Atmosphere: Very caual; pizza and sandwich menu.
Price Range: Pizza from $3.15 for small (10-inch) with one extra topping and everything; pasta from $3.25 for spaghetti with tomato sauce to $3.85 for lasagna; subs $1.99; a la carte salads from 65 cents to $2.45; children's spaghetti $1.99.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday: 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday: 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday.
Reservations and Credit Cards: Not accepted
Special Facilities: High chairs and booster seats; carryout; parking lot; restaurant is one curb step up from street level.
Pizza means different things to different people, but even so, good pizza is hard to find. As "Saturday Night Live's" Roseanne Roseannadanna says, "It's always something." Either the crust tastes like cardboard, the tomato sauce is nonexistent or the cheese has the consistency of glue. All too rarely do the three key ingredients balance.
The pizza at Hector's isn't perfect, but it is above average. Furthermore, the price is right, probably because dining there is definitely no frills -- self-service, plastic forks and paper cups and plates. The decor is basic fomica and plastic, but in bright, cheery colors.
Nor does Hector's run to individual menus. A big over the serving counter lists standard items, while various signs posted on the walls describe daily specials.Food must be ordered at the counter and then picked up when an assigned number is called.
The wait, especially for pizza, can be lengthy. Our children whiled away the time selecting dinner music from the juke box. We also picked up our drinks and a la carte salads. The Greek salad, $1.35, was nicely adorned with olives, chili peppers and chunks of feta cheese, but vinegar overpowered the dressing.
Now to the pizza. The best thing about it was the crust -- delectably fresh. Of medium thickness, it tasted like a loaf of bread just out of the oven. It started out crunchy but had softened considerably by the time we got to the last piece.
The crust was covered with a thin layer of chrushed tomatoes, not tomato sauce, then mozzarella cheese, abundant and chewy. Hector's pizza comes in three sizes, small medium or large, with toppings -- pepperoni, sausage mushrooms and green peppers -- available individually or "around the world." One topping adds about $1 to the cost of the basic cheese and tomato pizza.
If we had one nit to pick, it was that the pizza was peppery, not altogether due to the sausage topping we chose. Apparently the hand in the kitchen that tosses the shell of pizza dough so lightly into the air can come down a bit heavily with the spices.
Not so in the children's spaghetti, fortunately. If anything, its sauce of ground beef and tomato was rather bland. the pasta was tender, and the serving hefty. Our 6-year-old couldn't finish hers, but the amount proved just right for her 10-year-old sister. The spaghetti came with slices of toasted rye bread soaked in garlic butter.
Regular orders of pasta, including ravioli and a meatball casserole, are accompanied by salad as well as bread. One interesting selection that we plan to try on our next visit is Kalzone, $1.45, described as a pizza turnover made of mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, ground beef and tomato and sauce in homemade bread.
Hector's offers two desserts, baklava for 85 cents and rice pudding for 60 cents. Or, if the digestion allows, there is a Baskin-Robbins ice cream shop next door.
With careful ordering, a family of four can dine at Hector's for about $10.
Not counting the quarters for the juke box, of course.