Geppetto's or "Suspended in Time"

A hairdresser explained to me her theory about why some people never update their look over the years.  She believed that perhaps they prefer to stay frozen in the time they were the most happy.  Visiting Geppetto's for the second time reminds me of her words.  Personally, I'd like to see this restaurant spend some effort and dollars on updating their establishment; replacing paneling, new water glasses, ditching the Naugahyde tablecloths, lighting that feels more romantic or intimate, and a fresher approach to their recipes.  I'm sure their regulars would disagree--for some it can be reassuring to never have things change.  Then there are the Salemites who believe we have too many "frozen in time" restaurants in our town.  Count me in that last group.  I don't want all the local diners to disappear, but I would like to see decor and (to some extent) menus keep up with the times or just enjoy an occasional facelift.

Now that I've finished with my thoughts on that subject, I'll share our dinner experience with you.

It was N's and my blood date night and also First Wednesday downtown.  My plan was for the two of us to walk the blocks and see what was going on after our donations (maybe check how busy The Wild Pear was).  All of those plans and thoughts escaped me once we began to walk to the car.  My brain slipped back to my previous idea of taking another trip to Geppetto's for dinner.

We pushed open the restaurant door and walked past the pizza window and bar entrance to where a waitress waited with menus and a smile.  She escorted us to a table, told us about the specials, brought us water and a drinking glass full of their complimentary breadsticks with whipped butter.  Another couple was dining in a booth two tables away in the dining area she sat us in.  We looked over the menu to decide what we wanted to drink with dinner.  We opted for half a liter of their house Chianti.  (Later I noticed a placard on the table for Pale Horse Stout.  Nice to see a local establishment supporting another local business.)  We went ahead and ordered our dinners at the same time as the wine;  I chose the evening's special--Chicken Cannelloni, and N picked out Cannelloni Garibaldi. Both of us decided on the Tortellini Soup, instead of Minestrone or a green salad.
The Tortellini Soup arrived--cheese filled pasta in a clear broth seasoned with garlic.  The flavor of the soup was okay, but the appearance and the lack of anything interesting in the broth were disappointing.  Since we both ordered a cannelloni dish, our entrees appeared identical.  The sauce was okay, but somewhat one dimensional--the main flavors were tomato and garlic.  Our waitress took good care of us, bringing our soup, bread and entrees out as soon as we cleaned our plates.  
If you are a regular, I'd be interested in hearing what your menu favorites are and what it is that brings you back again and again.

616 Lancaster Dr. NE
Salem, OR 97301
(503) 378-1271
HOURS: Monday – Friday 11:30am - 10:30pm • Saturday & Sunday 4:00pm – 10:30pm


Anonymous said...

My wife and I go here quite a bit. We like the fact that it has not changed much over time. We have decided that if we want upscale dining, we have Caruso's or DaVinci's. Anyway, we go for one thing only, the pizza! It is one of the best in town. Also, if you get to know the owner(Dave) and the staff, it is one of the most enjoyable places to eat. Great people, and great pizza! Plus if you look at the pictures, you will spot patrons from years past, which could be sitting near you now.

Nspirate_ca said...

My husband introduced me to Geppetto's about 10 years ago when we were first married.

We go here at least times a year.My husband really likes their pizza crust.He is a pizza guy!I like the Mama's Ravioli.
In the 10 years I have lived in Salem there has been a lot of restaurant coming and going's.I think it is kind of comforting from the same old decor,the family pictures on the faded wall,the little glass of bread sticks, it is like a trip to Gram ma's..

KandN said...

So, what I'm hearing so far is that their pizza is a big draw for regulars? Is it the style of pizza, the varieties of toppings that bring you back or an atmosphere that's a bit more intimate than your standard pizza parlor?

Salem Man said...

Stability is good in a restaurant. If they've got good recipes they should continue making that food. But if furniture and decor is as dated as it is there it would be hard to attract new customers.

Anonymous said...

I like the dated decor here- it's homey and there's plenty of "slicker" options in town if that's what you're in the mood for. Newer isn't always better

Anonymous said...

