Caper’s Restaurant offers gourmet pizzas and calzonesWritten by Don Zellers | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Caper’s Restaurant and Bar opened as “Caper’s Pizza Bar” in 2003 with a stripped-down menu and no liquor license. It ended up going with the more descriptive name due to some confusion with the “Pizza Bar” moniker. Turns out some people expected that there would be some kind of do-it-yourself pizzamaking station — sort of like a salad bar. Sounds like an odd assumption to me.
Since its opening, Caper’s has more than doubled in size, adding a second room and an outdoor patio in 2007. The new indoor space is affectionately dubbed “the fun room” by owner Sue Meadows, who started the restaurant with her husband Jim.
The Meadows honed their restaurant chops owning and operating a Mancino’s in Perrysburg. They ran both businesses for a while, but decided to sell the sub and pizza shop to concentrate on Caper’s. Their daughter Emily has been the head manager since the place opened.
Because they have such a variety of interesting and tasty-sounding options on their menu, I ended up visiting Caper’s twice in the span of five days. I went alone the first time, and it seemed uncommonly busy for a weeknight. There was an inordinate number of kids there with their parents at 7 p.m., which made me wonder if an “Elmo on Ice” or a “Dora the Explorer” show just got out at the Stranahan.
The second time I took my wife with me and she insisted that we order the baked macaroni and cheese. I had it once before and remember it being pretty good. My memory served me correctly. The noodles are covered in a creamy sauce and buried underneath a half-inch thick layer of crispy, mildly crunchy Parmesan and melted cheeses.
Caper’s gourmet specialty pizzas are a little more expensive ranging from $15-$19 for a large 16 incher. However, if you come on Monday, all pizzas are 25 percent off. There are 16 to choose from and they are loaded with toppings. Many of them feature an Italian, American or Mediterranean theme, and are accompanied by a wine suggestion on the menu — I believe that’s the first time that I’ve seen that in a pizza joint. Tuesdays and Saturdays are the days to go for fans of the fermented grape: only $15 for a bottle.
The pizza here is thin and crispy and has a touch of garlic and olive oil baked into the crust. For a change, I chose not to dip my crust in ranch dressing. Didn’t need to. It was a treat all on its own.
If you want to create your own pizza, there is no shortage of toppings to choose from. More than 25 different options including some interesting ones like artichoke, zucchini, spinach, capers (of course), ricotta cheese and sautéed red onions.
While Caper’s may specialize in gourmet pizza, their Calzones are definitely a force to be reckoned with. They serve up to three different varieties here. I went with the New York-style on my first visit. It was otherworldly. As soon as the first bite hit my lips, I knew why it was in the “Caper’s Favorites” section of the menu. Perfectly golden dough, the crust battling between soft and crispy. The olive oil glaze bonded the grated Parmesan cheese to its outer shell. It was stuffed with ham, mushrooms, onions and some thin-sliced pepperoni, that had a hint of spiciness to it. The contents of my calzone were smothered in three different types of cheese; mozzarella, ricotta and feta. And, like most good calzones, it was topped off with pizza sauce. It was a steal for only $6.99.
I followed up with the Tuscany Florentine on my next visit. It was much lighter fare and featured spinach, garlic, feta, mozzarella, onion, mushroom, diced tomatoes and pizza sauce. While Tuscany was nice, my return trip had me harkening back to my time in New York.
Good pizza and calzones aren’t the only things Caper’s serves up. The menu is pretty diverse, including: barbecue ribs, fish ’n’ chips, spaghetti with mussels, manicotti, quesadillas, and chicken enchilada soup.
All the soup, breads and sauces are made from scratch at Caper’s and they only use top- quality meats and fresh veggies in their creations, which is why I think their motto “Nothin’ But the Best” is more than just lip service.
2038 S. Byrne Rd.
Open: Mon-Thurs. — 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Sat. — 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.
and Sun. – noon to 8 p.m.
Don Zellers is co-producer of “Fred LeFebvre and the Morning News” and co-host of “The Benchwarmers” on News Talk 1370 WSPD. He is also the station’s Good Swill Ambassador.