Pizza on Christmas Eve is a tradition in my family, but this year we wanted to try a different pizza place. We discovered that Gold Dust Pizza in Sutter Creek was closed on Christmas Eve, so we decided to place an order at Pizza Factory in Ione instead. Pizza Factory is a western U.S. pizza chain that started in Oakhurst in 1979 and is still headquartered there today.

We hadn’t had a Pizza Factory pizza since the Pizza Factory location on Main Street in Jackson closed and was replaced by the Biggest Little Kitchen Store, so we decided to order a large veggie pizza on their website. Though Pizza Factory delivers, I decided to run errands first and then drive to Ione to pick up the pizza at the restaurant, which is located at 10 East Main Street.

The city was just about closed, so I had no trouble finding parking on Main Street. When I entered the restaurant, there was only one man (perhaps an employee) and his daughter eating at one booth. The place to order and pick up was at a counter at the back of the restaurant where all the ovens were located. The friendly employee told me it felt like a typical Thursday, not Christmas Eve.

The pizza was in a box on top of an oven behind him. I paid in cash, took the box, and left. When I got into the car, I opened the box to see how warm the pizza was. A touch of the crust told me the pizza would have to be heated once I arrived home in Jackson.

My mother put the pizza in the toaster oven for a few minutes at 350 degrees, and though the pizza was warmer, it wasn’t piping hot. We decided that warmer was good enough.

Our Pizza

The pizza was split into ten slices, not eight, so my mother had three slices and I had two. The veggie pizza comes with tomatoes, onions, green peppers, olives, mushrooms, and cheese. The difference in the Pizza Factory pizza that we haven’t seen in other pizzas is that the tomatoes, onions, and green peppers were sliced lengthwise instead of chopped.

The pizza tasted fresh from the first bite. During the first few bites, I thought the crust was rather light, but as I ate my first slice, I realized the dough was dense and harder to chew. This may have been due to the temperature of the pizza.

I also noticed the red pizza sauce was both plentiful and the sweetest I’ve tasted of all the pizzas I’ve eaten in the county so far. The sauce overwhelmed the taste of the mozzarella cheese, but it was thick enough to provide heft and a good barrier between the sauce and vegetables so we could easily make out the vegetables.

Pizza Factory Veggie Pizza slices

Curiously, the temperature of the pizza may have also produced an odd phenomenon: Different layers of the pizza started to peel off from one another. The crust dough peeled away from the thin bottom shell after a couple of bites, and after another bite, the cheese and toppings layer peeled away from the crust. The sauce came up nearly to the outer crust, so eating the somewhat thick outer crust provide some taste to the unseasoned bread.

My mother didn’t have these issues, but she agreed that the crust was a little hard to eat and the sauce was sweet. She also agreed that the vegetables were the best part of the pizza.

The Verdict

My mother and I saved the second half of the pizza for our lunches later, and they tasted good cold (for me) and microwaved (for my mother). If you like your leftover outer crust easier to eat, though, then avoid eating it cold and put it either in a microwave or, ideally, in a toaster oven at 350 degrees for a few minutes.

In sum, we give Pizza Factory a green light, and it’s also the cheapest of the ready-to-go pizzas from pizza-centric restaurants in the county. The price of the veggie pizza plus tax was a little over $23.00.

Want to Try Them?

Pizza Factory offers pizzas, calzones, pasta, sandwiches, and more. You can order Pizza Factory food from the Ione location’s website. They also deliver, but I was unable to find the delivery charge on the website.

The restaurant is open seven days a week from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. They’re located at 10 East Main Street in downtown Ione. If you have questions or prefer to order by phone, give them a call at 209-274-0270.

Amador Business Ticker food reviews are adventures in local dining with Editor Eric Butow and his mom.