The Arkansas Ozarks abound with unexpected sights, sounds and tastes, and Casa Mia, an authentic Italian restaurant nestled in Greenbrier, Arkansas, is one of the independently owned businesses that flourish in the foothills, an area that traditionally eschews national chains. It’s unfortunate that both the food and the service are inconsistent.
Casa Mia features New York style pizza and Italian food made from scratch. The pizzas are huge and prices are reasonable. One recent carry out purchase found that the house Casa Mia pizza was loaded with fresh toppings, but the crust was soggy in the middle and over cooked around the edge. The cheese pizza fared better with the crust being slightly firm throughout.
Two different visits to the dining room yielded two dramatically different result. On the first visit, the Eggplant Rollentini ($5.99) was mouthwateringly good and hot throughout. The three deep fried, cheese stuffed eggplant roll-ups were smothered in a slightly sweet tomato sauce and covered with melted mozzarella cheese. The accompanying salad was serviceable with fairly bland ranch dressing, and the rolls were somewhat tough, but the entree made up for the shortcomings of the side dishes.
On our second visit, we sampled the Baked Ziti ($5.99) and revisited the Eggplant Rollentini. The baked ziti tasted like something that came dried from a box. It was rescued by the sauce and cheese, but there was nothing special about the dish that would warrant a return visit. The Eggplant Rollentini that had been so wonderful on a previous visit was a major disappointment. The portion size was cut from three to two with no reduction in price, and the roll-ups were piping hot on the outside, but the inside was cool to the touch. We also tried the Lobster Ravioli lunch special ($5.99) and were less than satisfied by the skimpy portion and the thin,watery pink sauce.
The service at Casa Mia ranges from adequate to unacceptable. On one visit, the server took the drink orders, left and returned for our entree orders. After turning the order into the kitchen, she sat in full view of the restaurant patrons while we sat without salad, bread or drinks.
Casa Mia has recently introduced a lunch time buffet ($6.00). The buffet hours are 11:00 am to 2:00 pm, but on a recent visit, the buffet was not fully set by 11:15.
With authentic Italian food made from scratch, Casa Mia has the potential to be a success, but it will need to iron out some wrinkles in its food preparation and service to be a required stop.