Friday nights as a single mom with four kids can be chaotic, to put it mildly. Everyone’s tired and I am ready for a break from kitchen duty.
Recently, Flippers Pizzeria made my Friday night (almost) blissful. The new restaurant in the Palms of Carrollwood is staffed by an army of smiling servers who greeted us with enthusiasm as my own small army barreled through the door. There were plenty of open tables in the bright, clean eatery, which features an array of sandwiches, pastas, salads and appetizers along with their gourmet brick-oven pizzas.
We chose a large high top shaped like a pizza paddle near the open kitchen, and our cheerful server, Susan, immediately took our drink order as she joked with the kids. My youngest got under the table to pick up her dropped book and solemnly commented on the absence of gum under the table.
Since I don’t typically look under restaurant tables, I will have to rely on her assessment of this being a remarkable rarity.
We ordered the cheese Toscana bread ($5.99) as an appetizer, but a mix-up in the kitchen ended up being a lucky win for us: They made garlic bread instead, so we devoured that while we waited for the cheese bread. Both were great. Maniac-children-calling-dibs-on-every-morsel great. The garlic bread was a bit on the salty side, so I will stick with the cheese for future visits.
Ordering one large pizza for us to share would require everyone agreeing on the toppings, so that wasn’t an option. I ordered the steak Gorgonzola flatbread ($8.99). The kids had Alfredo Asiago with chicken ($9.99 plus $2.99 to add chicken); the brick-fired steak and cheese sandwich ($7.49); and an individual pepperoni “My Pie” pizza ($6.99).
The steak sandwich features sirloin, provolone and caramelized onions on handcrafted bread, baked in a brick oven. The pizza was baked with the pepperoni under a thick layer of cheese. The flatbread, which is served on artisan or whole wheat bread, was topped with sirloin steak, red onions, baby Portabella mushrooms, roasted red peppers, provolone and Gorgonzola — a fantastic combination.
I stole bites of everyone’s dinner (because I’m the mom and I can), and I have to say the Alfredo Asiago was my favorite, with my own flatbread a close second. The portion sizes were quite large — a couple of us had enough leftovers for a second meal.
Not me, though. I ate every bite. If it’s so good I can’t make myself stop eating it no matter how stuffed I am, it gets the seal of approval.
“It was really good,” my 15-year-old son said, before threatening anyone who might dare touch his leftovers.
The food is fresh and made to order, so don’t expect it at your table too quickly. In this era of fast-casual, my kids have become accustomed to the speed of Chipotle and Burger 21. It was a refreshing change for us to have the time to linger at the table and chat.
Everyone loved their meals, the kids behaved themselves (mostly), the prices are reasonable and the service was great. The TVs scattered throughout the restaurant broadcasting sports helped keep my boys occupied, too. I don’t think I had to put on my stern mom face once. Now that is something rare.
We piled into the car, full and happy. So what did you think? I asked them.
“Flippers is flipping fantastic,” my 13-year-old son said.
The restaurant also offers online ordering and catering options. Visit www .flipperspizzeria.com for information and a downloadable menu.