Read this before you eat at Cicis again

When we crave a nice meal, rarely is it our first thought to hit up a buffet. It doesn't matter what kind of all-you-can-eat establishment might come to mind — the image of handling serving spoons hundreds of other people put their mitts on throughout the day while looming over a clouded sneeze guard is enough to dissuade even the hungriest meal seeker. But sometimes the only thing on our mind is pizza, and we don't want just a few slices of a plain old cheese pie. We want a variety of 'za that'll make our head spin, and for a cheap price. Only in a perfect world, right? Actually, wrong. Only at Cicis pizza buffet.

Cicis not only caters to pizza lovers, but it stands tall as a go-to locale for anyone craving a lot of food at an overly affordable price. When it's pizza you crave — and nothing but pizza will satisfy that craving — finding the nearest Cicis and hanging out for a hot minute is the greatest idea ever. 

But, like any place worth visiting, there are some things you need to know before prancing in blind. So, pay attention. This is knowledge to hold dear to your heart if you want your Cicis adventure to live up to your expectations.

Dare to stray far away from the basic pepperoni pie at Cicis

Listen, those who like their pizza with basic toppings will certainly find a trip to Cicis worthwhile, but the people who enjoy venturing into brand new (and often unheard of) territory will truly benefit from the buffet. There are 28 pies to choose from (as of July 2019), so slapping on those adventurous boots and marching through the selection with cheesy confidence proves vital.

An average Joe might accept one style of pizza as sufficient, so long as hits all their greasy carbohydrate quotas for the week, but people who enter Cicis crave an uncanny selection. Sure, you have your basic pepperoni pie and standard cheese, but they also offer unique pizza options like spinach Alfredo, barbecue pork, and mac & cheese. Yep, you read that correctly. All the gooey goodness of macaroni and cheese spilled out onto an entire pizza. 

They have something for everyone at Cicis, so even if you might need some time getting used to the choices, take comfort in knowing you can always find peace of mind in the familiar. But, once you finally muster up the courage to walk the flavorful road less traveled, Cicis is ready for you.

The wings selection at Cicis is a little boring

It's no secret people visit Cicis for the massive pizza selection. There are other items on the menu, of course, but they really aren't the draw. You wouldn't go to a seafood restaurant because you heard they made a good salad now, would you?

One of the other items Cicis offers is wings, the staple food of every Super Bowl party. Now, there are two real issues with these sauced-up morsels of chicken: For one, they're not part of the buffet, so if you want to get down and dirty with some finger lickin' fun, expect to shell out extra dough. Secondly, the selection doesn't hold a candle to the array of pizza. But then again, why would it? It's a pizza buffet, after all. 

If you're not the kind of person seeking exotic wing flavors like mango habanero or Thai chili, you'll likely find their selection pleasing — they have the basic mild and hot buffalo, along with barbecue (completely standard). Garlic Parmesan stands out as the most unique flavor they offer, but even that's not rare to find. Also, keep in mind the selection may vary from location to location, so if you are looking for those garlic Parmesan delights, call before you haul. 

The tomato sauce-based pies at Cicis might be worth skipping

Tomato sauce is to pizza what a solid cement foundation is to a home. It's that layer upon which every other ingredient is stacked, cooked, and then gobbled down. You wouldn't move into a house if you knew the foundation was weak or shoddily constructed, just as you wouldn't dare indulge in a pizza if you heard rumors the sauce was cheap and flavorless. Cicis offers both tomato sauce-based pizzas and white sauce-based (ranch, Alfredo) pizzas. But according to one Serious Eats writer, you may actually want to skip over the red sauce and head straight for the white (is that considered pizza blasphemy?).

Serious Eats' Casey Barber was less than pleased with the tomato sauce. Giving her honest and unbiased feedback, she said, "Tomato sauces are a letdown across the board; the pizza sauce suffered from dried oregano overload, lending it the simultaneously over-spiced yet bland taste that afflicts many a generic frozen pizza. The marinara sauce coating corkscrew cavatappi pasta was a kissing cousin to Chef Boyardee or Ragu — kids might love its pureed sweetness, but this gal was raised on grandma's homemade marinara, not that jarred stuff."

Now, that's just one opinion, but she clearly loves food, and knows the good stuff from the cheap stuff when she experiences it. Of course, you'll have to go try it yourself and form your own opinion, but maybe hit the Parmesan ranch or Alfredo-laden pizzas first. Don't waste stomach space on disappointment.

You'll shell out less than $10 for a lot of food at Cicis

In an age where pennies often need pinching, places offering the biggest bang for a buck appeal to anyone, and that's why buffets reign supreme. Pay one set price, load up your plate as high as possible, stuff your face, and repeat until your stomach feels like an active volcano ready to burst. And when you visit Cicis, you can stuff your belly to its absolute breaking point for a very, very affordable price.

Most people have no problem shelling out as much as $15 for an all-you-can-eat extravaganza, but at Cicis, you don't even need that much money. The website states that prices vary at each location, but for many of them, $5.49 gets you way more food than your appetite can handle (and more nightmares than your diet can handle). Here's the kicker, however: If you want to indulge in their selection of wings, prepare to pay extra. The buffet has all the pizza, pasta, and salad your little self can handle, but if wings are on your mind, don't panic when the bill is higher than you expect.

Cicis might kick you out for taking advantage of the "all-you-can-eat" rule

When you walk into a buffet and see a sign that reads "All You Can Eat," you assume that, well, shelling out the required amount of money means you can cram your face until the cows come home. However, on more than one occasion, diners have apparently been asked to leave for bringing an appetite a little too ravenous for the Cicis buffet.

