The experience

The Egyptian RestaurantMina chose pizza as the cuisine tonight.  We decided on Campisi’s, and while we typically go to the location in Plano, we drove to the original location in Dallas for the full experience.  Campisi’s Egyptian Restaurant still sits where it’s been since 1946.  The Egyptian Restaurant part of its name came from the restaurant that sat there before Campisi’s.  It has since expanded to include the space next door.  The restaurant has a really cool vibe when you walk in.  The original room has no windows, red furniture, and it’s dark with table candles illuminating the dining room.  In the back corner, there is a round booth with two giant photos of the Campisi brothers.  I can just imagine old mob bosses sitting around there eating Italian food and discussing the underworld.  My vision is such a dichotomy compared to our little family of four with my cute, innocent children walking in for pizza and spaghetti.

Both the host and our waiter are much older than your typical waitstaff -probably in their sixties.  I wonder if they are related to “the family.”  We sit down and I know already that we will be getting a pizza with “the works.”  We also need to get the Joe’s Special Garlic Toast and marinara sauce to keep the kids happy.  Fortunately, they have crackers for the kids to occupy their oral fixations. 

Crackers all around

I am trying to decide what to get Mina as her daily vegetable.  Looks like it’s going to be salad.  Then I notice that there is an Italian Antipasto Supreme.  I ask our waiter what that consists of and he says lettuce, cheese, and salami.  Sounds like that will work.  We order our bread, appetizer, and entrees.  Mina has decided on spaghetti with meatball.

Mina faking excitement

Benjamin is starting to get a little bored with his crackers.  Mina notices that our candle is out and I have Ogre trade ours for one from an empty table.  Benji says “wow!” when he sees it.  I want to take a picture, but I don’t get the camera fast enough.  Mina says “Take a picture of me interested in the candle!” and poses.  She’s so silly.

 

 

 

Mina being dangerous

Mina is requesting butter to put on her cracker and I tell her no since a. that sounds gross (I didn’t tell her that) and b. we’re about get the cheesebread.  She accepts this and then what do I see across the table?  Ogre is opening up the tiny tub of butter to put on Benji’s cracker.  He gets stinkeye.  He tells me that he’d rather hear Benji say “mo, mo” than screaming in aggravation.  Can you tell which one of us indulges the children?  I tell him that now he has to do the same for Mina.  Mina actually wants to dip her crackers in the butter so I let her to be fair.  And then Benji decides that he wants to do that, too.  Mina now wants me to take a picture of her with this knife.  Who’s in control here?  Not me.

Our cheese bread and antipasto supreme arrive just as Mina decides that it is time to check out the restrooms.  I take her to the restroom and can report that they do have a changing station.  We get back and Ogre is tearing up the salad.  He is excited because he normally gets the dinner salad and this is just a bigger version of the dinner salad with more olives (which he loves), salami, and cheese slices.  I serve up some for Mina and have a piece of cheese bread.  Benjamin, of course, is enjoying dipping his bread (and cheese) into the marinara sauce.

Our pizza and Mina’s spaghetti with meatball arrive next and Ogre gives Benjamin some of the spaghetti and cuts up the meatball for Mina and Benjamin.  I typically take my pizza with ranch, but they do not have ranch at this location (they do in Plano).  I tell Ogre that it’s actually okay that there is no ranch, this pizza is amazing.  It is way better than how they do it at the Plano location.  Ogre agrees with me.  We try to figure out why…I think it’s because the toppings are chopped more coarsely, the pizza crust seems more flavorful and crisp and the tomato sauce is sweeter and thicker.

Insanely good pizza

Pizza with "the works"

 

Mina has been doing a great job with her salad.    She tells us that she likes salad because it doesn’t taste like anything.  We tell her that she’s doing great and that salad can be her vegetable if she’d like.  She is also eating quite a bit of her spaghetti and meat ball.  Benji hasn’t tried the meatball yet.  Yum! Pizza!He does like the pizza Ogre gave him eating all the topping off in one bite.  I feed him some of the meatball off my fork.  He enjoys that and wants more.  After he finishes off the first piece of pizza he starts requesting more of something, but we can’t figure out what that is.  We try more meatball, we try another piece of pizza and he takes these things from us, but still is pointing to our pizza and shaking his head up and down.  When we try to give him more pizza he is irritated.  When we try more meatballs he is irritated.  Ogre is able to feed him some of the meatball and he calms down.  Then I see what Ogre is doing.  He is stabbing the meatball piece on Benji’s plate, moving it over to our pizza dish, stabbing something imaginary and then feeding it to Benjamin.  I am totally amused.  “What?” Ogre says.  I just start laughing at him.  “What are you doing??”  He replies, “I don’t know but he likes it.”  Indulgence.

Mina has done a stellar job at dinner tonight eating almost all of her salad and a nice portion of her entree.  Ogre and I don’t quite finish off our pizza leaving one slice on the table.  I take Benjamin outside to wander while Ogre settles the tab.

 

The food

This is great traditional Italian food.  There is something about this pizza that makes it head and shoulders above other pizza places.  It’s more than just the fact that it’s an oval shape cut into rectangles, but that certainly adds to the character of the pizza.  We order our pizza with “the works” meaning it has mushrooms, green peppers, sliced scallions, pepperoni, sausage, and jalapenos (we only order it with half so that Benji can try some pizza, too).   Their marinara sauce has a rich tomato flavor and nice touch of sweetness. 

There is really only one item on the kids menu: spaghetti with meatball or meat sauce. But it’s one GIANT meatball and the portion is huge.  I don’t think I could finish it.  Benjamin loved everything that got near his mouth. 

A child's plate!?

Spaghetti with Meatball (Child's Plate)

 

The service

Shall I say strange.  It wasn’t good, it wasn’t bad.  Our waiter did not feel the need to smile and I thought that maybe he didn’t like us.  But I think that’s just the way he is.  No need to chit chat, just get the food order, get it out, refill the drinks, settle the tab.  There were a few times that we could have used his presence and he would disappear for awhile, but not to where I got annoyed. 

 

The kids

What kid doesn’t like pizza? Oh, wait, that would be Mina (unless it’s honey chicken pizza from CPK).  But if they don’t like pizza, there’s your all your standard italian restaurant choices to choose from such as spaghetti, fettucini, or ziti.  No crayons or anything here, but the restaurant is dark so no one can see your kid making a huge mess and pretty loud so that the screaming is drowned out.  Mina says the restaurant was “Awesome.”

Rants, Ravings, and Ramblings

In case you didn’t know it the Campisi’s were a big Mafia family.  Joe Campisi, who opened the place, was second in line to run the Mafia in Dallas and was a lieutenant in the Marcello crime family.  He was also the only person to go see Jack Ruby before he was killed.  He testified to the committee investigating the Kennedy assassination. Until the 90′s the place was under survillance by the FBI.  If you went here they have you picture.  Here is some interesting reading:

Campisi’s Restaurant at Wikipedia

Kennedy Assassination Documents About Campisi

Jack Ruby on Wikipedia

Jack Ruby and his Mafia Connections to Joe Campisi

Like Grace said the original part of the restaurant has no windows.  The was only one way in through what Mina called the “squishy door”.  This place has a true Mafia feel.

The Squishy Door

What did Guidelive say?

One of Best Kid Friendly per Gayot

 

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