Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Time out: Mountain Mike’s brings back good memories


MOUNTAIN MIKE'S owner Sal Viscuso walks through the kitchen with a half meat, half vegetable pizza at the restaurant at 2650 Cameron Park Drive in Cameron Park. He owns two other Mountain Mike's in El Dorado Hills and Granite Bay. Democrat photo by Shelly Thorene

Restaurant: Mountain Mike’s Pizza

Address: 2650 Cameron Park Drive in Cameron Park

Phone: 530-676-9600

Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week

Allow me to wax nostalgic for a moment, will you?

Those of you of a certain vintage should remember the good, old-fashioned pizza parlors of your youth: well worn wood plank floors and walls lined with genuine antiques collected by the owners themselves over the years, and the seating consisting of sturdy picnic tables in the center of the establishment and booths along the perimeter.

Sometimes there would be a pinball arcade located in a separate room for the kids; other times it was a pool table.

Life is better with a soundtrack, as every good pizzeria owner knows, and music of the mid- to late-19th century being plinked out on a Player piano was always my choice of musical accompaniment while partaking of the pizza pie. The lights were often dim, too, helping the atmosphere and ambiance achieve an almost sepia tone.

Oh, and the most important part — the smells. Oh my, the smells. Certain scents can trigger vivid and powerful memories, and for me the smell of a pizza parlor is one of the most powerful of all.

That all written, how difficult is it to find a really good pizza parlor nowadays?

It is very hard, in my humble opinion. Yes, I am bemoaning the fact that “ye good old-fashioned pizza parlor” as I remember it from my childhood does not really exist anymore and has been replaced by anonymous joints and corporate entities, but here in El Dorado County you can still find a really decent pie, and exemplary service, if not the atmosphere of the past.

As my youngest daughter and I were going to lunch in Cameron Park, I asked her where she wanted to go and she practically screamed, “Mountain Mike’s Pizza.

We noticed that there was a little league baseball team celebrating a victory on one whole side of the place. This is always a good sign. We mosey up to the front and order a medium pepperoni pizza and a side of jalapeño poppers, knowing full well we will have leftovers for the oldest child and her mommy to enjoy later.

I have eaten here before and always enjoy the pizzas. They are always hot, fresh and the pepperoni they use is definitely unique. They utilize “old-world style pepperoni” in its natural casing so the tiny pepperoni curls and crisps at the edges when cooked. Personally I love them, even going so far as to steal a few off of the leftovers. Don’t tell Mrs. Camembert, OK.

In addition to pizza, Mountain Mike’s offers garlic bread, chicken wings, the afore mentioned poppers and an all-you-can-eat salad bar.

Although my daughter and I enjoyed the plain pepperoni you should be aware that the pizza parlor offers many different variations, such as the Mount St. Helen’s — a spicy Louisiana style hot sausage and tangy green chilies pie that they describe as a “flavor explosion.”

Mountain Mike’s Pizza has definitely embraced technology, evidenced by the ability to order a pizza via the cell phone or home computer. Its also has coupons available on the Website, which is

Mountain Mike’s Pizza Cameron Park is located at 2650 Cameron Park Drive in Cameron Park and the phone number is 530-676-9600. Hours of operation are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week.

Earle Camembert


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