Juliano's Pizzeria: full, filling menu, fun atmosphere

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Why: Juliano's Pizzeria is one of Clark County's oldest pizza restaurants. Serving pizza, salad, and sandwiches for more than 26 years, Juliano's has earned a place in the heart of many residents who call it their favorite. The restaurant is full service with room enough for the whole family and an atmosphere that offers plenty to keep the kids occupied while you wait for your meal.

Atmosphere: Juliano's has the feel of an old-time pizza parlor that has morphed through the decades. Inside are green-check tablecloths, a selection of arcade games, trinket-dispensing machines, neon signs, and an assortment of other random items, which include a disco ball and a rainbow of large teddy bears hung from the ceiling. There's also a collection of classic rock album covers worked into the decor. A large-screen TV provides a modern source of entertainment. Although the restaurant shows its age in the elements of the decor, it is probably as fresh and clean as the day it opened.

What I tried: I had the most popular diner's choice, the Hurricane pizza, as well as the drunken Hawaiian pizza, which is the runner-up. I tried the deadsticks and the Garden Salad.

If the pizza of your dreams is piled high with so many toppings that you have to re-top it every time you take a bite, Juliano's will make your dreams come true. Both of the pizzas I ordered had copious amounts of toppings. The Hurricane, loaded with pepperoni, salami, onions, Canadian bacon, mushrooms, green peppers, black olives, beef and sausage, is a meat lover's pizza, for sure. The meat outweighed the vegetables, but there were enough vegetables to break up the monotony of so much meat. Of the two pizzas, this one was a meal in itself and could easily satisfy a hearty appetite.

The drunken Hawaiian begins with a layer of creamy alfredo sauce and is then topped with shredded Canadian bacon, pineapple, fresh shredded garlic and sausage. The result is a Polynesian platter of flavors that goes beyond the simple, classic Hawaiian pizza.

The deadsticks are made of focaccia bread and come with a marinara sauce or a ranch dressing for dipping. Of the two (I tried both), I preferred the ranch dressing which had a distinct buttermilk goodness about it.

The garden salad is made with a romaine lettuce blend and includes red cabbage, carrots, tomato, onions, mushrooms, green peppers and mozzarella cheese. All the ingredients were fresh, and the portion was large enough to share with one or two others.

Menu highlights beyond what I tried: The Gimme the Greek pizza is made with pesto sauce instead of red sauce and it is topped with red onions, artichoke hearts, black olives and feta cheese. The Sante Fe, topped with barbecue sauce, roasted chicken, red onions, black olives and roasted red peppers, sounded like a tasty version of a barbecue chicken pizza.

If you build your own pie, there are 29 toppings, which include veggies, meats, and specialty items such as oysters, shrimp and hickory smoked bacon.

Juliano's also serves buffalo wings with blue cheese or ranch dressing.

Other observations: In addition to the regular crust and a gluten-free crust, a whole-wheat crust is available. Pizza prep time is approximately 25 to 30 minutes.

I found the waitstaff friendly and attentive.

Juliano's will cater business parties with orders of six or more extra-large pizzas.

Cost: Starters range from $4.50 to $9.50. Sandwiches are $6.45. Calzones and pocket pizzas (a calzone without ricotta) are $11.60 to $16.80, and additional toppings are $1.05 for veggies and $1.80 for meat or specialty items. Mini pizzas (6-inch personal size) are $5.10 to $6.10. Specialty pizzas come in 10-inch, 12-inch, 14-inch and 16-inch sizes. Prices for these start at $11.50 and top out at $31.85. You may build your own by starting with a cheese pizza for $11.50 and adding toppings for $1.05 to $3.25, depending on the pizza's size and toppings chosen. A gluten-free crust is available for an additional $3.75 for a 10-inch pizza and $4.60 for a 14-inch pizza.

Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.

Where: 15606 S.E. Mill Plain Blvd., Vancouver.

Telephone: 360-254-1286.

Web:www.julianospizza.com

Health score: Juliano's received a score of 5 on Nov. 18. Zero is a perfect score, and Clark County Public Health closes restaurants with a score of 100 or higher. For information, call 360-397-8428.