What’s to Love: Open just a couple of weeks now (Grand Opening on Tuesday, March 29th, 3PM to 9PM), we spent nearly 3-hours at John’s Incredible Pizza playing games, enjoying the rides, and eating. This place is HUGE (46,000 square feet) with over 110 games, but it’s the little things that actually make John’s worth a visit.
I have to admit, I’m a bit torn about promoting a large, out-of-state, chain restaurant such as John’s Incredible Pizza. While certainly, this entertainment center/restaurant destination is not everyone’s cup of tea, I try to keep political discourse to a minimum. This site is all about having fun with your kids, and there is no doubt in my mind that most kids will have a blast while at John’s Incredible Pizza. As parents, you might be a bit frazzled by all the chaos, but your kids will take it all in stride. With that disclaimer, let’s get on with the review!
- John’s hired a ton of people from the area (around 185), and by the looks of it, they are all happy to be working there! Yes, our family was treated so well here by staff members all OVER the place. It’s hard to walk 10 – 20 feet without running into one of their smiling faces. Several employees told me, “I love working here.”
- I know it’s brand new, but the employees are constantly cleaning and wiping down surfaces. It reminded me of the pride people used to take in public places while growing up in a small town.
- Loved the themed dining areas (Cabin Fever, Toon Time Theatre, Hall of Fame, Fusion, FUNology). It’s a really cool concept – if you want a quieter room, pick the cabin room! In addition, they have a seating area in the main game room area, which is very nice for kids who want to eat a bit, play, and then come back and have some more food.
- John’s will be offering gluten-free options for both pizza and pasta in the near future. Apparently, they’ve received quite a bit of feedback for these options, and quickly moved to accommodate the request.
- Don’t like one of the 18 pizzas in the buffet? You can put in a request for your own pizza and pick it up within 10 minutes.
- The ticket redemption area is so much larger than I’ve ever seen at any similar entertainment venue.
- You will not have to haul around a bunch of cash, tokens, and tickets. Everything can be monitor via “Fun Cards” that pay for games, dispense tokens when necessary, and keep track of tickets (“Green Option”). The Green Option means no printing of paper tickets. This is a nice touch.
- There is a specific area for toddlers with a small play structure with slide. John’s has a nice collection of games for the toddler-set.
- Finally, there are four special attractions that one would usually see at an outdoor carnival or theme park. I’ll talk more about these, but to see them indoors is pretty neat and fun, especially for older kids.
As you can see, these small things add-up to a pretty nice package for the price of admission (buffet). I’m not a food critic, so I don’t like to comment on the quality of food. I’m sure some parents will like the food, and others will not like it at all. Is the setup “family-friendly?” Yes! It’s easy to get your food and kids are pretty impressed with the buffet style. Our kids rarely experience a buffet like this, so we try to make the best of it and be positive.
The themed-dining-areas are a very nice design! There are five different themes. We tried out two of them: 1) The Toon Time Theater (it was a big hit but noisy), and 2) the Cabin Fever room, which had a log-cabin-feel to it. Cabin Fever is a good option if you want a quieter space to eat. For some reason, it just seems to have a calming effect on families.
Again, I realize that playing video and/or arcade-style games is not for every family. However, the rides and special attractions at John’s are worth experiencing. We loved the “Lazer Frenzy Maze,” which shoots a bunch of lasers across a small room that are low, high, crisscrossing, and different colors. Your mission is to try to cross the room without touching one of the lasers, touch a button, and then return to the entrance, again without touching a laser. I tried this with both my kids, and it was a blast! You have to get down on the ground and crawl, jump, and twist your way through.
