On March 10, my mother and I picked up lunch at Gold Dust Pizza in Sutter Creek, but it wasn’t our first choice. We originally agreed to pick up lunch from Kintaro Ramen, which was also in Sutter Creek. I say “was” because after I submitted our order on their website, our order didn’t go through. When I called, their phone number was changed to an unlisted number. A trip to Sutter Creek revealed an empty storefront with a black tarp covering the windows.

My mother and I went back home to unload groceries and think about our options. We ultimately decided that we would go to Gold Dust Pizza instead. We ate there many years ago when the location was known as Pizza Plus. Gold Dust Pizza is a small chain in central California and the foothills with locations in Ripon, Oakdale, Copperopolis, and Sutter Creek.

When we looked at the menu on their website, we found their pizza to be a bit too expensive. So, we decided to get two lower-priced options on their menu. My mother ordered a half turkey sandwich, and I ordered a vegetarian calzone. When I called to place the order, the man who took my order said the food would be ready in 20 minutes.

Once we parked in the parking lot next door to the restaurant on Eureka Street, we entered the restaurant to find it full of people eating without masks. (All the employees wore masks.) We took a few steps through the small dining room to the bar area in the center of the restaurant, and after about three minutes we paid the bill and were on our way.

My Meal

The Vegetarian Calzone comes with mozzarella cheese, onions, mushrooms, black olives, green peppers, artichoke hearts, and tomatoes. When I received it in the restaurant, it was in a pizza box. That seemed odd to me, so I asked the employee who gave us our boxes if the calzone was really in there. He assured me it was, and I found out why it was in a pizza box after I got home.

What I saw in the box didn’t look like any calzone I’ve ever had. Indeed, it looked like half of a pizza with a latticework of crust on the top. The calzone was split in half, so I approached it like a pizza: I put one half of the calzone on a plate and started eating and put the other half in the refrigerator to eat for lunch the next day.

Gold Dust Pizza Vegetarian Calzone

There were plenty of fresh vegetables, and it was easy to peel off the lattice crust and eat it separately. I couldn’t see the cheese or taste the sauce, but when I neared the edge of the slice, I saw some of the red sauce peeking through and took a bite of just the crust and sauce. I was surprised to find the sauce was sweet, but the taste of the vegetables obscured it.

The top and edge crust itself was doughy on the inside and crisp on the outside. When I reached the outer edge, I was pleased to find I could split the crust lengthwise easily. This made it easier for me to eat and to dip the crust in various sauces.

Mom’s Meal

My mother’s turkey sandwich included mustard, mayonnaise, lettuce, and tomatoes on a toasted French roll. Gold Dust offers cheddar or mozzarella cheese on their sandwiches, and my mother chose the former.  The menu says the sandwich comes with chips, but she didn’t receive those. Instead, my mother received what looked to be a full-sized sandwich for the price of a half-sized sandwich. (A full-size sandwich costs $2.00 more.)

A quick look at the two halves of the sandwich revealed all the ingredients, including the mustard and mayonnaise, stacked tightly between slices of a French roll. The bread in the roll itself was doughy and the crust oven-toasted and crispy, much like their pizza crust.

My mother said it was one of the best sandwiches she’s had from any restaurant. Not only was there a good balance of all the ingredients, but the bread stayed together from the first bite to the last. The produce was gone when she reached the edges of the sandwich, but she still enjoyed eating the turkey, mustard, and mayonnaise by themselves.

Gold Dust Pizza Turkey Sandwich

The Verdict

Despite the unusual presentation of the calzone, I found it to be a good pizza substitute that I enjoyed the first day warm and the second day cold.

My mother punctuated her assertion that the sandwich was one of the best she’s ever had by saying that she thought she would only be able to eat one half of the sandwich but liked it so much she ate the whole thing. And she ate Lay’s potato chips in the kitchen cupboard, too.

So, that means we bring out our green light, with a note that if you prefer to pick up from a restaurant without indoor diners that you may want to wait to visit Gold Dust Pizza.

We paid $21.55 for our lunches.

Want to Try Them?

Gold Dust Pizza serves pizzas, sandwiches, calzones, and more. They’re open from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Monday through Wednesday and from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.

You can view the menu on the Gold Dust website and get updates on their Facebook profile page. Call them at 209-267-1900 with your order and/or questions, and you can pick up food at their restaurant at 20 Eureka Street in Sutter Creek.

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