As a self-proclaimed pizza lover, I was excited to review Renato Pizza. Since arriving on campus, there has been a noticeable lack of good pizza in my life. Sure, the new Sharples pizza is a step in the right direction, but a real, classic slice — the good stuff — has been in short supply. The occasional good slice of pizza, plus the chance to use my meal plan to aid my quest to find the perfect slice, led to the perfect end to my second week of school. A good Friday night to me has always been staying in with my family and ordering pizza for dinner, so eating pizza after my last class of the week feels a little bit like home. Good pizza is important to me, and to paraphrase Oscar Wilde, I can’t stand people who don’t take pizza seriously.
Renato Pizza is on 8 Park Avenue, only a short walk past the Swarthmore train station, and has a classic neighborhood pizzeria feel. The green sign over the storefront is reminiscent of small-town pizza shops across country. The inside of the restaurant features all of the classic elements of a small-town pizza shop: large menu boards, uncooked pizzas waiting to to be prepared in large pizza ovens, busy staff, and the familiar smell of sizzling pizza. The booths wrapping around the store’s perimeter crowd the restaurant, giving it a particular ambiance that the seasoned pizza lovers know and love. The pizza parlor is a culinary staple of college towns across America, and Renato Pizza satisfies even the most distinguished pizza aficionado.
Renato Pizza offers dine-in, carry-out, and delivery. The dine-in experience is very casual. Orders are taken at the counter, and patrons seat themselves. Pizzas covered in copious toppings waiting to be baked sit behind the counter. The sheer amount of options is almost overwhelming as Renato Pizza offers a wide variety of menu items — pizza, stromboli, burgers, grinders, cheesesteaks, milkshakes, cannolis, and assorted sides. The restaurant is busy at mealtimes, so customers should have some idea of what they want to order before arriving. Diners seat themselves after ordering at the counter if they choose to eat at the restaurant, and they receive their orders quickly, making eating at Renato Pizza feasible for even a weekday; the trip to the Ville for a meal at Renato Pizza, can take less than an hour. Renato Pizza has a convenience factor that is surprising for an off-campus location. The restaurant provides a laid-back dining experience that lets college students enjoy pizza and other Italian style food with the convenience of the OneCard point system.
Renato Pizza offers an excellent slice of pizza. While most college students — especially those accustomed to Sharples — aren’t hard to please, Renato Pizza makes an impressive pizza regardless. The slice itself is huge, filling up a standard size paper plate. The cheese pizza, a staple of any pizza eatery, is delivered piping hot and deliciously greasy. The cheese is flavorful and is well complemented by the sauce. The crust is thin but not too crispy, making the large slice easy to fold. The pizza tastes exactly like a slice of pizza should: a crust that serves as a vehicle for the other ingredients without overpowering them, a sauce that provides the perfect amount of tomato flavor, and an incredibly good-tasting cheese that balances the sauce. Renato Pizza also offers several kinds of specialty pizzas: sicilian, white, and marinara. The sheer variety is a pizza lover’s dream. Moreover, Renato Pizza’s milkshakes are a sweet addition to the meal. The mint chocolate chip milkshake is cool and tasty, but the chips are too large for the straw, causing the chocolate to remain at the bottom of the cup. This small inconvenience, however, hardly detracts from the experience.
The food is sublime at Renato Pizza. The prices are reasonable; a slice of pizza and a milkshake cost less than eight dollars. Renato’s provides a casual, off-campus meal option without committing too much time out of the day. The variety of menu items allows diners to frequent Renato Pizza without the experiences becoming monotonous.The experience is worth the short walk from campus. The busy atmosphere helps to make the restaurant feel energetic and upbeat. Renato Pizza is a wonderful addition to the OneCard. It offers food that many college students love at a price that won’t drain student’s Swat Points. Lunch or dinner at Renato Pizza, especially on the meal plan, is a meal that Swatties will not soon regret.