Their Chicago deep dish pie is unique and tasty. Get the sausage - it is a signature dish.

Their pizza is very good. This comes from a guy who eats (and loves) SFNY pizza and Christos a lot. We are lucky to have so many good pizza options in this town.

I don't get out to Geppetto's very often because I tend to avoid Lancaster as much as possible.

Anonymous said...

very good pizza from thin to stuffed

Anonymous said...

TRASH! I have been going to this place for as long as I can remember! I went a week ago with family, and paid an over-inflated premium for microwave type Italian that I could have gotten in the freezer section of a food mart for 99 cents! They have really gone down hill as of late. Their wait staff is Jamie at best, and I wonder what kind of operation they are really running? Do yourself a favor. Go to Olive Garden. At least there you are getting the $1.99 Microwave italian dinner!

Chuck Bradley said...

I entered as soon as they opened at 11:30AM. As my server was walking me to my table, I noticed a fresh looking buffet. She seated me and gave me a menu. I told her the buffet looked pretty good, but that I’d like a minute to view the menu all the same. I opted for the buffet. It all looked good. I had Italian sausages (Voget’s perhaps?) in a red sauce, Manicotti pasta with chicken in an Alfredo-like sauce, Sausage and Cheese Pizza (which I further topped with Pepperoni from the salad bar), and a green salad with Ranch dressing. It was all good. The décor struck me as a bit dated. Once I told my server I was having the buffet, she pointed me to the plates and I did not see her again until I approached the cash register to pay. (No check was delivered to my table.) I can’t say she was unfriendly or discourteous, just indifferent. If you want good food and don’t require pampering by the wait staff, this is a good place.

Anonymous said...

I agree the decor is very dated, and dingy looking. It really detracts from the whole experience. The water glasses look exactly like the small ones they put in hotel rooms. The tiny bread sticks were arranged in one of the empty glasses on the table. Then there's the food. The Calamari Appetizer was a frozen sub par product. The antipasto was better but not great. The salad dressings had that awful crappy bottled taste. The bread they serve is just OK. The marinara sauce and the meat sauce were the worst I have ever had in my entire life. They both tasted scorched, had I tasted any garlic in the sauce at all it might have helped to mask the off flavor. My husband said his Fettuccine Alfredo was bland w/ no taste of white wine as the menu stated. Ma's ravioli were also not good. My son didn't eat more than one bite. When the waitress inquired about the food my son said he just wasn't hungry because he didn't want to tell her it was awful. I tried to tell her but my son hushed me. I had the Chicken Marsala the "fresh Mushrooms" tasted odd and had an odd almost fake texture to them. I tasted no Marsala wine in the recipe. In all fairness the service was very good and pleasant and our tip reflected that.

Sam I Am said...

It has been awhile, but we ordered takeout pizza tonight, and it was fabulous! I sometimes forget about this place, but takeout is a great way to avoid the dated feeling & still enjoy some delicious pizza!

Rick said...

Anonymous said...I have been, I suppose, a regular here for as long as I can remember, maybe about 30 years.

I can't say I have ever found a better pizza anywhere. Their pizza takes about 25 minutes to crisp to perfection. We always order a Beef, Sausage and Pepperoni thin crust ( or 2 ). Often we will call ahead and order them for dine in and have them close to ready by time we arrive. It comes out hot, very hot, and you know it is so hot you might burn the roof of your mouth but you go for it anyways and dig in...

It is not "perfect" everytime, but it is by far the most consistantly satisfying pizza in the North Westin my opinion.

I believe it is locally owned (by someone that started out many years back busing tables for the original owner) and operated. We love to support our local restaurants. We go often, but for pizza, the best night is Wednesdays — Family Pizza Night (I think they still do it, I rarely look at the menus, so I am not sure)

$1 Off Any Small, $2 Off Any Medium, $3 Off any Large
Gourmet Pizzas Do Not Apply
Dine in Only

Tell'em Rick sent ya in for the beef, sausage and pepperoni pizza!