For the past eight months I have driven past the Gertie’s pizza and pasta restaurant in the Ridley’s Plaza in Rupert and finally this week made a point to stop and give it a go. It was a little confusing as to where the door going into the restaurant is. One side, facing west, is blocked by a couple of vending machines so you have to go to the east doors to get in.

Ambiance: I would rank this restaurant as the little brother of the Gertie’s located in Twin Falls. I don’t remember the name of the restaurant that was in the building before Gertie’s but if you have ever been inside that place you will see some similarities. Because it had been some time since we have been to Gertie’s in Twin Falls we needed a little coaching on how things worked.

Seating: There are tables and chairs from corner to corner with televisions in the corners. There aren’t any booths, but the tables and chairs were clean and comfortable. I was surprised at how many tables and chairs they have been able to fit into their dining room. It didn’t feel crowded but there was only one other table occupied.

Noise: No noise problems here, especially from the train tracks immediately across the road. There was just one employee, so she had nobody to talk to and that made it possible for my wife and I to have a nice lunch time chat. For my personal preference I like a little background music playing. I avoid restaurants that have 30 other tables making so much noise that I can’t hear myself, let alone talk to the person across from me.

Bathrooms: Not much to report, the bathrooms were clean but dated. I think this is the case with most restaurants in Mini-Cassia. Older facilities are often limited by the space the first business to occupy the space allowed. Beyond keeping the restrooms clean there were no other choices.

Service: There wasn’t any service to speak of. You pay for your meal up front as you enter the building and then find your own seat. You also fill your own soft drinks and you’ll serve yourself at the salad bar too. The only service is when the cook comes to your table with a full pizza in her hand and askes how many slices you want. This is repeated several times over the course of the meal.

Food: Gertie’s has a unique way of serving food. The cook asked us what kind of pizza we liked and then had us find our seats. The salad bar had a number of choices and I especially liked the way the lettuce was chopped up. It was nice to have a clean salad bar to pick from. A few minutes after we had finished our salads the server came out with the first of many pizzas for us to select from. The Hawaiian was really good, the meat lovers was just ok. We also had chicken and bacon along with chicken and cashews with a white sauce. Both were wonderful.

The real treat came at the end when the cook brought out an apple pie pizza along with a pumpkin piepizza. Both shocked us with how amazing they tasted. I could have easily eaten four pieces of each, which would have been possible had I saved space in my stomach. Gertie’s is an all you can eat restaurant so I could have literally eaten until my stomach burst.

The toppings were good but I wasn’t real big on the crust. I don’t want to criticize it, just to point out that it was a thin crust that would cook fast enough so the patrons wouldn’t have to wait for too long for a pizza crust to raise and bake like a Pizza Hut thick crust does.

Value: I was impressed with the reasonable cost of our lunches. It was about eight bucks each with a soft drink and salad bar included, and again, it was all we could eat. I will definitely be going back for pizza on a day when we have company.

Gertie’s is located in the Ridley’s Shopping Center and is open at 11 a.m. daily with longer hours on the weekend.

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