Hours: Mondays through Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to midnight, closed Sundays.
Atmosphere: An unpretentious - plain is the word - serve-yourself spot for that quick pizza or fresh sub.
Price Range: From a $1.60 burger sub to the grand, three-customer-size pizza with everything on it but the restaurant's sink, for $8.45.
Credit Cards: It's cash up front at this counter.
Special Facilities: Accessible by wheelchair. Seating for wee ones can be arranged. Street parking for the persistent.
With our one-and-only 9-year-old daughter out birthday-partying, the rest of us had declared it Away-Movie Night. Others who go to movies more often than ouce every three Oscars know it, but we forget that the showtimes never seem to be geared to convenient eating. Either you have high tea and them hit the 7.42 feature, or it's quickie-suppertime before dashing for the 9:07.
What the three of us wanted was fast food in a net-so-fast-food place maybe a pizza or a sandwich with a little personal touch. Our route took us to a plain-looking spot with a chain-sounding name. The Five Boys Family Restaurant on Wisconsin Avenue.
But Five Boys is only one, if you follow us, since the name refers to five brothers and their family's restaurant. At least that's how we overheard it.
What we saw when we stepped in was a little room with a counter, behind which were five persons: two boys, two girls and a man.
There would be a personal touch to the service, all right - for here you serve yourself after you order from the man, who apparently is one of the brothers as well as the father of some of the young people with him.
He doesn't smile a lot, I thought as we stood there staring at the overhead menu board.
The ice broke, however, when my wife wondered aloud about a big box of cereal sitting on the counter. "It's for me," the man deadpanned, "but if you want some . . ."
No thanks, not when the menu board modestly proclaims that the "World's Best Pizza" can be ours for the ordering. It comes in two sizes - pie and slice - and goes for a variety of prices, depending on what kind of development you want built on it.
Your basisc tomato-and-cheese issue is $4.45, with each topping $1 more, up to a combo of four for $7.45 or "all the way" for $8.45, which is to say with anchovies, cheese, green peppers, ham, meat balls, mushrooms, salami, onion, sausages, pepperoni and our best wishes for a speedy recovery.
By the slice, pizza is 70 cents, ro with one topping,$1.
A pepperoni, at $5.45, was the let's split decision of my wife and our 11-year-old son. I settled on something different, however, though not before an exhaustive study of many appealing options.
If you like subs, for example, they run from a burger sub, at $1.60, to ribsteak, meat ball, ham, salami, tuna or Italian sausage, each $1.70, to roast beef or "Italian Supreme" at $1.95.
There are Italian dinners, too spaghetti from $2.35 with tomato sauce to $2.95 with meat balls or Italian sausage. Lasagna is $3.25, antipasto $2.65, salad $1.85 or $2.65.
But just to give our little gathering some international flavor, I chose the lone Greek offering, a souvlaki sub, at $2.25.
Now at this point in our column, we usually tell you how the food was and then wind up with a report on the tab.
But at the Five Boys, you pay now and eat in a few minutes. Our order, along with two medium root beers and a coffee, was insured by the rendering forthwith of roughly $9.43.
We then set up camp at one of six Formica-top talbes on the lower level (it's about a foot lower than another level that has four more tables) and busied ourselves by soaking in all the scenery.
That's about a 30-second soak, since there's not all that much to notice. Aside from a few hanging plants and a crooked painting of a boat (or was it a straight painting of a listing boat?), the brightest things around were four fat Tiffany lamps, the neon lights from a liquor store across the avenue and the red, high-top sneakers of a guy at the next table.
With the unamplified call of our order number, we learned two things about portions here. First, the pizza is over a foot in diameter - eight large pieces with a thick crust, easily enough for three people. Second, the "medium" beverage is really a large one, maybe 14 ounces.
The pizza's pepperoni allotment was generous enough, but you might ask them to go easy on the garlic, if that's what it was.
The souviaki sub matched my food mood perfectly - five meant balls and a few dabs of feta cheese, all lined up inside a long roll.
About then we heard the host brother helpfully warning a customer not to order two large-sized drinks. "Medium will be enough," he ruled. "I don't like to sell my customers more than they need."
Well, neither does he sell them short. My two companions did their best on the pizza, and still, a third nameless person in this trio wound up with the last slice.
The last eating, however, was done by our son, who wound up back at the counter for a frozen vanilla custard cone, for 54 cents.
Our entire pre-movie fueling took no more than a pleasantly paced 45 minutes. That, whether it's for the movies, holiday shopping or the quick fix of a sudden pizza craze, is worth knowing when in you're in this well-traveled vicinity. Five Boys famil