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Restaurant Happenings - January 2006

ZAX offers Delicious Pizza...
and a whole lot more!

By Jeff Richards

ZAX
96 South Main Street
Moab UT 84532

ZAX Pizza, located at 96 South Main Street in Moab, has been a popular dining spot for locals and tourists alike since it first opened in 2002.

The tastefully decorated building is adorned with a variety of interesting furnishings, ranging from a moose head on the wall to a giant carved bear in an Uncle Sam outfit. The salad bar is housed in a wooden canoe. Photographs depicting the beauty of the southern Utah outdoors grace the walls. It’s hard to believe that the building used to be a hardware store!

But it’s not the surrounding décor that ZAX prides itself on most -- it’s the food served on the tables. Using a wood-burning flame oven, the restaurant fires up a variety of mouth-watering pizzas each day. Every few minutes, a worker pulls out a fresh pie from the oven, especially during the lunchtime rush, when many customers stop in for the all-you-can-eat pizza buffet. The buffet, which also includes unlimited trips to the soup and salad bar, costs $10.99 for those aged 11 and up, $5.99 for kids aged 5-10 (kids 4 and under are free). Those who don’t want pizza can get the salad-only buffet option for $6.49 or soup and salad only for $7.49.

ZAX has a wide assortment of specialty pizzas on its menu, including Margherita, Garlic Pesto, Ramon, BBQ Chicken, Sam’s Italian Stallion, Tree Hugger, Zorba’s Greek, and Bleu Buffalo. While some of these pizzas feature the traditional tomato-based “red sauce,” others are topped with “Greek sauce,” a white sauce made from cream, butter, cheese, and oregano. The BBQ Chicken pizza features barbecue sauce, and the Bleu Buffalo variety is topped with buffalo-wing style sauce.

Pizzas may be ordered in two sizes: individual (ranging from $8 and up) and large ($10 and up, with most specialty pizzas in the $14-$17 range). Patrons may also create their own pizzas, choosing from a list of two dozen ingredients. ZAX pizza is well-known for its delicious ring of golden crust around the circumference, a crust that resembles chewy garlic bread sticks in both taste and consistency.

Although ZAX specializes in pizza, they features a variety of other menu items, including pasta, salads, sandwiches, steaks, and appetizers. “We really do have something for almost every taste,” notes Judy Keogh, the restaurant’s general manager.

The entrees on the pasta menu range from $7.99 for the pasta marinara to $11.99 for the chicken parmigiana (boneless chicken breast covered with mozzarella sauce and served over marinara-covered fettuccini). All pasta dishes come with garlic bread and a choice of soup or salad.

The ZAX salad bar features a wide variety of tasty tidbits guaranteed to liven up any bowl of lettuce. Among the two dozen or so toppings featured at the salad bar are broccoli, peas, cauliflower, mini corn, cottage cheese, sunflower seeds, cheddar cheese, bacon bits, and croutons. Although the flavor of the featured soup changes from day to day, it usually makes people come back for a second helping.

ZAX also has several choice sandwiches in its lineup, including the BLT on grilled Texas toast, the “Beef Hobo,” featuring slices of grilled steak with onions, peppers, mushrooms, and provolone cheese, and a fried chicken sandwich, all served with choice of French fries or onion rings.

Moving on to the grill, ZAX also features entrees such as New York strip Steak ($18.99), top sirloin ($12.99), smoked BBQ pork ribs ($15.99), grilled salmon ($11.99), and a grilled steak sandwich ($8.99). All are served with choice of French fries, onion rings, or fettuccini.

Not to be outdone, the ZAX burger menu includes a half dozen popular favorites, including the classic cheeseburger ($6.75), the ranch burger ($7.49), and the patty melt featuring Swiss cheese and onions on rye bread ($7.49). Customers can also build their own burgers, choosing from a list of a dozen toppings and condiments. All burgers are served with either fries or onion rings.

For those wanting a taste of Mexican food, ZAX also serves chicken quesadillas with salsa as an appetizer (starting at $5.25), in addition to jalapeno ‘poppers’ stuffed with nacho cheese and served with ranch dressing ($5.99). The Southwest chicken burrito entrée ($8.99) features chicken, onions, roasted red peppers, jack and cheddar cheese in a flour tortilla.

Recipe of the Month

From ZAX Restaurant

Bill’s Meatballs

1 lb. ground beef
1/2 tablespoon basil
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon garlic
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 eggs
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Mix ground beef and eggs together, then add remaining ingredients. Mix well by hand. Scoop out and form into balls. Bake in oven on a sheet pan or in an oven-proof bowl at 325 F for 25 minutes. Makes about 10-12 meatballs.

Other pre-meal appetizers on the menu include chicken fillets, Thai spring rolls, Italian fried cheese, hot buffalo-style chicken wings, onion rings, and popcorn shrimp.

ZAX has a variety of lunch specials for under $6, including the following every weekday: two slices of pizza and a side salad, baked potato and side salad, and cheese tortelloni and side salad. In addition, one additional special is featured each weekday, including Monday’s burger and fries, Tuesday’s tuna melt with fries, Wednesday’s Navajo taco, Thursday’s club sandwich with fries or rings, and Friday’s fish tacos.

For the younger set, ZAX also features a kids’ menu with such favorites as macaroni and cheese ($3.75), grilled cheese sandwich and fries ($2.95), dinosaur chicken nuggets with fries ($3.99), corn dog with fries ($3.25), and pasta with meatballs ($3.75). The kids menu is on the reverse side of a placemat, and can be colored with crayons by young artists while they wait for their food.

No meal is complete without a great dessert. ZAX’s sweet offerings include big chocolate chip cookies ($3.49, add $1 extra for ice cream), Mississippi Mud Pie ($4.99), strawberry shortcake ($4.49) and root beer floats ($2.99).

ZAX’s extensive beverage menu includes various soft drinks, iced tea, coffee, and bottled water. Various alcoholic beverages are also available, including a wide selection of beer, including locally produced microbrews. Locally produced red and white wines are also available with dinner.

ZAX also features a full bar in The Watering Hole, a private club for adult members located inside the restaurant. The Watering Hole is a popular place to socialize, play billiards, or catch the latest sports events on TV.

Anyone who hasn’t experienced ZAX yet is invited to stop in sometime and taste first-hand what people have been talking about in Moab for the past three years. ZAX is open daily beginning at 11:30 a.m. (closing time varies depending on how busy they are). During its winter hours schedule, ZAX is also closed between lunch and dinner (2 p.m. and 5 p.m.) Mondays through Thursdays.      

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