John’s also has bumper cars that look like a cross between an inner-tube and a UFO that looked very fun to drive. My son wasn’t interested, so I just watched a couple of kids bash into one another, and it seemed perfectly harmless. There is a swinging boat ride, which is perfect for younger kids. This ride is similar to the boat ride at Oaks Bottom Amusement Park. Finally, there is “The Twister,” which spins around like a tea cup ride, scrambler, or tilt-o-world. The Twister is their main attraction, and it’s a surprising ride to have inside a building. Here is a collection of all of our photos and the YouTube clips shows the various rides described in this paragraph.
Caveats: You’ll need to purchase the buffet to get in, even if you just want to play games and not eat. A bottomless drink cup is NOT included in the fee for the buffet. It’s less than $2.00, which seems like a bargain to me. However, if you’re unaware that you have to pay, you may be bothered by the extra charge.
There are no lockers for coats, hats, gloves, baby-gear, etc. This is something they should definitely consider down the road. We ended up carrying our 2-year old’s coat around with us most of the time.
Website: John’s Incredible Pizza
Distance from Portland: About 12 miles from downtown Portland. Here is a Google Map. 9180 SW Hall Boulevard, in Beaverton, Oregon, 97223, (503) 520-0000
Recommended Ages: They’ve done everything they can possibly do to make this a whole family experience. From toddlers to teens to adults, there is something for everyone. During the rainy season, there are limited options for teens indoors, and this is an excellent option for many parents.
Parental Stress Factor: Oh boy…I think the possibility for stress here is quite high depending on if you have to wait in line to get in, which is likely on a busy weekend around dinner. If kids are constantly running off in different directions tugging on your arms to do this and that, etc…you’ll definitely be stressed a bit. If you have older and younger kids, it might be a good idea to bring along your parenting partner or a family friend. This will make it easier on both of you. When we were there, it wasn’t too busy at all, and we were pretty relaxed the entire time.
Physical Difficulty: N/A
Family Fun Factor: This depends a great deal. My wife has a lower tolerance level for places like John’s. She doesn’t like the noise and all the people in an indoor space. I just remember growing up in a small town with nothing remotely like this. When we did get the chance to experience something like this in the big town, we’d totally freak out. Most of the families I observed and talked to were having a great time. I know I enjoyed myself having the whole family there.
Pet Friendly: N/A
Weather Considerations: With the rainy season this year, I’m sure parents would have loved an indoor-option like John’s Incredible Pizza. This is the perfect business for the rainy and cold months we have for the majority of the year.
Insider Info: For more information and to receive the latest updates and happenings, please visit http://www.johnspizza.com and sign up with John’s Email Club at http://www.johnspizza.com/rewards/emailclub.aspx; become a fan on Facebook at John’s Incredible Pizza; and follow IncrediPizza on Twitter. Here are some interesting facts the company sent me.
- John Parlet, Founder and Owner of John’s Incredible Pizza Company
- John’s has hired 185 employees for its Beaverton, Oregon location
- $8 million was spent to make John’s Incredible Pizza Company incredible
- 10 locations throughout California; newest location is in Beaverton, Oregon; additional locations in development
- John’s Incredible Pizza Company’s headquarters is in Rancho Santa Margarita, California
- Privately-held company
- Serves up to 300 piping-hot pizzas per hour
- Ovens cook 50 pizzas every 5 minutes
- Produces 800 homemade pizza dough balls every hour
- Created the uniquely popular Spicy Peanut Butter Pizza
- 450,000 pounds of cheese are shredded each year
- All recipes are created especially for John’s; recipes are prepared from scratch
- Thousands of breadsticks are enjoyed each weekend
- Games dispense approximately 900,000 tickets per month
- Free Wi-Fi on site
Family Tips: Great location for birthday parties! They have nine party rooms that seat 16 people per room. You’ll need a minimum of 12 kids to reserve the space. There are several different packages, but they start as little as $12.99/person and include the complete buffet, a visit from “Incredibear” their mascot, a gift from the ticket redemption area, and a party host! The rooms have retractable walls, so the parties can be larger than 16, if necessary.
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Horning's Hideout on July 31st, 2009