Way far back in the oddly defined "Muppet Courtyard" area at Hollywood Studios
you will find PizzeRizzo… a quick service / counter service dining location that serves… pizza (although that was probably obvious from the name of the place).
I'm sure once the new areas of Hollywood Studios open up, this area will make more sense and more importantly, pick up a ton more foot traffic. It will probably serve as a transitional area between what will be the StarWars area and ToyStory areas of the park.
Getting back to PizzeRizzo… this newly refreshed space has been well designed and well thought-out for a high-volume counter service location. There seems to be ample room in the food ordering and pickup area, and in the two-level seating areas as well. I have seen a few tables that feel a bit too tight for comfort, but all in all, there does seem to be more elbow space here than you would find at Pecos Bills at Magic Kingdom
or even Sunshine Seasons at Epcot
The theming is loosely based on New York and the Muppets Take Manhattan movie with some stereotypical Italian restaurant cues tossed in here and there.
There are two levels of outdoor seating… that don't really offer as much detail as the indoor seating. Although with that being said, the second level balcony view of the New York themed street below is kind of cool. The inside ground level seems to take cues from a very clean deli and/or subway station (a very, very clean subway station), while the upstairs area has somewhat of a loft feel. Open rafters and wood-like flooring give the large space a really cool vibe. There's even a Banquet Hall, (which is open to everyone, you don't need reservations)… that has it's own sound track from the 80's and 90's… as if you're a regular wedding crasher!
There is an equal amount of booth and chair seating upstairs, but it's worth noting that the booths are not quite as comfortable as they look. What appears to be "padding" on the seat of the booth is very, very thin… and the seat backs are not padded at all. They are plywood and are set at exactly a 90 degree angle to the ground. Sitting up straight here… won't be a problem!
Wall art in the various areas range from period style black and white photography in and around New York (presumably representing the Italian community), various signs and art from subways and roadways, and of course, some Muppet caricatures here and there. (The backstory of the place has Rizzo the Rat owning a Pizza restaurant in New York. I never said it was a long complicated backstory.)
This place would be an awesome pizzeria … if it weren't for the pizza they're serving. Now, now… just hold on a second. What I mean is… I have managed to find some pretty decent "flatbreads" at other counter service locations. Even Animal Kingdom's Pizzafari has a flatbread or two that I like. Heck, even the flatbread at Pinocchio's Village Haus in the Magic Kingdom is really good.
The pizza at PizzeRizzo is just the standard issue, round, more crust than anything, four option (veggie, cheese, pepperoni, and meat mix) pizza. In fairness, I have not yet tried the Meatball Sub or the Antipasto Salad… they may well be "the" items to get here… because the pizza here, is sadly, nothing special, and frankly… costs too much for what it is.
I tried the "Vegetable Pizza" which is said to be topped with Mushrooms, Peppers, Onions and Tomatoes. I never did find a mushroom, but I'm pretty sure diced peppers were on there. It was also served with a side caesar salad… which was passable, but not memorable in any way.
You can get beer here. So there's that. I do also have to say, the Tiramisu I picked up here was surprisingly good. Like "Sunshine Seasons dessert station
" kind of good. While it's obviously a mass produced dessert, and probably made with very little mascarpone or actual coffee… the texture and quality of the "cream" used was great, and they did manage to work a very delicate thread of coffee, chocolate, and vanilla into the mix. Oh, if it were only appropriate to grab a beer and a tiramisu!
The cast here was great and things seemed to be flowing much better in the giant order/pickup area than they have at some other quick service locations. I'm sure the consistency of service gives a little bit here and there under peak dining times, but I have no reason to believe it's any different than other Disney counter service locations.
All in all, I'd give PizzeRizzo a recommendation on the decor and dessert alone. If you are really looking for a unique pizza, that's a higher quality… there's some other options out there. Epcot's Via Napoli
and even the nearby Mama Melrose's
come to mind. Those are however, full-service locations. If you want pizza, quick… PizzeRizzo is not a bad choice. Just don't go in with high culinary expectations for the actual pizza.