A couple customers who were turned away shared their frustrating experiences online. One Redditor was 22 pieces of pizza deep before they ran into trouble. They explained, "I stayed for around 45 minutes (around 4:15-5:00 P.M.) and ate 22 pieces of pizza. As I was about to try some pineapple/ham pizza that they just set out, the manager ran up to me and informed me that I had exceeded the max amount that you can eat at the buffet. What the hell? It's literally called an ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT BUFFET." Another person who claims they ate over 50 slices had the same thing happen. They wrote, "The manager [has the nerve] to walk up to us and asks us to leave, as we've exceeded the amount of food allowed to eat in an all-you-can-eat buffet. WTF?"

So, the next time you roll into a Cicis ready to beat the buffet, be warned that not everyone there is super stoked to see you, and they may just put the kibosh on your mission.

The reviews are mixed for Cicis

It's natural to look up reviews for any place you're going before you actually venture there. But if you and your buddies are planning an afternoon excursion to Cicis, keep in mind you might want to just go and form an opinion yourself, because the banter online will either lead you to believe it's a tasty and affordable dining destination or the absolute worst culinary experience you'll ever endure.

Depending on which Reddit thread you stumble across in your hunt to decide whether the schlep is worth taking, you might find people enthusiastically sharing their favorite buffet items like "BBQ pork pizza!" and "Their thin crust, as I remember, is really good. I always enjoyed it." After making your way down a list like this you're bound to head straight to the nearest location with excitement swirling around you head. 

But, then again, there's always a flip side to the positive opinions. You may very well read a thread that has you pulling out a Sharpie and permanently crossing Cicis off your to-do list forever. As one person so eloquently put it, "Cici's is where you go to learn an appreciation for Ellio's. You can get pretty much the same experience by licking any subway restroom's toilet seat." As we all know, though, you can't believe everything you read on the Internet.

Tired of the savory options at Cicis? Time to switch to sweet

After chowing down a plate or two of salad, enjoying a dish of pasta, and shoveling a wide variety of pizza flavors into your mouth, you might want to throw in the towel when it comes to anything else savory. While Cicis doesn't exactly have the widest array of desserts available, they certainly have some options sure to make the jump from savory to sweet a pleasurable one.

Sticking with the pizza theme, Cicis offers two pies with sweet toppings for those who still want pizza but don't want cheese or heavy sauce. Dabble in the apple dessert pizza, which is basically apple pie in pizza form, or the Bavarian dessert pizza, a pie full of Bavarian cream and an icing drizzle. Yeah, Cicis has you covered.

They also have brownies and cinnamon rolls, and let's be honest, you can never go wrong with either of those options. The cinnamon rolls especially look exquisite when they arrive fresh out of the oven, glistening with that gooey icing that's always too hard to resist. Go to Cicis for the pizza, but save a tiny bit of room for dessert. The savory just isn't as satisfying without a little sweet to top it all off.

If you try to avoid kids when you dine out, it might be best to skip Cicis

Parents know just how chaotic it can be taking the little ones out to eat, but they quickly learn exactly how to handle the situation so it doesn't completely spin out of control. Most moms and dads also try to bring their children to places that cater to the young, so if things start to get a little too wild, they can at least take comfort in knowing the other parents around them are most likely going through the same bouts of stress. But, not everyone is a parent, and not everyone has the same level of patience and understanding as they do.

When you think of pizza, you think of kids. Those glorious days of pizza parties and soda guzzling might be long gone for you, but rest assured, you can most certainly relive those memories via the children at Cicis. If you're seeking a quiet and relaxed environment to enjoy a meal and chat with friends, it's probably best to drive past Cicis and head for someplace less kid-friendly.

On the other hand, maybe the only way you can enjoy a meal is pairing it with sky-high decibel levels and a frenzied atmosphere. If so, Cicis is your golden ticket.

If you don't like what Cicis offers, you can customize it

It's hard to imagine walking up to a selection of almost 30 pies and seeing absolutely nothing that piques your interest, but alas, never underestimate the pickiness of customers. And if you are one of those paying patrons who can't quite seem to settle on an appealing pizza, just let someone from the staff know and they'll help you personalize your own at no additional cost. That's right, choose your sauce base and up to four toppings, so your mouth and appetite are left smiling wide.

Cicis CMO, Billie Jo Waara, told Broadway World this about their push for personalization: "Our endless buffet is all about offering a wide variety of fresh, hot pizzas. With Personal Pizzas, guests have even more choices, with literally thousands of possible combinations, all included in the price of the buffet along with pasta, salads and desserts." You heard it right from the woman on top. Thousands of combinations

Sometimes, too many choices tend to overwhelm the customer, but when it comes to pizza variety, the words "too many" don't exist in Cicis' vocabulary.

There's a Cicis rewards program you need to partake in

Most places nowadays have a phone app you can download so each trip you take also works towards some kind of reward for your customer loyalty, and Cicis is no different. If you just can't seem to get enough of their pizza, take the full plunge into the deep end and download their app for some savory treats (free pizza, what'd you expect?). 

Simply fire up the app store on your smartphone, punch in Cicis pizza, and hit download. The rules are super easy: Scan your Cicis receipt after each order, and once you hit five orders, you land yourself a free pizza. It's that straightforward. Now, if you don't have a smartphone, don't fret for even one second. They have a form you can sign up with on their website for anyone to take part in their rewards program. 

If you're someone who frequents Cicis, it's in your best interest to get that app stat. You wouldn't want a free pizza to go to waste, would you?