second floor looking like a warehouse (that’s why we have unfinished ceilings).
Rizzo was then approached by Gonzo who wanted to open up his Royal Flush next door. Gonzo’s Royal Flush (restrooms) and Rizzo’s Deluxe Supreme Banquet Hall opened around the same time.
Here are a few details from around the restaurant and surrounding areas. There are quite a few nods around the restaurant to the Muppets, the backstory of the restaurant itself, and even some props from the former Streets of America.
There’s also a fun little Easter Egg on the marquee at night.
Overall, we thought that the space was a bit bland, but the food was good enough to revisit should we find ourselves in the Muppets Courtyard dead-end before other parts of the park open in the next 2-4 years. All of the games were thrown out from Pizza Planet, and that might disappoint some of the young and young at heart in your group, but the space received much needed seating expansions. The food was a reasonable price and would serve you well as a budget option at Hollywood Studios.